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Sanjay Gupta
Born October 23, 1969 (1969-10-23) (age 40)
Novi, Michigan[1]
Alma mater University of Michigan Medical School (M.D.)
University of Michigan (B.S.)
Occupation CNN Medical Correspondent,
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rebecca Olson Gupta
Children Sage Ayla Gupta,
Sky Anjali Gupta,
Soleil Asha Gupta
Parents Subhash Gupta (father),
Damyanti Gupta (mother)

Sanjay Gupta (pronounced /ˈsɑːndʒeɪ ˈɡuːptə/; born October 23, 1969) is an American neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine and associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

In January 2009, it was reported that Gupta was offered the position of Surgeon General in the Obama administration.[1] In March 2009, Gupta withdrew his name from consideration for the post.[2] From 1997 to 1998, he served as one of fifteen White House Fellows, primarily as an advisor to Hillary Clinton.

He is known as a media personality on health-related issues based in Atlanta, Georgia, and best known as CNN's chief medical correspondent, hosting the network's weekend health program Sanjay Gupta, M.D., and making frequent appearances on their American Morning, Larry King Live and Anderson Cooper 360° programs. His reports from Charity Hospital in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina helped "Charity Hospital" win a 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast". Additionally, Gupta publishes a column in Time Magazine and is a special correspondent for CBS News. His book Chasing Life and Cheating Death were New York Times and national bestsellers.[3][4]

Gupta was named People magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive" in 2003.


Life and career



Gupta grew up in Novi, Michigan, in suburban Detroit. His parents, Subhash and Damyanti Gupta, moved from India to Michigan to work as engineers for the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn in the 1960s. His mother was the first female engineer to work in Ford Motor Company. Gupta received his B.S. degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and his M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1993. He was part of Interflex, a 6-year program combining pre-medical and medical school that accepted students directly from high school. He completed his residency in neurological surgery within the University of Michigan Health System in 2000.[5]

Broadcast journalism

In 2003, Gupta traveled to Iraq to cover the medical aspects of 2003 invasion of Iraq. While in Iraq, Gupta performed emergency surgery on both U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Gupta was embedded with a Navy medical unit at the time. A Marine named Jesus Vidana suffered a severe head injury, and the Marines asked for Gupta's assistance because of his background in neurosurgery. Vidana survived and was sent back to the United States for rehabilitation.[6]

Gupta was named one of the Sexiest Men of 2003 by People magazine.[3]

In December 2006, CBS News president Sean McManus negotiated a deal with CNN that will have Gupta file up to 10 reports a year for the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" and "60 Minutes" while remaining CNN’s chief medical correspondent and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital.

On October 14, 2007, Gupta guest-hosted a health episode of CBS News Sunday Morning as its regular host, Charles Osgood, was on vacation. In February, 2009, Gupta hosted AC360 two nights in a row, covering the White House Health Summit. He also guest hosted Larry King Live in October of 2009. In January of 2010, Gupta and Cooper led CNN's coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.

Surgeon General candidate

On January 6, 2009, CNN announced that Gupta had been offered the position of Surgeon General by President Barack Obama.[7]

Some doctors said that his communication skills and high profile would allow him to highlight medical issues and prioritize medical reform. However, others raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest with drug companies who have sponsored his broadcasts and his lack of skepticism in weighing the costs and benefits of medical treatments.[8]

Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), wrote a letter opposing Gupta's nomination. Conyers supports a single-payer health care system, the sort that Conyers' filmmaker friend Michael Moore advocated in his documentary Sicko; Gupta has criticized Moore and the film.[9]

Others, such as liberal commentator Jane Hamsher, defended the appointment, noting that Gupta's responsibilities as a surgeon general would be not that different from those of his CNN position, and that Gupta's media presence would make him ideal for the position.[10] From the medical community, Donna Wright, of Creative Health Care Management, a regular commentator on medicine and politics, also defended the appointment on the grounds of his media presence, combined with his medical qualifications, which she viewed as an ideal combination for the post of surgeon general.[11] Likewise, Fred Sanfilippo, executive vice president for health affairs at Emory University, supported Gupta’s nomination by issuing a press release saying, "He has the character, training, intelligence and communications skills needed to help the United States improve its health and health care delivery systems in the next Administration."[12] The American Council on Exercise, listed by PR Newswire as "America's leading authority on fitness and one of the largest fitness certification, education and training organizations in the world", endorsed the nomination of Gupta "because of his passion for inspiring Americans to lead healthier, more active lives." The ACE sent a letter of support to Senator Edward M. Kennedy.[13] Former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders also supported Gupta's nomination, saying "He has enough well-trained, well-qualified public health people to teach him the things he needs to do the job."[14] In March 2009 Gupta withdrew his name from consideration for the post, citing his family and his career.[2]

Personal life

Gupta is married to Rebecca Olson Gupta, a family law attorney. They got married in 2004 and have three daughters.[15]

Medical practice

Gupta is an Emory Healthcare general neurosurgeon at Grady Memorial Hospital and has worked on spine, trauma and 3-D-image-guided operations. He has published medical journal articles on percutaneous pedicle screw placement,[16][17] brain tumors, and spinal cord abnormalities.[18][19] His medical license in Georgia has been renewed to October 31, 2011.


Criticism of reporting

Some journalists and journalism professors specializing in health care have criticized Gupta's coverage. Trudy Lieberman, a regular Nation contributor on healthcare and director of the health and medicine reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism[20] reviewed Gupta's "ineptitude" in reporting on the McCain health plan. Lieberman criticized Gupta for relying on insurance industry statistics, and a health expert quoted by Lieberman said that Gupta's reporting “gives a gross oversimplification."[21]

Peter Aldhous criticized Gupta's "enthusiasm for many forms of medical screening – even when the scientific evidence indicates that it may not benefit patients." He and other medical journalists accuse him of a "pro-screening bias" in promoting widespread electrocardiogram and prostate cancer screening, even though medical authorities like the US Preventive Services Task Force recommend against it.[22]

Others have criticized Gupta's promotion of Merck's cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, without disclosing the financial arrangements between CNN and Merck.[23]

Gary Schwitzer, professor of health journalism at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, has also criticized Gupta's reporting.[24][25]

Michael Moore dispute

A July 9, 2007, broadcast of CNN's The Situation Room aired a fact check segment by Gupta on Michael Moore's 2007 film Sicko in which Gupta stated that Moore had "fudged facts".[26]

Immediately following the segment, Moore was interviewed live on CNN by Wolf Blitzer. Moore said that Gupta's report was inaccurate and biased, and Moore later posted a detailed response on his website.[27] Moore accused CNN of being biased in favor of the drug industry because most of the sponsors for their medical coverage were drug companies.

On July 10, 2007, Gupta debated Moore on Larry King Live; a few days later on July 15, CNN released a statement in response to Michael Moore's rebuttal.[citation needed] In it, they apologized for an error in their on-air report, having stated that in the film Moore reported Cuba spends $25 per person for health care when the film actually gave that number as $251. CNN attributed this to a transcription error. CNN defended the rest of Gupta's report and issued a point-by-point response to Moore's response in which CNN contended that Moore's comparison of data from different sources in different years was in effect "cherry picking" results, at the cost of statistical accuracy.


  1. ^ a b Kurtz, Howard (2009-01-06). "Obama Wants Journalist Gupta for Surgeon General". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Gupta opts out of surgeon general consideration". 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-3-05. 
  3. ^ a b "CNN Programs: Anchors/Reporters: Sanjay Gupta". CNN. 
  4. ^ "CNN Medical Correspondent to Serve as Pritzker Commencement Speaker". Pritzker School of Medicine. May 23, 2007. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Gupta, Sanjay (2007-05-22). "Gupta: Saving lives on the front lines". CNN. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  7. ^ "Sources: CNN's Gupta approached for surgeon general". CNN. 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2009-01-08. "The Obama transition team approached Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, about becoming U.S. surgeon general, according to sources inside the transition and at CNN." 
  8. ^ Neergaard, Lauran (2009-01-07). "CNN: Gupta approached about surgeon general post". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-01-08. "The pair raised questions about drug-company sponsorship of some programs Gupta hosted [...] and [...] urged careful examination of any potential conflicts of interest." 
  9. ^ Conyers’s opposition to Gupta is connected to Michael MooreBy Molly K. Hooper 01/08/09
  10. ^ Hamsher, Jane (2009-01-09). "In Defense of the Sanjay Gupta Appointment". Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  11. ^ Wright, Donna (2009-01-13). "Gupta good choice for surgeon general". Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  12. ^ White, Christina (2009-01-19). "Gupta Named Top U.S. Doctor". Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  13. ^ Staff, PR Newswire (2009-01-27). "American Council on Exercise (ACE) Endorses Appointment of Dr. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General of the United States". Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^ Foley, Kevin T.; Gupta, Sanjay K.; Justis, Jeff R.; Sherman, Michael C. (April 2001). "Percutaneous pedicle screw fixation of the lumbar spine" (PDF). Neurosurgical Focus (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) 10 (4): E10. doi:10.3171/foc.2001.10.4.11. ISSN 1092-0684. PMID 16732626. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  17. ^ Sanjay K., Kevin T.; Gupta (July 2002). "Percutaneous pedicle screw fixation of the lumbar spine: preliminary clinical results" (PDF). Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) 97 (1): 7–12. ISSN 1547-5654. PMID 12120655. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  18. ^ Tumialán, Luis M.; Walkup, Raymond R.; Gupta, Sanjay K. (May 2008). "Minimally invasive retrieval of a bullet from the L5-S1 neural foramina after transperitoneal gunshot wound: technical report". The Spine Journal (Elsevier). doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2008.03.008. ISSN 1529-9430. PMID 18468958. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  19. ^ Tumialán, Luis M.; Lin, Franklin; Gupta, Sanjay K. (August 2006). "Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis causing Serratia marcescens and Proteus mirabilis ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection. Case report" (PDF). Journal of Neurosurgery (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) 105 (2): 320–324. doi:10.3171/jns.2006.105.2.320. ISSN 0022-3085. PMID 17219841. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  20. ^ "Trudy Lieberman's biography page". The Nation.. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  21. ^ kjh paging_dr_gupta.php?page=all Campaign Desk, Paging Dr. Gupta, How CNN’s doc misdiagnosed McCain’s health plan Columbia Journalism Review, October 27, 2008, By Trudy Lieberman.
  22. ^ Should a TV news doctor be US surgeon general? Peter Aldhous, New Scientist blog, January 8, 2009.
  23. ^ CNN's Sanjay Gupta, Laura Bush and the Marketing of Merck's Gardasil: Doctoring the News By PAM MARTENS, Counterpunch, July 20, 2007.
  24. ^ CNN's one-sided view of mammography controversy, Schwitzer health news blog, April 8, 2007.
  25. ^ "Sanjay Gupta" at Schwitzer health news blog.
  26. ^ CNN Transcripts. THE SITUATION ROOM. CNN's Dr. Gupta looks at "Sicko" and Some Facts Are Incorrect. Aired July 9, 2007 – 1900ET.
  27. ^ "'SiCKO' Truth Squad Sets CNN Straight". Michael Moore. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 

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