GIC to host world-renowned surgeon, Atul Gawande

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Atul Gawande can be labeled a modern-day renaissance man without a hint of hyperbole. Gawande’s lists of achievements are staggering: Stanford and Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar, MacArthur Fellow, Harvard professor, world-renowned surgeon, New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. In 2010, TIME Magazine named him as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world, as well as the fifth-greatest thinker alive today.

With a laundry list of accomplishments and successes unfathomable to most, Gawande will come to Saint Louis University on Feb. 7, but not to inform the audience of his contributions to the world. Instead, Gawande will give a lecture titled “Learning from Failure.”

According to Great Issues Committee member Mitch Garrett, Gawande’s innovative mind and wide-reaching impact made him an attractive candidate as a GIC speaker. The GIC has been responsible for bringing influential figures such as Cornell West, Ben Stein and Elie Wiesel to campus over the years.

“He’s an innovative thinker, and GIC sees his message as one that applies to all disciplines to further success,” Garrett said.

Gawande, currently a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, is considered the foremost expert on methods to improve safety and efficiency in surgery. In 2007, he was appointed director of the World Health Organization’s efforts to lower the frequency of surgery-related deaths. Gawande serves as an associate professor for both the School of Medicine and School of Public Health at his alma mater, Harvard University.

Gawande has made his mark as a writer as well. He has written numerous articles concerning medicine and public health for prominent magazines The New Yorker and Slate. He penned his first book, “Complications: A Surgeon’s Note on an Imperfect Science,” in 2002 to worldwide acclaim. The work was named a National Book Award finalist. Gawande recently published a new title, “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right,” in which he discusses the significance of planning and organization to achievement for not only the world of medicine, but the world as a whole.

Gawande’s lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Wool Ballrooms of the Busch Student Center, with doors opening at 6 p.m. The lecture will be followed by a book signing. Admission is free.