Cover art for podcast Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

34:56

Atul Gawande

Kirsty Young's castaway is the surgeon, author and former Reith lecturer, Atul Gawande.

A general and endocrine surgeon in Boston, he is professor in both the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Department of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Born in Brooklyn, he is the son of two doctors who came to the US to study medicine. After graduating from Stanford and studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, he embarked on a brief political career, working for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign and on his health and social policy in the White House following his election. When Clinton's health policy reform floundered, Atul returned to Harvard to finish the medical degree he'd started after Oxford.

During his surgical residency he began writing for the online magazine Slate and he's been writing for the New Yorker since 1998. His 2009 article "The Cost Conundrum" was cited by President Barack Obama during his attempt to get the healthcare reform legislation through Congress. Atul has published four books to date about the achievements, but also the limitations, of medicine.

In 2014 he presented the BBC's Reith Lectures, delivering a series of four talks titled The Future of Medicine.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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