Mark Shrime

• 3X American Ninja Warrior contestant

• Author of 'Solving for Why: Lessons on Life, Work and the Transformative Power of Purpose'

Professor Mark G. Shrime, MD, MPH, PhD, FACS, is O’Brien Chair of Global Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.

He previously served as the founder and Director of the Center for Global Surgery Evaluation at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and as Research Director for the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard.

He is the author of seminal papers on the global burden of surgical disease, the financial burden facing surgical patients, and the number of people who cannot access safe surgery worldwide. He served as a co-author on the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery.

Dr. Shrime graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1996 with a BA in molecular biology. He received his MD from the University of Texas in 2001, after taking a year to teach organic chemistry in Singapore. Medical school was followed by a residency in otolaryngology at the joint Columbia/Cornell program in Manhattan, followed, in turn, by a fellowship in head and neck surgical oncology at the University of Toronto in 2007. He completed a second fellowship in microvascular reconstructive surgery, also at the University of Toronto, in 2008. He was the first to identify a novel independent prognostic indicator in head and neck cancer.

To date, he has worked and taught in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Benin, Togo, Congo, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, and Madagascar. In May, 2011, he graduated with an MPH in global health from the Harvard School of Public Health, where he was a finalist for both the Albert Schweitzer award and the HSPH Student Recognition award, and in May, 2015, he received his PhD in health policy from Harvard University, with a concentration in decision science.

His research has been supported by the Damon Runyon Cancer Foundation and by an anonymous donation to the Center for Global Surgery Evaluation; he has previously received research support from the GE Foundation’s Safe Surgery 2020 project and the Steven C. and Carmella Kletjian Foundation. He is currently the Principal Investigator on a randomized controlled trial of financial incentives for surgical patients in Guinea and the Principal Investigator on a prospective extended cost-effectiveness analysis of maxillofacial surgery in West Africa.

His academic pursuits focus on surgical delivery in low- and middle-income countries, where he has a specific interest in the intersection of health, impoverishment, and inequity. His work aims to determine optimal policies and platforms for surgical delivery that maximize health benefits while simultaneously minimizing the risk of financial catastrophe faced by patients. In 2018, he was awarded the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Award by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery.

When not working, he is an avid photographer and rock climber and has competed on Seasons 8, 9, and 11 of American Ninja Warrior.

Speech topics

Solving for Why

This talk, based on Dr. Shrime's book, chronicles one man's journey to find the answer to the biggest of all life's questions: "Why?" Following a traumatic car accident, Dr. Shrime—the child of Lebanese immigrants fleeing a civil war, who later became a successful practicing surgeon in Boston—found himself compelled to change the course of his life, determined to find meaning and satisfaction, even if it meant diverting from America’s idea of “success.” Featuring stories, insights, and research from his own exceptional life and work, SOLVING FOR WHY is the story of Dr. Shrime's search for—and discovery of—lifelong fulfillment.

Now a global surgeon operating on a hospital ship docked off the coast of West Africa and one of the few global experts on surgery in low- and middle-income countries, Dr. Shrime seeks to impart the wisdom of the lessons he’s learned over the course of his search for a life of true contentment. SOLVING FOR WHY combines personal stories with deep, thoughtful research into the challenges of working in modern medicine in the 21st century and the commodification of work in America.

A story of discovery and transformation, SOLVING FOR WHY seeks to help readers answer the “why” of their own lives and ultimately find joy outside the status quo

The Global Surgery Crisis

30% of the world's diseases require surgery, but 5 billion people around the world can't get surgery when they need it. Every year, 81 million people—four times the entire population of Australia—are driven into when they try to get surgery. This talk covers not just the crisis but the work that I and my colleagues are doing to combat it.

Keep Your Heart

Where your feet go, there your heart is. In this talk, I discuss four foundational truths about creating and keeping a life of purpose, meaning, and deep contentment.

Books

Solving for Why: Lessons on Life, Work and the Transformative Power of Purpose

From Mercy Ships surgeon Dr. Mark G. Shrime comes an inspiring memoir about finding the answer to life's biggest question—"Why?"—and following that answer through remarkable, unlikely places on the road to fulfillment, purpose, and joy.

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