25 Atul Gawande Quotes by a Global Health Advisor

Check out these Atul Gawande Quotes from the highly successful surgeon turned global health leader.

He is the Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development for Global Health

Atul Gawande was born in New York City in 1965 to parents that were both doctors.

Gawande earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and political science from Stanford University in 1987 and then joined Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign.

Gawande earned master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard Medical School.

He then completed his surgical residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2003.

During his school years, he found time to work as a healthcare researcher for Democratic Representative Jim Cooper.

Then he worked as Bill Clinton’s healthcare lieutenant for two years.

His work led Newsweek to declare him as one of the “20 Most Influential South Asians” in 2004, and in 2010, he came in fifth place in the Time 100 “Thinkers” category.

Look at these Atul Gawande Quotes to learn more about this highly successful individual.

The Best Atul Gawande Quotes

Check out some of the best quotes by Atul Gawande.

1. “My vantage point on the world is the operating room where I see my patients.” — Atul Gawande

2. “Oliver Sacks remains my hero to this day. He was one of the first medical writers I read.” — Atul Gawande

3. “This is the reality of intensive care: at any point, we are as apt to harm as we are to heal.” — Atul Gawande

4. “If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, my patients will not even be postponed. Another surgeon would step in and take over.” — Atul Gawande

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5. “The history of American agriculture suggests that you can have transformation without a master plan, without knowing all the answers up front.” — Atul Gawande

6. “No one teaches you how to think about money in medical school or residency. Yet, from the moment you start practicing, you must think about it.” — Atul Gawande

7. “I write because it’s my way of finding cool ideas, thinking through hard problems and things I don’t understand, and getting better at something.” — Atul Gawande

8. “Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others.” — Atul Gawande

9. “As economists have often pointed out, we pay doctors for quantity, not quality. As they point out less often, we also pay them as individuals rather than as members of a team working together for their patients.” — Atul Gawande

10. “The writing I love has something memorable in it – an image, a smell. It’s the connection between the moment and the whole concept, weaving the micro together with the macro so that it has a hold on people – that’s writing.” — Atul Gawande

Wise Atul Gawande Quotes

Here are some wise quotes from Atul Gawande.

11. “Outsiders tend to be the first to recognize the inadequacies of our social institutions.” — Atul Gawande

12. “In every industrialized nation, the movement to reform health care has begun with stories about cruelty.” — Atul Gawande

13. “There are, in human affairs, two kinds of problems: those which are amenable to a technical solution and those which are not.” — Atul Gawande

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14. “When I do an operation, it’s half a dozen people. When it goes beautifully, it’s like a symphony, with everybody playing their part.” — Atul Gawande

15. “I think the extreme complexity of medicine has become more than an individual clinician can handle. But not more than teams of clinicians can handle.” — Atul Gawande

16. “Doctors quickly learn that how much they make has little to do with how good they are. It largely depends on how they handle the business side of their practice.” — Atul Gawande

17. “To become a doctor, you spend so much time in the tunnels of preparation – head down, trying not to screw up, trying to make it from one day to the next – that it is a shock to find yourself at the other end, with someone shaking your hand and asking how much money you want to make.” — Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande Quotes About Healthcare

Take a look at some of Atul Gawande’s quotes about healthcare.

18. “Expertise is the mantra of modern medicine.” — Atul Gawande

19. “Every country in the world is battling the rising cost of health care.” — Atul Gawande

20. “In Western Europe, most primary-care practices now use electronic health records and offer after-hours care; in the United States, most don’t.” — Atul Gawande

21. “Providing health care is like building a house. The task requires experts, expensive equipment and materials, and a huge amount of coordination.” — Atul Gawande

22. “Health care confronts us with a difficult test. We have never corrected failure in something so deeply embedded in people’s lives and in the economy without the pressure of an outright crisis.” — Atul Gawande

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23. “The vast majority of doctors really do try to take the money out of their minds. But to provide the best possible care requires using resources in a way that keeps you viable but improves the quality of care.” — Atul Gawande

24. “I think we are faced in medicine with the reality that we have to be willing to talk about our failures and think hard about them, even despite the malpractice system. I mean, there are things that we can do to make that system better.” — Atul Gawande

25. “Our health-care morass is like the problems of global warming and the national debt – the kind of vast policy failure that is far easier to get into than to get out of. Americans say that they want leaders who will take on these problems.” — Atul Gawande

What is Atul Gawande Doing Now?

Atul Gawande has written four books, including a New York Times Bestseller called Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

Besides serving on the boards of multiple organizations, he has started the non-profit Lifebox.

He is now part of the Biden administration as the Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development for Global Health.

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