Atul Gawande

As Lifebox Co-founder and Inaugural Chair, Dr. Atul Gawande, led the global work of Lifebox for ten years to make surgery and anesthesia safer worldwide.

Dr. Atul Gawande co-founded Lifebox and served as Chair of the organization for its first ten years. As Chair, Dr. Gawande oversaw our global work to improve the safety of surgery and anesthesia in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries.

Dr. Gawande led the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop the Surgical Safety Checklist – a 19 item communication tool that has been found to cut death rates nearly in half. The Checklist included a pulse oximeter, a piece of equipment essential for monitoring patients during anesthesia. At the time the Checklist was developed, thousands of operating rooms around the world lacked this device. Lifebox was founded to close this ‘global oximetry gap’ and to date, has distributed more than 32,000 pulse oximeters to healthcare providers around the world.  Lifebox’s work has since expanded across three core pillars of safer surgery and anesthesia – anesthesia safety, surgical infection, and teamwork.

Dr. Atul Gawande Co-founded Lifebox and served as Chair of the organization for its first ten years. As Chair, he oversaw Lifebox’s global work to improve the safety of surgery and anesthesia worldwide.

“Through Lifebox, an NGO I co-founded, we lowered the cost of oxygen-monitoring equipment for operating rooms in low-income countries by 80 percent.”
Dr. Atul Gawande, Lifebox Co-Founder
"Surgery has become an essential part of enabling human beings to live long and healthy lives. It can address everything from obstetric emergencies (cesarean sections are the most common operation on the planet) and traumatic injuries to congenital conditions and cataracts."
Dr. Gawande, Lifebox Co-founder

Dr. Gawande is a surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. Dr. Gawande stepped down as Lifebox Chair to serve as the Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health, United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Prior to this role, he practiced general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, was a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and served as Chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health system innovation at BWH and HSPH developing scalable innovations to transform safety and performance in medicine.

Dr. Gawande also served as Inaugural Global Ambassador of the Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative which strengthens surgical systems worldwide

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