Benjamin Solomon Carson, Sr. had a childhood dream of becoming a physician. Growing up in a single parent home with dire poverty, horrible grades, a horrible temper, and low self-esteem, appeared to preclude the realization of that dream. But today he is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he has held since 1984 when he was 33 years old. He is a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics.
In 1987, he gained world-wide recognition as the principal surgeon in the 22-hour separation of the Binder siamese twins from Germany. This was the first time occipital craniopagus twins had been separated with both surviving. The procedure employed hypothermic arrest, the deliberate lowering of body temperature, and circulatory arrest, and sophisticated surgical reconstructive techniques for success. In 1997, Dr. Carson was the primary surgeon in the team of South African and Zambian surgeons that separated type-2 vertical craniopagus twins (joined at the top of the head) in a 28-hour operation. It represents the first time such complexly joined siamese twins have been separated with both remaining neurologically normal.
In 2008, Dr. Carson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. The announcement came while he performed a hemispherectomy on Jessie Hall.
He is noted for his use of cerebral hemispherectomy to control intractable seizures as well as for his work in craniofacial reconstructive surgery, achondroplasia (human dwarfism), and pediatric neuro-oncology (brain tumors).
Dr. Carson is a recipient of numerous honors and awards including more than 30 honorary doctorate degrees. He is a member of the American Academy of Achievement, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and many other prestigious organizations. He was named by the Library of Congress as one of 89 Living Legends on the occasion of it’s 200th anniversary and in 2001, was chosen by CNN and Time Magazine as one of America’s top 20 physicians and scientists. He sits on many boards including the Board of Directors of Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the American Academy of Achievement, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. In addition to his academic responsibilities, he is a highly sought after motivational speaker having spoken in venues as varied as high school graduations to the keynote address at the 1997 President’s National Prayer Breakfast.
He is the president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. He hopes this program will positively change the perception of high academic achievers among their peers across our nation. He is also the president and co-founder of the Benevolent Endowment Network (BEN) Fund, a recently established organization which will provide grants to assist families with non-covered medical care expenses of pediatric neurosurgery patients with complex medical conditions.
His numerous books, including, “Gifted Hands” , and “Think Big”, provide inspiration and insight for leading a successful life. He believes strongly in God and in America and believes that we all can play a positive role in creating a better world.