Joseph Sakran, MD, MPH, critical care surgeon in the Department of Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), recently received the 2014 American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism Award for his extensive work in low- and middle-income countries. This award is given in recognition of those surgeons who are committed to giving back to society by making significant contributions to surgical care through organized activities.
Sakran was exposed to trauma medicine early. In high school, he was shot in the neck at a high school football game. Sakran remembers fondly the surgeons who saved his live and vowed to do the same for his patients when he began practicing medicine around the world. During the second Intifada, Sakran treated suicide bomb victims in Jerusalem, he also assisted the Bedouins in the Negev Desert, and treated the black Hebrews from Dimona. In response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, he helped to organize a group of clinicians to provide care to patients in the damaged city of Pondicherry, India. Sakran also played a vital role in setting up a clinic after the 2010 Haiti earthquake outside Port-au-Prince.
During Sakran’s residency, he helped found Surgeons for Global Health (SGH) to reduce poor health outcomes from injuries in the developing world. In 2007, SGH began working in Malawi providing care to many Malawian citizens where they would otherwise go without needed services given the poor patient-doctor ratio in the country. Sakran’s reach also included Kenya, Rwanda and other regions where health needs, too often, go unmet.
Sakran is currently assistant professor of surgery and director of Global Disaster Preparedness for the Department of Surgery at MUSC where he passionately treats trauma victims and ailing patients. Sakran merged his global public health interests with his desire to practice medicine by obtaining a Master of Public Health in global health at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. He received his medical degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and completed his training in general surgery and fellowship in trauma care at Inova Health System and University of Pennsylvania.
Sakran is currently completing a fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in International and Global Studies, where upon completion he will have earned a Master of Public Policy. His research interests include biomarkers for sepsis, trauma system development, public policy and the advancement of surgery in the developing world.
Some content is attributed to the American College of Surgeons' website.