Atul Gawande was born in Brooklyn to an Indian-American family. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Stanford University. As a Rhodes Scholar, he spent a year at Oxford University. After graduation, he joined Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign and then worked as a health-care researcher for Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN). After two years at Harvard Medical School he left to become Bill Clinton's health care lieutenant during the 1992 campaign, and became a senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services after President Clinton's inauguration. He returned to medical school and earned his M.D in 1994, as well as an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and is Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation. He is Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He is also a staff writer on medicine and science for the New Yorker. His writing has appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000, the New Yorker essay collection In Sickness and in Health, and the online magazine Slate. He lives with his wife, Kathleen, and three children, Walker, Hattie and Hunter, in Newton, Massachusetts.