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Samuel Shem, MD, PhD

Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine

Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry

MD from Harvard Medical School

PhD. from University of Oxford 


Samuel Shem, Professor of Medicine in Medical Humanities at NYU Medical School, is a novelist, playwright, and activist. His first novel The House of God was called by The Lancet as “one of the two most important American medical novels of the 20th century,” and was chosen by Publishers Weekly as #2 on its list of “The 10 Best Satires of All Time” (#1 Don Quixote, #3 Catch-22). His novel on psychiatric training, Mount Misery, was called “another classic—biting, humorous, superb.” 


The Spirit of the Place won two American "Best Literary Novel of the Year” Awards, and At The Heart of the Universe was described by Abraham Verghese as “Poignant and tender, a novel about love, parenting, and the nature of home—a lovely transformative story.” Shem and Janet Surrey’s award-winning play Bill W. and Dr. Bob, about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, ran Off Broadway for a year. Graduating from Harvard and Harvard Medical School, Shem was a Rhodes Scholar with a DPhil in Physiology at Oxford, on the Harvard Medical faculty for decades.  Honored as a Visiting Artist/Scholar at The American Academy in Rome, he is an in-demand speaker around the world, and has given over sixty commencement speeches on “How to Stay Human in Medicine.”


We are incredibly grateful and extremely thrilled to have Dr. Samuel Shem as a new member of BestDocz. 


Please click here to find out more about Dr. Sam Shem and his inspiring accomplishments. 


“Any doctor I know read House of God and was transformed by it. It was an honest, raw and unapologetic journey into the world of a hospital internship. It was like being let in on the secret handshake and all the rituals that accompany it. Best of all, the narrator and author deftly pulled on all our emotions, including humor and anxiety, to spin out a universal human drama that has stuck with me decades later. With Man’s 4th Best hospital, Dr Sam Shem has done it again. This time all of us–doctors and patients alike–are along for the ride into the entire universe of medicine, which is at once both wonderful and ludicrous. The story of doctors, overwhelmed by long noxious hours in front of billing computers called Electronic Health Records, trying to treat patients humanely even as the hospital is more interested in treating the bottom line, feels so timely and relevant. You will get a little pissed off, double over in laughter and even cry a little. If you read one medical drama, make it this one.”

Sanjay Gupta, M.D.
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, The Emory Clinic
Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN

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