Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., had a childhood dream of becoming a physician. However, growing up poor in the 1950's in Detroit, Michigan with low self esteem, a horrible temper, and in a single parent household, the statistics were certainly not in his favor. But Ben's mother, having only completed third grade herself, challenged her two children to strive for success by focusing on education. She encouraged her boys to reach beyond their meager circumstances through reading and building their knowledge of the world. As he began to appreciate reading, Ben's grades improved dramatically and he started to develop what would become a life-long love affair with learning. Young Ben excelled in high school and upon completion, went on to attend college at Yale University where he met Candy, the young lady who would become his wife.
A Career of Service
After graduation, Ben would work as an X-ray technician, a bank teller, a school bus driver, a supervisor for highway cleanup crews, and a crane operator in a steel factory, before being accepted into the University of Michigan Medical School. Ben and Candy were married, and after graduating medical school, Ben moved his family to Baltimore where he performed his residency training at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center. Little did he know at the time, but Johns Hopkins and Baltimore, Maryland would become his home for most of his career. On June 30th, 2013 Dr. Carson retired, and today he is emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, after directing pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for 39 years.
Some of Dr. Carson's career highlights include the first and only successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa, and the first successful placement of an intrauterine shunt for a hydrocephalic twin. Although he has been involved in many newsworthy operations, he feels that every case is noteworthy and deserving of maximum attention. He is interested in all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery, and has a special interest in trigeminal neuralgia (a severe facial pain condition) in adults.
Honors & Awards
In 2001, Dr. Carson was named by CNN and TIME Magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. That same year, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends.” He is also the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal which is the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In February, 2008, Dr. Carson was presented with the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal by President Bush at the White House. In May 2008, Dr. Carson was the inaugural recipient of a professorship dedicated in his name when he became the Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D. and Dr. Evelyn Spiro, R.N. Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins College of medicine. In June, 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the land. Dr. Carson was recognized in November, 2008 by U.S. News & World Report and by Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership as one of “America’s Best Leaders.” On February 7, 2009, the award-winning movie entitled “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story,” based on Dr. Carson's memoirs and starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., premiered on TNT.
Dr. Carson holds more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and has received literally hundreds of awards and citations. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Science, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, and many other organizations. He sits on the board of directors of numerous entities, including Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the Academy of Achievement, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. He was appointed in 2004 by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. He is a highly regarded speaker who has addressed various audiences from schools and civic groups to corporations, and has spoken twice during the President’s National Prayer Breakfast, in 1997 and again in 2013.
Arguably his most widely impactful accomplishment to date, Dr. Carson is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund.
The Carson Scholars Fund, Inc. was founded in 1994 to address the education crisis in the United States. When Ben and his wife, Candy, read a research study about education in the United States, they were alarmed by the findings. The study showed that our nation’s students ranked #21 out of 22 countries; next to the bottom of the list in science and math. Furthermore, the Carsons observed that many school display cases were filled with large trophies paying tribute to their sports teams’ achievements, while honor students only received a pin or certificate.
Dr. and Mrs. Carson felt compelled to take action. They believed that if children could be taught early to excel in school, they would stay motivated and have a higher chance of educational success later in life. The Carson Scholars Fund was built on these principles, and it rewards young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments.
Recognized by Great Nonprofits as a Top-Rated Nonprofit, Carson Scholars is currently operating in 50 states and the District of Columbia, having awarded more than $ 6.2 million dollars to more than 6,200 scholars. With over 90 cents of every dollar contributed going to educational programs, Carson Scholars Fund is one of the most efficient and transparent non-profits in the United States. The program also establishes Carson Reading Rooms in schools across the country to encourage young students and their families to discover the pleasure of reading and to recognize the true power of learning. To date the program has established over 100 reading rooms in 14 states across the U.S.
Author & Thinker
Dr. Carson's first four books, Gifted Hands, THINK BIG, The Big Picture and Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose and Live with Acceptable Risk (January, 2008), provide inspiration and insight for leading a successful life; a fifth book, America The Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, was released in early 2012 and made the New York Times Bestseller List in 2013. His sixth book, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future was released on May 20, 2014 and has also made the New York Times Bestseller List, twice. Dr. Carson's latest book, One Vote: Make Your Voice Heard, has just been released as a digital e-book.
Grassroots Political Engagement
In August, 2014, at a meeting attended by a group of his closest friends and advisers at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, Dr. Carson announced his intention to form a political action committee as a means to "...further engage with the American people in the democratic process of supporting the best and the brightest candidates for political office in the upcoming midterms." USA First PAC was born from Dr. Carson's belief in the "can do attitude" of America at its best rather than the "what can you do for me attitude" of dependence. As he travels the nation, Dr. Carson hears the call from many Americans for common sense approaches to issues such as healthcare and education reform, tax reform, energy security, national debt reduction, and improved foreign policy. He encourages Americans to join with him in supporting political candidates who embody the attitude and awareness necessary to represent the interests of the honorable citizens of our great nation irrespective of income, race, gender, or religion. Click here to see Dr. Carson's "Ben's Ten" - ten conservative leaders we must elect to retake the U.S. Senate in the 2014 Midterm Elections.