Ben Carson

Surgeon

Born: 18 September 1951
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Best known as:

The prominent children's neurosurgeon who ran for president

Dr. Ben Carson overcame a difficult past to become head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, and then a presidential candidate and outspoken figure on the political scene. Ben Carson came from a poor and broken home in Michigan, but still managed to work his way into Yale University in 1969. He graduated with a degree in psychology in 1973, then graduated from medical school at the University of Michigan in 1977. He studied neurosurgery and at the young age of 33 became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. He is now known for his pioneering work in radical hemispherectomies -- the removal of half the brain to help seizure patients -- and as a specialist in the separation of cojoined (Siamese) twins. Carson also became a popular speaker who told his own story to encourage young people to make the most of their abilities. He wrote the memoir Gifted Hands (1990) and the inspirational books Think Big (1992) and The Big Picture (1999). With his wife he founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which gives scholarships to young students. He was named to the President's Council on Bioethics in 2004 by George W. Bush; Bush awarded Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.

Dr. Carson began making political news in 2013 after speaking out strongly against new federal health care laws -- "Obamacare" -- at the National Prayer Breakfast, with President Barack Obama in the audience. He also spoke out against gay marriage and said white liberals "are the most racist people there are." His comments raised his profile and he became a prominent TV political commentator. On 4 May 2015, he announced that he would run for the GOP nomination for president in 2016.

Extra credit:

Ben Carson met his wife, the former Candy Rustin, at Yale. They were married in 1975 and have three sons: Murray, B.J., and Rhoeyce... Ben Carson is a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church... He was played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the 2009 TV movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story... Carson's 2013 comments on gay marriage included, "Marriage is between a man and a woman... No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality -- it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition." Carson later said he had chosen his words poorly and that while he didn't approve of gay marriage, "I certainly believe gay people should have all the rights that anybody else has."

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