Ben Carson is an American politician, public servant, author, and retired neurosurgeon who has served as the 17th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development since 2017. He was a candidate for President of the United States in the Republican primaries in 2016, at times leading nationwide polls of Republicans. He is considered a pioneer in the field of neurosurgery.
Carson became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 1984 at age 33; he was the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the United States. He was also a professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery, and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Carson’s achievements include performing the only successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head; performing the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb; performing the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins; developing new methods to treat brain-stem tumors; and revitalizing hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizures. He wrote over 100 neurosurgical publications. He retired from medicine in 2013.
Carson has received numerous honors for his neurosurgery work, including more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and numerous national merit citations. In 2001, he was named by CNN and TIME magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists, and was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends” on its 200th anniversary. In 2008, Carson was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2010, he was elected into the National Academy of Medicine. He was the subject of the 2009 TV film Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, where he was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr.