A Gangsta’s Childhood Ain’t Fun
Indeed, it can be hard labor. For me, the path to low grade superstardom in the medical rap game began during my childhood, living on an orange orchard in Central California. Digging irrigation ditches, spraying fungicide, hurling manure…these things added up to something crucial: STREET CRED! Take a look at Ice Cube, Jay-Z, ‘Pac…I bet every single one of them drove a tractor at some point (with or without gold rims and hydraulics). Though I bet I was the only one with Teddy Ruxpin riding shotgun. REPRESENT!
Medicine, Music, and Mullets
High school. Two physician parents, both telling me to do anything BUT medicine. An amazing helmet-like mullet. Career choice? To become the next Weird Al, only…WEIRDER.
Problem? Not enough talent. Solution?
Rebel against parents. BECOME A DOCTOR.
UC Berkeley: Music and Molecular Biology. African drumming and fruit fly genetics. One constant: still no talent.
UCSF Med School: All I remember is producing the class play with Dr. Harry and Doc Quixote, which included the amazing Docs of Hazzard (in which we launched a gurney off a stairwell…I still have no feeling in my thumb. YEEEEEE HAW!).
I was told by an attending physician, “You speak, and then think. I want you to reverse that. Better yet, just think.”
I didn’t listen. Instead, I gave this infamous commencement speech which launched my illustrious medical comedy career, as well as several restraining orders and the institution of a mandatory electrified ankle bracelet that I wear to this day. LIKE A BOSS.
Stanford and A Hard Doc’s Life
Internal medicine residency, followed by a hospital medicine career at Stanford lasting nearly 10 years.
The System. Neck deep in the Matrix. The hospital that was pulled over my eyes to blind me from the truth: that I was a slave.
But in 2010 I began to unplug.
A Dogg is Born
Like so many docs, threatened with burnout, I was a cog in a machine of someone else’s creation. A machine that had little concern for patients…or providers. I turned to watching YouTube videos in my soul-crushing depression. And I realized something: judging by what I saw, talent was no longer a prerequisite for reaching THOUSANDS!
More than 60 videos later and 1 million + views, ZDoggMD is in the house, y’all. Hooking up with Dr. Harry, Doc Quixote, and Dr. Diego from the UCSF Med School Crew, we’re straight meducating and infotaining all up in this. LIKE A MIDDLE MANAGER! I mean, LIKE A BOSS!
Downtown Las Vegas, Tony Hsieh, and Turntable Health
At the end of 2011, something crazy happened. Tony Hsieh, Zappos.com CEO and Downtown Vegas revitalizer, made me a proposal: leave Stanford, move to Las Vegas, and help fix health care. Why me? Because I was stupid enough to make YouTube videos satirizing the System, so I just might be stupid enough to try to CHANGE the system.
Well he was right. I WAS stupid enough.
So I packed up the Z-family and hauled ‘em to Vegas and began ZDoggMD 2.0. We brought on Josh.0 and partners Iora Health and together we’re gonna fix primary care, and by extension, all of medicine. Starting here in Downtown Vegas.
Turntable Health is what we’re calling it—A Revolution in Medicine.
So stay tuned, ’cause it’s about to get real, son. And if it all doesn’t work out, well, my folks still have that orange orchard…
To book Zubin Damania call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.
In Zubin's keynote, he shares his story while challenging healthcare groups, corporations, and associations to examine their own industry and ask if it still works — then come up with innovative ways to fix it.
Zubin did everything his immigrant physician parents expected of him: molecular biology and music at UC Berkeley, medical school at UCSF, residency in internal medicine at Stanford, and finally a nearly decade-long career as a hospital doctor at Stanford University Medical Center. He also routinely took out the trash and cleaned his room.
But then he did something his parents didn’t expect (or much quite like): he quit, left the Bay Area with his wife and two young daughters, and moved to Downtown Las Vegas. All to be a part of an epic experiment:Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. The goal was to transform Downtown Las Vegas in record time from a series of empty lots and quirky bars to the epicenter of a burgeoning tech, arts, food, and business scene. Tony was investing $350 million of his own cash to curate this experiment, and he asked Zubin to do nothing less than rethink entirely how a 2.8 trillion dollar industry — healthcare — might look if it were just done right from scratch.
• Author of The Emperor of All Maladies • Oncologist and Cancer Researcher • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Science Writer
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