Blog Category: Gifts of the Heart

How to Find Yourself Through Service

Transcript of Commencement Address to 2016 Graduates of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Health Science Academy. … Read More 

The End of Heart Attacks: An Empowering Guide for Women

According to the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States and accounts for over 375,000 lives lost per year. For women in minority populations the risk of death from heart disease is even higher. Every year, heart disease causes more deaths in the United States than accidents, homicide, diabetes, and all forms of cancer combined, and the cost of cardiovascular disease and stroke exceeds $310 billion annually. … Read More 

Never Give Up

Life is full of twists and turns. Every experience you have is a lesson on the never-ending journey of personal discovery. Living each day heartfelt and engaged is the best way to ensure the purpose of each experience and lesson is discovered. Such discovery is often elusive and lessons from disappointment are not immediately obvious, especially in our impatient modern society. … Read More 

What is a Doctor?

Recently, I had the opportunity to share my answer to this question with the entering College of Medicine class of 2018 at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center’s 20th Annual White Coat Ceremony. The event was a special occasion and culmination of the orientation program for the new medical students that received a symbolic white coat and affirmed their commitment to the profession by taking The Hippocratic Oath. … Read More 

Three Steps to a Healthy Heart

The month of June is "Men’s Health Month," and the time provides an opportunity to raise awareness for both men and women about health, wellness, and prevention. Indeed, health is a topic that is dear to my own heart and raising awareness about heart disease and promoting heart health is one of my special missions. … Read More 

How to Make an Impact in the World

This week the world mourned the loss of one if it’s most powerful voices, Dr. Maya Angelou. Dignitaries from around the world poured their love and appreciation for Dr. Angelou’s work. Those that were touched by her presence reflected on her impact and example and I paused to think of what her life meant to me. … Read More 

How to Develop Your Character: Embrace Your Crosses and Challenges in Life With Enthusiasm

The very idea of embracing a "cross" or challenge may seem ludicrous, however doing so has invaluable benefits to one’s personal character development. When you adopt a positive perspective of the purpose crosses and challenges have in your life you will yield invaluable benefits. … Read More 

Happy New Year!

I spent the final hours of 2013 and early hours of 2014 with a team of dedicated individuals helping a desperately ill patient have a new lease on life with a heart transplant. The generous gift of life was made possible because of another family’s loss. Especially on this occasion, that marked the end of one year and a new beginning of another, the experience of new life filled me with awe and gratitude. … Read More 

The Gift of a Second Chance

My novel, Gifts of the Heart, was inspired by my time serving as a Naval combat surgeon with the Marines in Afghanistan. Learn more about the life experience that compelled me to write this novel. … Read More 

Answering Life’s Most Urgent Question

The greatest theme in Gifts of The Heart speaks to the most urgent question every human being must ask themselves. What are you doing to help others? Every day millions of people answer this question with noble acts and deeds, sadly most go un-recognized. But while acts of kindness and service seldom receive public recognition, the private rewards they yield are endless. … Read More 

Lead from the Heart

This year I attended TEDMED2013, the 3 ½ day program was one of my greatest professional experiences to date. It was especially rewarding because I was a TEDMED Front Line Scholar and helped with the program. Convening annually, TEDMED assembles innovators and leaders from around the world who share a common goal, creating a better future in health and medicine. … Read More 

Teach from the Heart

One of the tensest moments in my new book, “Gifts of The Heart”, comes after Dr. Afram heroically saves the life of an infant who sustained heart injury from a gunshot wound. Traveling in a terrible wind storm back to FOB MK, Dr. Afram’s helicopter crashes. Later found in the desert, Dr. Afram endures a COMA for 99 days. The injuries brave men and women endure overseas are devastating and life altering. … Read More 

Serving from the Heart

Wouldn’t it be nice if life always turned out just the way we planned? If every goal we set was achieved, if the path we lived out each day was predictable and able to be clearly defined? We would know what is coming, how it is coming and just how it would look upon arrival. Unfortunately, life isn’t and will never be that easy. One of the greatest components of the human experience is uncertainty. Those of us who confine ourselves to safely defined comfort zones, run the risk of missing out on the many gifts life has to offer. … Read More 

Live from the Heart

After a tragic loss in “Gifts of The Heart ”, Dr. Afram makes a commitment to use his life to save lives. Too often we miss the opportunity to live up to our greatest purpose, because we selfishly allow adversity to define us. Instead of breaking down, giving up and missing out on life, Dr. Afram draws inspiration from the tragedy and commits to healing himself by healing others. What kind of world would we live in today if we all had the courage to heal ourselves by healing and helping others? … Read More 

Gifts of the Heart

My new book, “Gifts of The Heart” is a powerful story full of adventure and inspiration. As a military physician and heart surgeon called to serve in the desert of Afghanistan, Kareem Afram is forced to face challenges, destruction, illness and death head on. Despite all the pain he endures, Afram rises to a greater more meaningful understanding of life and his purpose for living. The many life lessons Afram learns while on his journey, can provide a blueprint for the conflicts we face daily. … Read More