Author of Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality

A physician and writer, Dr. Pauline W. Chen is the author of Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality, an influential memoir and call to action dealing with issues of medical training and physicians’ roles in end-of-life care. Translated into nearly a dozen languages, the book became a New York Times bestseller and garnered critical acclaim as a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award and one of the New York Times book critic’s ten best books the year it was published.

Dr. Chen is also a regular contributor to the New York Times where she puts her practice to print, examining the relationship between physicians and the patients they serve. Educated at Harvard University and Northwestern University Medical School, Dr. Chen completed her surgical training at Yale University, the National Institutes of Health and the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the recipient of numerous clinical, teaching and public service awards, including the UCLA Outstanding Physician of the Year Award, the George Longstreth Humanness Award at Yale, the Chinese American Medical Society’s Distinguished Community Service Award, and the Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award from the Association of Women Surgeons.

In addition to writing, Dr. Chen speaks regularly to medical and general audiences across the world, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and TED Global. She works in the VA Boston Healthcare System.