Dr. Joseph V. Sakran is a trauma surgeon, coalition builder, policy advisor, public health expert, and nationally recognized advocate for gun violence prevention. He is currently Director of Emergency General Surgery, Associate Professor of Surgery, and Associate Chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
A survivor of gun violence himself, Dr. Sakran’s interest in medicine and trauma surgery began after a stray bullet nearly killed him during his senior year of high school. He has subsequently dedicated his life to treating the most vulnerable, reducing health disparities among marginalized populations, and advancing public policy that alleviates structural violence in low-income communities.
In addition to being an active clinician, Dr. Sakran is widely known for building diverse coalitions and advocacy efforts within public health and policy communities. Following a 2018 comment by the National Rifle Association that doctors should “stay in our lane” with regard to gun violence prevention, Sakran launched This is Our Lane, a community of medical professionals dedicated to reducing firearm injuries and deaths.
Internationally, Dr. Sakran has delivered care and sustainable solutions throughout numerous countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, with a focus on long-term interventions and capacity building that reduce the global burden of surgical disease. He has responded to a number of international disasters including the Asian Tsunami in 2004, and the Haitian Earthquake in 2010.
Dr. Sakran has been recognized for his public health expertise, specifically on firearm injury prevention. He has been honored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Academy Health, and he is a 2020 recipient of Johns Hopkins’ Catalyst Award for pioneering research on physicians’ role in educating patients on safe gun storage. In 2019, Dr. Sakran was named a Presidential Leadership Scholar in which he furthered his research on safe gun storage. Selected by the National Academy of Medicine to be a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, he was honored to serve in the U.S. Senate in the office of New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, where he worked on health policy and regulatory issues from 2019-2020.
Dr. Sakran makes frequent appearances in print and on television. He has written numerous opinion pieces for The Atlantic and CNN.com, and his work has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, MSNBC, CNN, The Israeli Times, O Magazine, and The Pell Center’s Story in the Public Square. He has also testified multiple times in front of Congress on gun violence prevention.
Dr. Sakran is an active leader in the medical and gun violence prevention communities. He serves on the governing council of the Young Fellows Association of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and he is vice-chair of ACS’s International Subcommittee for Operation Giving Back. He served on the board of The Brady Campaign from 2018-2019 and frequently collaborates with other gun violence prevention organizations.
Dr. Sakran received his medical degree from The Medical School for International Health in Israel, a unique collaboration between Ben-Gurion and Columbia University. He completed his general surgery training at Inova Fairfax Hospital, and later completed a fellowship in Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care, and Emergency General Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a Masters in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Sakran earned his undergraduate degree from George Mason University, where he first trained as a medic and firefighter. He is a first-generation Arab-American, has lived and worked throughout the United States, Israel, Africa, and India, and speaks Arabic and Hebrew.