Noted heart surgeon and best-selling author Dr. Hassan Tetteh to speak at commencement

Dr. Hassan Tetteh — former US Navy Captain, heart and lung transplant surgeon for Inova Health and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, associate professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University in Maryland, member of the board of the David Lynch Foundation, and best-selling author — will address the graduating students and the university community at MIU’s commencement exercises on June 22.

“Dr. Tetteh is a rare soul — a wise and compassionate leader and a deeply loving and caring family man,” said Bob Roth, chief executive officer of the David Lynch Foundation. “He is a brilliant heart transplant surgeon and experienced health policy expert, a dedicated TM meditator, and a devoted member of the David Lynch Foundation board of directors. He is an inspiration to me and an excellent choice to be the MIU graduation speaker.”

“Dr. Tetteh is a rare soul — a wise and compassionate leader and a deeply loving and caring family man.”

— Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tetteh received his BS from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh and his MD from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. In addition to his MD degree, Dr. Tetteh has an MPA (master’s of public administration) from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, an MBA in medical service management from Johns Hopkins University’s Carey School of Business, and an MS in National Security Strategy with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence from the National War College. 

He is the best-selling author of several books. In his book The Art of Human Care, illustrated by his daughter, he describes how his own life-altering, near-death experience profoundly affected his approach to health care, which includes the healing power of art. “My near-death ordeal taught me how the mind, body, and spirit function together to keep us alive,” he writes.

He wrote the book Star Patrol as a twelve-year-old seventh grader and republished it in 2019.

And his novel Gifts of the Heart tells the story of a young surgeon sent to the front lines of Afghanistan. “This wonderful book by Hassan Tetteh should be required reading of anyone in the military or medical professions,” one reviewer wrote. “Hassan writes an astounding account of a young surgeon’s journey of self-discovery backed by what may only be the author’s own experience on the front lines of the War on Terror.” Another reviewer wrote, “This is a very heart warming and interesting story about intelligence, persistence, and ambition with a lot of love included.”

Here you can read his blog posts, including “Seven Life Lessons from Finishing 20 Marathons,” “How to Find Yourself Through Service,” “The End of Heart Attacks: An Empowering Guide for Women,” “Reflections on Martin Luther King Day: Never Sacrifice the Gift,” “How to Find Your Talent,” and “Seven Steps to Solving Your Big Problems in Life.”

“With health,” Dr. Tetteh writes, “wisdom reveals itself, art becomes manifest, we have strength to fight life’s challenges, our wealth becomes useful, we may apply our intelligence, and positively change the world for generations.”

As part of the commencement ceremony, in recognition of his lifetime achievements, Dr. Tetteh will be awarded a Doctor of Science honoris causa degree.