James Doty decided on his career path in fourth grade when a doctor came to visit his class and modeled for him the type of person he wanted to be. It was not the work of medicine that made the strongest impression on Doty, but the man’s kindness.
Throughout his life, Doty has been similarly touched by individuals who have cared for him, and without realizing it, guided him toward a life as a neurosurgeon who now explores the potential of human compassion.
He speaks openly about the difficulties of his childhood and the constant anxiety he felt growing up. He says he felt his parents’ love, but he never had the kind of family stability that sets a child on a solid path in life. He managed to make his own way because other people acknowledged his goodness.
“When someone senses your latent ability and says, ‘I believe in you,’ that can change the whole trajectory of your life,” Doty says. “Every one of us is pining on some level to be embraced and to have someone unconditionally demonstrate love to us. When that happens, it allows for the release of all our fears and anxieties, which stop us from being who we truly are.”