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Martin A. Makary, MD

  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

Osler 624, 600 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, Maryland 21231


The Price We Pay
Improving Wisely, The Wall Street Journal
Article: Lowering health care costs in America

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Dr. Makary is a surgical oncologist and chief of the Johns Hopkins Islet Transplant Center. He serves as Executive Director of Improving Wisely, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project to lower health care costs in the U.S. by creating measures of appropriateness in health care.

Dr. Makary’s research focuses on the creation and evaluation of new health care innovations. He is the creator of the Surgery Checklist, publishing its first description and later served on the W.H.O. Safe Surgery Saves Lives committee. He led the W.H.O. workgroup to create global measures of surgical quality. Dr. Makary has published over 250 scientific articles, including the first description of “frailty” impacting surgical outcomes, the original studies on safety culture measurement in hospitals, the first study of hospitals suing patients for unpaid bills, and an evaluation of the Orphan Drug Act.

He is a leading voice for physicians, writing in The Wall Street Journal, and is the author of The New York Times best-selling author. His book THE PRICE WE PAY is a primer on the business of medicine, and his book Unaccountable is about patient safety and physician-led transparency efforts in health care. Dr. Makary is the founder of the Johns Hopkins Center For Surgical Outcomes Research and Clinical Trials and is the recipient of numerous grants to evaluate the effectiveness of new surgical technology and new interventions in health care.

He serves jointly as a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of health policy & management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has pioneered new pancreas operations at Johns Hopkins, including the laparoscopic Whipple procedure. He performed the first series of laparoscopic islet auto-transplantation and other laparoscopic operations in field of surgery. He is the recipient of the National Pancreas Foundation Nobility in Science Award.

Honors and Awards

Member, The National Academy of Medicine

Best Teacher Award, Georgetown Univeristy

Nobility in Science Award, National Pancreas Foundation

Dennis Jahnigan Research Award, American Geriatrics Society

Smartest People in Health Care, Becker's Review

Diplomat, American Board of Surgery


  • Public Policy
  • Health Care Costs
  • Appropriateness of Medical Care
  • Quality Measurement
  • Payment Reform
  • Evaluation of Health Care Innovation
  • Implementation Science
  • Opioid Epidemic
  • Surgical Care
  • Health Care Disparities
  • Drug Pricing
  • Price Transparency
  • Medical education
  • Vulnerable populations

Most highly cited articles for Martin A. Makary M.D.

  • First Publications introducing the surgery checklist: Makary MA et al. Operating room briefings: working on the same page. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2006 Jun;32(6):351-5. MA Makary et al. Operating room briefings and wrong site surgery. J Am Coll Surg 204(2),236-243. 2006 Dec 08. Nundy S, et al. Impact of Preoperative Briefings on Operating Room Delays
  • JAMA editorial on Corporate Medicine and Hospital Monopolies: The Potential Hazards of Hospital Consolidation: Implications for Quality, Access, and Price. JAMA. 2015;314(13):1337-1338.
  • Article introducing a hospital survey of patient safety culture: Makary MA et. al., Patient Safety in Surgery. Ann Surg. 2006 May;243(5):628-32;
  • The association between frailty and patient outcomes: Makary MA et al., Frailty as a predictor of surgical outcome. J Am Coll Surg 2010;210:901–908.
  • A call to reform the Orphan Drug Act to lower drug prices in the U.S.
  • U.S. Health Care Costs