The Brain Surgeon Who Listens To Horses

Allan J. Hamilton, MD, is a Harvard-trained brain surgeon, a renowned horse trainer, a developer of equine-assisted learning programs, and the author of Zen Mind, Zen Horse, winner of the Gold Nautilus Award in 2012, and The Scalpel and the Soul, winner of the Silver Nautilus Award in 2009.

The Nautilus Award is bestowed on works of nonfiction that try to improve the world’s spiritual well-being “one book at a time”. Prior winners include Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


Dr. Hamilton is a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona and a medical script consultant for the hit television series Grey’s Anatomy. He raises Lipizzan horses on a small ranch on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona.

Allan's grandfather was an avid horseman and Austrian cavalry officer who had many opportunities to ride and train with the famous Viennese Spanish Riding School housed in the Hapsburg palace in Vienna. Allan thus acquired an interest in horses at a very early age. During his undergraduate years in college, Allan taught horseback riding at summer camp.

Allan graduated from Harvard Medical School and then went on to complete his Neurosurgical Residency in Boston. He is currently a Professor of Surgery, Radiation Oncology and Psychology at the University of Arizona. He is considered one of the nation's leading experts on brain tumors as well as the applications of computers in training medical students and residents in the surgical disciplines.

Allan has developed horsemanship programs for troubled youth in the juvenile justice system, cancer support programs with equine-assisted therapy for adults and children, and unique equine programs for industry and healthcare.

His work as a horseman has been featured in Western Horseman, Equus, Practical Horseman as well as on PBS, CNN, and NBC television. Allan's first book "The Scalpel and the Soul: Encounters with Surgery, the Supernatural, and the Healing Power of Hope" published by Tracher/Penguin Books, tells the stories behind remarkable patients and strange events, and shares the moral and spiritual lessons found in them.



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