Dr. Kenneth Kamler’s Biography


Kenneth Kamler, M.D., is a microsurgeon trained at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center who practices surgery of the hand in New York, but practices extreme medicine in some of the most remote regions on Earth.  He has treated bear bite in the Arctic and frostbite in the Antarctic.  He has set fractures in the Andes and cared for out-of-breath scuba divers in the Galapagos.  He has performed surgery in the mud of the Amazon rainforest and in an undersea analogue space capsule.  He has been on six expeditions to Mount Everest as expedition doctor and climber; four were with the National Geographic Society deploying laser telescopes and global positioning satellite receivers to measure the exact height of Everest as well as the tectonic motion of the Asian continental plate.  On his two more recent expeditions to Everest, he served as Chief High Altitude Physician for NASA-sponsored research on human physiological responses to extreme altitude, and monitored remote body sensors worn by climbers to provide real-time medical data as they ascended the mountain.  Dr. Kamler himself has climbed to within 900′ of the summit of Everest and was the only doctor, high on the mountain, during the infamous 1996 storm that claimed twelve lives.  His treatment of the survivors was portrayed in the best selling book, Into Thin Air, and in the IMAX film, Everest.

Dr. Kamler was Vice President of The Explorers Club for ten years, former Chairman of its Science Advisory Board, and currently serves as a Director.  He is an Explorer-in-Residence at the American Museum of Natural History, a  consultant for NASA and for National Geographic Adventure,  on the Board of Advisors of Popular Mechanics, and a former commentator for Outdoor Life Network.  He is a member of the Sigma Xi National Scientific Research Society.  New York Magazine recognized him in 2002 as one of the Best Doctors in New York and he is listed in the New York Guide to Top Doctors as well as in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, and Who’s Who in America.  He is the subject of a chapter in the book Biography Today:  Medical Leaders, and has been profiled in the New York Times, USA Today, US News and World Report, and Reader’s Digest.

He has addressed many prestigious organizations including The Explorers Club, National Geographic Society, Sigma Xi National Scientific Research Society, New York Academy of Medicine, Johnson Space Center, Ted-Med, Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner, United Nations International School, International Bar Association, Olympus World Headquarters, Ortho Biotech and CIGNA Health Care.  Most recently, he spoke to NASA astronauts at a symposium on Risk which was nationally webcast.

Dr. Kamler’s radio and television appearances include NPR’s Fresh Air, CBS 48 Hours, Dateline, ABC 20/20, Fox News, NBC News, Bloomberg News, and multiple specials on National Geographic, Discovery, and History channels.  CNN featured him as an Extreme Medicine Pioneer.  He appeared on ABC Nightline in the first ever live interview from Everest base camp.  He has been interviewed by Forrest Sawyer and Sanjay Gupta.  He has been a full hour guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  Dr. Kamler was recently honored at the National Boy Scout Jamboree as one of twenty Greatest Living Explorers and had a sub-camp named after him.

Dr. Kamler has written a monthly column for National Geographic Adventure Magazine and is a feature writer and contributing editor for Popular Mechanics.  He is the author of two books on the physiological and psychological effects of extreme environments, both based largely on his personal experiences:  Doctor on Everest, published by Lyons Press, 2000 and Surviving the Extremes, published by St. Martins Press and Penguin Books, 2004.  He has written chapters for two other books:  Adventurous Dreams, and They Lived to Tell the Tale, both published in 2007.

Dr. Kamler’s most recent activity was to fly in zero-gravity aboard NASA’s DC-9 “Vomit Comet,” testing surgical robots for eventual use on a space station or on Mars.  In addition, he is working with the Dalai Lama, and also with the Department of Defense, preparing a book on the extreme physiological changes brought about by meditation and mind/body interaction.

E-mail todd@everestspeakersbureau.com