Ross Donaldson
Physician, Adventurer, Global Humanitarian, Professor and Author

Ross I. Donaldson, MD, MPH is a UCLA medical professor specializing in emergency medicine and global health. He is the critically-acclaimed author of The Lassa Ward: One Man’s Fight Against One of the World’s Deadliest Diseases, about caring for refugees during an outbreak of an Ebola-like illness in Sierra Leone.


Dr. Donaldson specializes in the provision of medical care in crisis areas and has worked in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. His extensive travels have taken him via tugboats and tuk-tuks—through distant revolutions, landmined fields, and warring countries. He has been a humanitarian in some of the world’s most dangerous places, a NASA expedition doctor to one of the planet’s highest lakes, and the caregiver to some of humanity’s poorest people.


The recipient of numerous academic honors, and Chief Editor of the forthcoming Tarascon Medical Translation Handbook that helps physicians communicate with their foreign speaking patients in 18 different languages, Dr. Donaldson is an internationally invited speaker and appears on television and cable.


His current humanitarian efforts are focused in Iraq, where he is helping to build an emergency medical system for the country’s traumatized civilians. He is a founding member of the Iraq Emergency Medicine Working Group and principal author of Iraq’s 5-year strategic plan for emergency care.

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The Lassa WardOne Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases
St. Martin's Griffin

Ross Donaldson is one of just a few who have ventured into dark territory of a country ravaged by war to study one of the world's most deadly diseases. As an untried medical student studying the intersection of global health and communicable disease, Donaldson soon found himself in dangerous Sierra Leone, on the border of war-struck Liberia, where he struggled to control the spread of Lassa Fever. The Lassa Ward is more than just an adventure story about the making of a physician; it is a portrait of the Sierra Leone people and the human struggle of those risking their daily comforts and lives to aid them.

The Lassa Ward An inspirational talk about facing your fears and accepting responsibility, based on Dr. Donaldson’s critically acclaimed book
Wrong Turns, Right Places An entertaining talk about the search for meaning among war, revolution, and poverty around the globe.
Jobs that Mean Something A discussion for students at any level about finding fulfilling careers and the increasing popularity of global humanitarianism.
Calm Under Pressure A talk for leaders about keeping your cool and building a motivated team when everything is on the line.
The Humanitarian Surge A discussion about a new approach to Iraq and the global fight against terror.

Read a Q&A with Ross Donaldson from the International Medical Corps.

Check out Ross Donaldson’s UCLA profile and research.

Learn more about Ross Donaldson on his website.

Praise for The Lassa Ward
"Effortlessly transmits both the facts and the fascination of a bad infectious outbreak."
-The New York Times

“Donaldson started out as an earnest, well-meaning American medical student, off on a great African adventure. He came of age in the middle of a raging epidemic, civil war, and hideous poverty, discovering a humanity few Americans ever experience. ”
-Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health

“A touching and compelling account.”
-Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel laureate in economics