Shafi Ahmed

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Shafi Ahmed
Shafi ahmed.jpg
Born(1969-01-26)26 January 1969
OccupationSurgeon, teacher, futurist, entrepreneur
RelativesFarzana Hussain (spouse)
Medical career
FieldColorectal surgery
InstitutionsRoyal London Hospital, St Bartholomew's Hospital
AwardsJelf Medal 1990, W.G.Oakley Prize in Diabetes 1992, British Journal of Surgery Prize 2004, Silver Scalpel Prize 2015, Asian Tech Star 2017, Digital Leader Award 2017, Future NHS Prize 2018, Webit International Award 2018

Shafi Ahmed is a surgeon, teacher, futurist, innovator and entrepreneur.

Shafi was born on 26 January 1969 in Sylhet District, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and came to the United Kingdom as a child. His father, the late Mimbor Ali, was honoured by the Bangladeshi government for his significant contribution to the liberation of Bangladesh.

He was appointed as a Consultant General, Laparoscopic and Colorectal surgeon to the Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew's Hospitals, Barts Health in 2007.

He was appointed as an honorary professor at The University of Bradford in May 2017.


Shafi attended Chadwell Heath High School (now Chadwell Heath Academy) and then attended Redbridge technical college.


He studied medicine between 1988 and 1993 at King's College Hospital School of Medicine. At university he was elected President of the Medical and Dental Society from 1989 to 1990 and helped introduce medical ethics into the curriculum. He was awarded the Jelf medal in 1990 for outstanding academic and social achievement at King's College London. He was also won the WG Oakley prize in Diabetes in 1992 for an original dissertation entitled "Diabetic Neuroarthropathy: the Pathogenesis of the Charcot joint".

He played football for the 1st XI between 1988–1993 and the United Hospitals' representative team 1990–1992. He captained the Cricket 1st XI 1991–1993.


Shafi completed his basic and higher surgical training in London in general surgery.

During his surgical training he undertook a period of research at The Royal London Hospital and Queen Mary University of London and obtained a PhD in 2010 with a thesis entitled "The role of microarray profiling in predicting outcome in patients with colorectal cancer".[1]

He obtained his FRCS(Eng), FRCS(Ed) and FRCSI (Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Edinburgh and Ireland) in 2007–2008. He completed his intercollegiate final FRCS(Gen.Surg) in 2006.

He also obtained a Certificate in Medical Informatics from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2005.

He has been awarded 4 Honorary PhDs (Honoris Causa) from Udabol University Bolivia, SIISDET Colombia, University of Peru of Science and Informatics and EXIBED, Spain.


Clinical practice[edit]

Shafi works in the Academic Centre of Surgery and has established minimally invasive colorectal surgery at the Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust.

His main clinical interest is colorectal cancer and he performs radical pelvic surgery for primary and recurrent disease as well as multi-visceral resections. His other interests include diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease and pouch surgery, coloproctology and the modern management of haemorrhoids.

He has pioneered single incision laparoscopic colorectal surgery (virtual scarless surgery) and also works with liver surgeons to perform simultaneous laparoscopic liver and bowel resections for cancer. His other clinical interest is advanced stage 3/4 endometriosis, performing laparoscopic surgery with gynaecologists. This has led to the development and recognition of a national centre for endometriosis. In addition, he has specialist experience in complex abdominal wall hernias and reconstruction.

From 2010 to 2015 he was the lead clinician and multi-disciplinary team lead for colorectal cancer at Barts Health NHS Trust. He is also a CQC specialist advisor in general surgery.

He undertakes private work at the London Independent Hospital and the Spire Roding Hospital.


Shafi is the Associate Dean for Barts and the London undergraduate medical students at the Royal London Hospital and is the module lead for surgery in year 3 and year 5. He was programme director for core surgical trainees for North East London 2012–2013 and Tutor in Surgery for the Royal London Hospital 2011–2013.

Barts X Medicine[edit]

Shafi is the module lead for an innovative new course at Barts and The London Medical School which aims to teach the 3rd year medical students about future medicine and how to generate ideas to improve clinical care.[2][3] The students are taught by digital health innovators and those involved in Medtech from the UK and US. BMJ digital and QMUL are supporting a hackathon and taking ideas to market by crowdsource funding.

Royal College of Surgeons of England[edit]

Shafi was elected onto the council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2013.[4] He has numerous roles and leads the International Surgical Training Programme.[5] He was part of the Cancer 2020 5 Year Forward View Task force 2015.[6] He is a member of the court of examiners and is an international convenor of the MRCS for Bangladesh.

Technology, innovation and global surgical education[edit]

Shafi has been working on new technologies enhancing surgical education globally. His online videos have been watched hundreds of thousands of times, earning him the accolade of most-watched surgeon in human history.[7]

His company Virtual Medics[8] has developed the use of wearable technology in education and clinical practice. This has allowed the development of a web-placed platform to stream live and interactive teaching. They have recently released a global surgical curriculum.

In May 2014, using Google Glass, he performed and streamed a live interactive operation to 14000 students and trainees across 132 countries and 1100 cities.[9]

He is the cofounder of Medical Realities[10] a group offering surgical training products, specialising in virtual reality, augmented reality and serious games. On 14 April 2016, in collaboration with Barts Health,[11] Medical Realities[12] and Mativision,[13] he performed the world's first virtual reality operation recorded and streamed live in 360 degrees.[14][15] This was viewed by 55000 people in 140 countries and 4000 cities and reached 4.6 million people on Twitter. This event was covered worldwide on over 400 newspaper/online articles and BBC Click,[16] Sky News,[17] ARD German,[18] TRT News,[19] South American NTN,[20] ABC News,[21] Aljazeera,[22] and Press TV.[23] His work has been featured on Wired,[24][25] The Guardian,[26][27] The Telegraph,[28] ABC News,[29] CNET,[30] Verge,[31] Huffington Post,[32] and Tech China.[33]

On 9 December 2016, he performed the world's first live operation using Snapchat Spectacles where he trained 200 medical students and surgical trainees,[34] which was covered by Time magazine,[35] BBC,[36] and Cosmopolitan.[37] The operation has been viewed over 100 000 times[38]

He is a non-executive director of Medic creations [39] and GPDQ.

Social media[edit]

He was chosen to curate the @NHS Twitter account from 27 February 2017 to 3 March 2017 and tweeted the world's first live operation via this account.[40][41]

Other activities[edit]

International speaker[edit]

Shafi is a three times TEDx and three times Wired Health and international keynote speaker and is a member of the faculty at Exponential Medicine and Singularity University. He has spoken at many international conferences including TEDx Barts health,[42] TEDx Goodenough College,[43] TEDx Cass Business School, City University,[44] Wired Health,[45][46] Wired Health Italy,[47] Exponential Medicine Singularity University,[48][49][50] Royal Society of Medicine Innovation Summit,[51][52] Digital Health Summer Summit,[53] MedTech Forum Europe, Belgium,[54] CopenX, Denmark[55] Innovation showcase Dublin,[56] Dubai Health Forum,[57] Tryst Conference, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi,[58] Webit, Bulgaria,[59] ICEEFest, Romania,[60] Cannes Lions,[61][62] Krystal Elma, Istanbul,[63] GITEX, Dubai,[64] Knowledge Foundation Dubai [65] and Health 2.0 Barcelona.[66] Digifest [67][68]

On 15 March 2017, he delivered the prestigious Cantor Technology Lecture 2017 at the University of Bradford.[69] and also delivered the public lecture to open the Digital Health Enterprise Zone.[70]

He is the chair of the GIANT (Global Innovation and New Technologies) Health Event[71] in London and also the chair of the Webit.Health conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.[72] which showcase startups, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.


He is Vice-President of Proshanti[73] a local charity community project to set up a health programme in Bangladesh and an advisor to Beani Bazaar Cancer Hospital, Bangladesh. He also teaches and trains surgeons in Dhaka, Bangladesh where he is the Dean for education at Rahetid,[74] a postgraduate surgical training centre.


  • Jelf Medal 1990. Awarded by the Principal of the College for the best academic and social achievement in the medical faculty of King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry.
  • W.G.Oakley Prize in Diabetes 1992. Awarded for an original dissertation entitled "Diabetic Neuroarthropathy: the Pathogenesis of the Charcot joint"
  • British Journal of Surgery Prize 2004. Awarded at the Association of Coloproctology, Edinburgh 2004 for best oral presentation "Prediction of Lymph Node Status in Colorectal Cancer by Microarray Profiling"
  • Silver Scalpel Prize 2015.[75][76][77] Awarded by the Association of Surgeons of Training for Best Surgical Trainer in UK
  • Islamic Society of Britain/British Telecom Innovation Business and Skills Award winner 2016
  • Barts Health Heroes Awards:[78] 2013 - 2017 Highly commended for Relentlessly improving and innovating for patient safety
  • 2017: Shortlisted for Digital Pioneer Awards of London for Innovation 2017[79]

British Bangladeshi Person of the Year 2017[edit]

Shafi has been selected in the British Bangladeshi Power and Inspiration 100[80] and awarded the honour of the British Bangladeshi Person of the Year 2017.[81]

Top Asian in UK Tech 2017[edit]

He was awarded the Chairman's prize for Outstanding Contribution to HealthTech.[82][83]

Digital Leader Award 2017[edit]

He received this award from Alternative Doctors.[84]

NHS70 Parliamentary Awards 2018[edit]

Future NHS Award regional winner[85][86][87]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in London. He is married to Farzana Hussain, a General Practitioner, and has two children, Usmaan and Zarina. He has three siblings: Shamim Ahmed, Khatun Sapnara and Jami Ahmed.


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