David R. Shlim, M.D. first visited Nepal in 1979 to work as a volunteer doctor for the Himalayan Rescue Association, at an aid post at 14,000 feet. After three stints near the base of Mt. Everest, he moved to Kathmandu in 1983 to begin what became a fifteen-year career as the Medical Director of the CIWEC Clinic Travel Medicine Center in Kathmandu, the world’s busiest destination travel medicine clinic. He created a research program into the diseases that affect travelers, and has developed an international reputation as one of the most knowledgeable travel medicine doctors in the world. He is the author of more than forty-five original research papers, numerous chapters in textbooks, and is the recent past-president of the International Society of Travel Medicine.
In addition to his travel medicine work in Nepal, he was the head of the Himalayan Rescue Association for more than ten years. He treated all of the survivors of the 1996 Everest expedition that was detailed in Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air, and more recently the movie, “Everest.” He provided free medical care for a Tibetan Buddhist monastery for fourteen years, and developed a close relationship with the head of the monastery, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, and his father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who was recognized as one of the greatest meditation teachers of the twentieth century. He also offered free medical care to all of the newly arrived Tibetan refugees who came over the high Himalayan passes from Tibet.
He is the co-author, with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, of Medicine and Compassion: An American Doctor and a Tibetan Lama on How to Provide Care with Compassion and Wisdom. He resides in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he practices travel medicine and teaches Tibetan Buddhism. He regularly travels around the world to give lectures on travel medicine and medicine and compassion. He has nearly finished a memoir of his experiences of living and working in Nepal, and studying with Tibetan lamas.