Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Colorectal Surgeon Zuri Murrell

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Zuri Murrell, Cedars-Sinai Colorectal Surgeon

Meet Dr. Zuri Murrell! You might recognize Dr. Murrell, director of the Cedars-Sinai Colorectal Cancer Center, from television commercials where he asked you to recite the words “anus” and “rectum.”

What does Dr. Murrell like to do when he’s not saving lives and raising awareness for colorectal cancer? We sat down with him to find out.

“This is the closest I could get to becoming a superhero.”

Where did you grow up?

ZM: I was born and raised in Baldwin Hills, just a few miles away from Cedars-Sinai.

Bruins or Trojans?

ZM: Bruins. My dad was a USC guy, but I went to med school at UCLA, so I’m a Bruin.

What inspired you to pursue medicine?

ZM: My parents had a good friend who was a pediatrician, and he always spent time talking to me about medicine and how great it was.

I wanted to be a superhero, but after the second time jumping off of something, I realized I couldn’t fly. I still wanted to save people’s lives, so surgery was the way to do that for me. This is the closest I could get to becoming a superhero.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a doctor?

ZM: If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d probably be doing some kind of business, working for myself. Or maybe I’d be an actor.

In college, I got accepted to a summer research internship at Yale Medical School, and I also got accepted into an acting school. I had to make a decision, so I chose Yale to become a doctor.

“Because I deal with the body part that I deal with, it’s important that I make people feel comfortable.”

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

ZM: I love hanging out with my daughters. They’re 9 and 11, and I love getting to know what they’re into. We learn so much about our kids just hanging out with them. They’re taking karate and they kick butt at that. I didn’t realize I’d be the one they’d be fighting all the time, but they love to surprise Daddy with their new moves when he gets home.

What’s your favorite way to relieve the stress of being a doctor?

ZM: I really enjoy working out. My wife’s gotten me into hot yoga. I’m trying to enjoy that, but it’s very difficult! It’s great meditation, though.


Read: Dodging a Colonoscopy?


What’s your favorite vacation spot?

ZM: Cancun. We go every year and we like to just chill when we’re there.

What’s the best part of your job?

ZM: Meeting new people and doing something to help them.

Because I deal with the body part that I deal with, it’s important that I make people feel comfortable. I love the challenge of getting to know patients and making them feel comfortable.

I do little things, like making sure when I sit with my patients that I sit below them. I think this takes away the fear of a doctor and helps make people less nervous.

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