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Karl is the first African-American neurosurgeon in Columbia, of Jamaican descent but born in Costa Rica. His family immigrated to the United States, settling in New York City when he was 10 years old. Karl combined his success at football and academics to earn entrance to Brown University. He began his career as a high school biology teacher in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directed a program to expose minority children to the field of medicine before deciding to attend medical school himself. After completing his residency Karl chose to start his medical career in South Carolina in 2009. Karl earned a B.A. in Human Biology from Brown University, an M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the 2019 Class of Liberty Fellowship and is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.