Rifat Latifi, MD is a Chairman and tenured Professor of Surgery at New York Medical College, School of Medicine and Director of the Department of Surgery at Westchester Medical Center Health Network in Valhalla, New York. Additionally, he is the Chief of General Surgery. Dr. Latifi is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and International College of Surgeons (ICS), fellow of Kosova College of Surgeons, and is board certified in general surgery and critical care.
Since 2018, Dr. Latifi has been the Founding President of the Kosova College of Surgeons, and more recently, Editor-in-Chief of the Kosova Journal of Surgery. Dr. Latifi is a true clinical master, educator, researcher in surgery, and the embodiment of an academic surgeon, who was promoted to full Professor of Surgery only five years after he finished his Surgery Residency at Yale University in 1999. He has various clinical and research interests, including reoperative surgery, complex trauma and general surgery, surgical critical care, surgical decision making and geriatric surgery, telemedicine, and nutrition support of surgery and critically ill patients.
He has been the Director of the Department of Surgery at Westchester Medical Center Health Network in Valhalla since 2016 when he moved from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, AZ, and has served as Vice-Chairman for Research and Faculty Development at New York Medical College. In 2018, he took the helm of Department of Surgery as the Felicien Steichen Professor and Chairman of Surgery at New York Medical College, School of Medicine, in Valhalla, New York.
Dr. Latifi received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Prishtina, Medical Faculty, Prishtina, Kosova. He served as an intern at the University of Prishtina and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. He completed his residency in General Surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at Lincoln Hospital, New York Medical College.
He is the author or co-author of more than 330 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. In addition, he has authored/ edited 20 books and serves on the editorial boards of a number of international surgical peer-review journals. He is a member of a number of multiple state, national, and international surgical organizations, including the American Surgical Association, the most prestigious surgical society in the world.
Within the Albanian community around the world, as well as in the telemedicine community worldwide, Dr. Latifi is recognized as one of the authorities in telemedicine and telehealth. Moreover, he is passionately dedicated to global surgery and international telemedicine as tools of rebuilding healthcare systems in the developing world and post-conflict countries. He established the first teletrauma and telepresence program in Arizona, the Southern Arizona Telemedicine and Telepresence (SATT), which serves residents along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has created three national telemedicine programs in Europe (Kosova and Albania) and Africa (Cabo Verde), for which he has received the 2015 American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Pfizer International Surgical Volunteerism award. Furthermore, Dr. Latifi has also received “The 21st Century Achievement Award for Health” from the Computerworld Honors Program and the “International Award for Health Promotion” from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC). In 2017, he was awarded the Westchester County Doctors of Distinction “No Land Too Far Award” by the Westchester Business Journal in Westchester, New York, and Top Doctors in 2020. In addition, he was awarded the Certificate of Appreciation by NATO HQ, Brussels for his Dedication and Excellent Work for the Multinational Telemedicine System. He has participated as a volunteer surgeon in the Philippines since 2006, and serves on the American College of Surgeons Committee on Global Engagement, as well as serving as Vice-president of the International College of Surgeons, US Chapter.