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New York Medical College and Westchester Medical Center Health Network Names Dr. Rifat Latifi Chair of Surgery

New chair is a leading force in the field of international telemedicine

Date: August 06, 2018
Rifat Latifi, M.D., FACS, FICS
Rifat Latifi, M.D., FACS, FICS
Media Contact:

Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
Vice President of Communications
New York Medical College
(914) 594-4552

Valhalla, N.Y. – Rifat Latifi, M.D., FACS, FICS, has been named chair of the Department of Surgery at New York Medical College (NYMC). Dr. Latifi is a tenured professor of surgery at NYMC and Director of the Department of Surgery at Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and MidHudson Regional Hospital. All of the hospitals are members of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth). He previously served as vice chairman for Research and Faculty Development at NYMC.

“I have spent more than two years as a member of the New York Medical College community, seeing first-hand and participating in the outstanding work the College does to educate the next generation of leading medical professionals,” said Dr. Latifi. “As I take on this new role as chair of surgery, I look forward to continue to build on long legacy and rich history of the school and reshaping surgical education, passing along everything I have learned, as well as my commitment to helping the underserved globally, to our students.”

Specializing in trauma, general surgery, and critical care—with special interests in complex re-operative surgery, telemedicine, and nutrition support of critically ill patients—Dr. Latifi is a leading force in the field of international telemedicine. 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.

In addition, he initiated, secured funding, and provided oversight to three national telemedicine program teams in Europe and Africa, for which he received the 2015 American College of Surgeons (ACS) and Pfizer International Surgical Volunteerism award. Since 2006, he has participated as a volunteer surgeon in the Philippines and serves on the ACS Committee on Global Engagement, dedicated to advocating for the medically underserved.

Dr. Latifi 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). Last year, he was awarded the Westchester County Doctors of Distinction “No Land Too Far Award” and the Certificate of Appreciation for Dedication and Excellent Work for the Multinational Telemedicine System from NATO. He is the author or co-author of more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He has also authored or co-authored and edited 15 books and serves on the editorial boards of a number of peer-review journals. 

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 Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. He completed his residency in General Surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine, and a Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at Lincoln Hospital, affiliated with New York Medical College at the time.  Before joining NYMC/WMCHealth he worked at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, University of Arizona in Tucson, and Doha, Qatar, where served as Director of Trauma Center.

Dr. Latifi succeeds ‌John A. Savino, M.D., who will now serve as a full-time tenured faculty member of the Department of Surgery. “Dr. Latifi has been an exceptional addition to the NYMC community since he first joined our faculty,” said Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer of NYMC. “As chair of surgery, he will play a more significant role in the education of our students, who will continue to benefit from his experience.”

“Like John Savino before him, Rifat Latifi has been an excellent addition to our surgery program,” said Michael D. Israel, President and CEO, Westchester Medical Center Health Network. “He has cultivated a wealth of knowledge from around the world during his distinguished career and has been applying that knowledge as the clinical leader of surgery services at Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and MidHudson Regional Hospital.  With such experience and insight, we’re confident Dr. Latifi will be an exemplary mentor to the College’s medical students.” 

New York Medical College

Founded in 1860, NYMC is one of the oldest and largest health sciences colleges in the country with more than 1,400 students, 1,300 residents and clinical fellows, nearly 3,000 faculty members, and 19,000 living alumni. The College, which joined the Touro College and University System in 2011, is located in Westchester County, New York, and offers degrees from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and Practice, a School of Dental Medicine and a School of Nursing. NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities for students, residents, and practitioners. 

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network

The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit www.WMCHealth.org.