Rifat Latifi, MD, FACS, FICS, FKCS

Rifat Latifi, MD, is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Arizona, former chief and professor of the Department of Surgery at New York Medical College, Medical School, and Director of the Department of Surgery at the New York Health Network. Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York. In addition, he was Chief of General Surgery at Westchester Medical Center. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the International College of Surgeons (ICS) and the Kosova College of Surgeons (KCC). Dr. Latifi is the Founding President of the Kosova College of Surgeons and Editor-in-Chief of the Kosova Journal of Surgery. Dr. Rifat Latifi served as the Minister of Health of the Republic of Kosova from November 16, 2021 to October 6, 2022. At the same time, he is the originator and creator of the Telemedicine program in Kosova, Albania, and Cabo Verde, Africa. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery in general surgery and critical care surgery. He is licensed in New York and Arizona, USA.

Dr. Latifi is the epitome of academic surgeon, surgical mentor, avid researcher and surgical educator of international and global interest, who was promoted to full professor of surgery just five years after completing his surgical residency at Yale University in 1999. He has broad and comprehensive clinical and research interests, including reoperative surgery, trauma surgery and complex general surgery, surgical critical care, surgical decision making and geriatric surgery, telemedicine and nutritional support in surgery and critically ill patients. He was Director of the Department of Surgery at Westchester Medical Center Health Network in Valhalla, New York, from 2016 to November 2021, and also responsible for major reforms and rebuilding of the department of surgery into an outstanding academic, clinical/ research and world-renowned.

Dr. Latifi graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Prishtina, Kosova. He served as a resident in orthopedics at the University Clinic of the University of Pristina (1982-1985). He completed his residency in General Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Yale University Hospital, while Postgraduate Training in Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Lincoln Hospital, New York Medical College in New York (1994-1999). He is the author or co-author of more than 450 scientific articles and book chapters. In addition, he is the author/editor of 20 scientific books and serves on the editorial boards of many international surgical journals. He is a member of a number of US and international surgical organizations, including the American Surgical Association, the most prestigious surgical association in the world. He is a corresponding member of the Academy of Surgeons of Argentina, which was established in 1911.

Dr. Latifi is recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on telemedicine and telehealth. Additionally, he is passionately devoted to global surgery and international telemedicine as tools for rebuilding health care systems in developing and post-conflict countries. He has established three national telemedicine programs in Europe (Kosova and Albania) and Africa (Cabo Verde), for which he received the American College of Surgeons Award for International Surgical Volunteerism in 2015. Additionally, Dr. Latifi created the first teletrauma and telepresence program in Arizona, Southern Arizona Telemedicine and Telepresence (SATT), which served marginalized populations along the US-Mexico border.

Dr. Latifi has also received the “21st Century Health Achievement Award” from the “Computerworld Honors Program” and the “International Health Promotion Award” from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC). In 2017, he was awarded the “No Land Too Far Award” by Westchester Business Journal in Westchester, New York, and Top Doctors in 2020, 2021, 2022. In 2022, he was decorated “Most Decorated Doctors” USA. Also, he was awarded the “Certificate of Appreciation” by NATO Headquarters, 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 US College of Surgeons Committee on Global Engagement. Currently, Dr. Latifi serves as Vice-President of the International College of Surgeons, USA chapter, and is the New York State delegate to this organization.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators proclaimed November 13, 2021 as “Dr. Rifat Latifi Day,” in celebration of “Albanian Heritage Month,” in honor of his commitment to the health and well-being of people in Westchester County and around the world, while simultaneously overseeing national telemedicine programs in his native Kosova, Albania, as well as in Cabo Verde, Africa.