Dr. Rifat Latifi is the director of the Department of Surgery at Westchester Medical Health in Vallhalla, New York. He is also the Felicien Steichen Professor and Chairman of Surgery at New York Medical College, School of Medicine. Before moving to New York, he was a professor of surgery at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. From January 2011 to January 2014, he was based in Doha, Qatar, where he was the Director of Trauma of the Trauma Center at Hamad General Hospital.
The Trauma Center in Doha is the only Level I trauma center in Qatar and aspire to official certification by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and, in fact, hosted a visit from committee members who traveled to Qatar in March 2013.
Dr. Latifi has helped create, and lead, a premiere Trauma Center—which has now gained a national, regional, and international reputation for significantly reducing mortality and morbidity and for spearheading trauma research. As such, the Trauma Center in Doha has become an example of an eminently successful trauma center, widely respected in the Middle East and beyond. Dr. Latifi oversaw a faculty of 32 surgeons, anesthesiologists, and critical care specialists.
In addition to his surgical science, Dr. Latifi is passionately dedicated to improving health care—specifically by helping establish trauma systems along with telemedicine and e-health programs—in rural regions and underdeveloped countries, especially those recovering from conflicts, disaster, as well as remote countries and territories such as Island nations. He has established the first teletrauma and telepresence program in Arizona (Southern Arizona Telemedicine and Telepresence (SATT). He is a founder and president of a not-for-profit organization, the International Virtual e-Hospital (www.iveh.org).
For the last few years and at the present time, he oversees a team of 3 national telemedicine programs, in Europe (Kosova and Albania) and Cape Verde (Africa) and working with various governments to start set up telemedicine and trauma centers in the near future in East Africa, South East Asia, Middle East and in the Balkans. All 3 telemedicine programs have become models of how to enhance medical services in low-resource areas.