Rifat Latifi, MD, professor and vice-chair of international relations in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery and president and founder of the International Virtual-e-Hospital Foundation, has been elected vice president of the International Society of Telemedicine and eHealth.
The International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH), is a non-governmental and not-for-profit society that serves primarily as the “umbrella” association for the national telemedicine and eHealth organizations. The organization facilitates the international dissemination of knowledge in telemedicine and eHealth and provides access to recognized experts in the field worldwide. The society assists the start-up of new national organizations and supports developing nations in the fields of telemedicine and eHealth.
Dr. Latifi is a trauma surgeon at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, specializing in trauma, general surgery and critical care, with special interest in re-operative surgery, advanced laparoscopic surgery, telemedicine and nutrition support of surgery and critically ill patients.
In addition to his surgical practice and research, Dr. Latifi is dedicated to improving global health care by helping to establish trauma systems, along with telemedicine and e-health programs, in rural regions and underdeveloped nations, especially those recovering from conflicts or disaster. He established the first teletrauma and telepresence program in Arizona – Southern Arizona Telemedicine and Telepresence (SATT) – which served residents along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is a founder and president of a not-for-profit organization, the International Virtual e-Hospital (www.iveh.org), whose mission is to assist in rebuilding the public health-care system in developing nations by introducing and implementing telemedicine, telehealth and virtual educational programs through the concept of the IVeH Network.
Since 2002, he has overseen a team of three national telemedicine programs in Europe (Kosova and Albania) and Cabo Verde (Africa). All three telemedicine programs have become models of how to enhance medical services in low-resource areas. 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) and several teaching awards from resident-physicians and medical students.