Dr. Avital Harari joined the UCLA Endocrine Surgery team in 2010. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Harari is a highly experienced, board certified Endocrine Surgeon. She is widely published in her field and is one of the top Endocrine Surgeons in the United States.
She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with Highest Honors and as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Thereafter, she received her medical degree with distinction at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, graduating in the top 10% of her medical school class. She trained in general surgery at Columbia University in New York City prior to completing the premier Endocrine Surgery fellowship in the country at the University of California, San Francisco (2010). She is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a member of a wide range of professional organizations including the American College of Surgeons, the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the Endocrine Society, The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the American Thyroid Association.
Dr. Harari has received many academic honors at all levels of her education and has a growing bibliography. Dr. Harari’s clinical and research interests include the multidisciplinary management of benign and malignant tumors of the adrenal, thyroid, and parathyroid glands as well as the neuroendocrine pancreas. She is also interested in familial endocrine disorders (such as multiple endocrine neoplasia). She offers a wide range of unique services including retroperitoneal or transabdominal laparoscopic adrenalectomy, mini-incision thyroid and parathyroid surgery, central and modified neck dissection, and laparoscopic removal of pancreatic tumors.
Dr. Harari was the first to bring to UCLA and to Southern California a new technique called laproscopic retroperitoneal adrenalectomy, which offers removal of the adrenal from the back, minimizing scars. She trained specifically for this in Germany and taught the current endocrine surgeons at UCLA how to perform this technique. She also brought other new techniques to UCLA such as ultrasound guided methylene blue dye injection for removal of recurrent thyroid cancers, cryopreservation of parathyroid tissue, parathyroid tissue aspiration techniques (in lieu of frozen section). She brought new new technologies to improve parathyroid imaging, such as the parathyroid CT scan, to UCLA.
Dr. Harari is an expert in thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal surgery. She has performed over 2000 endocrine surgical procedures – from the simplest parathyroid surgery to the most complicated open paraganglioma surgeries. She performs all her own complex neck dissections, and her complication rate is among the lowest in the country.
Her interests in addition to endocrine surgery include promoting women in the field of surgery, global health, surgical education and surgical outcomes. Dr. Harari has a passion for teaching, mentorship, and research, and through those activities, have significantly improved the medical student and general surgery residency programs at UCLA. As a proponent of women in surgery, she co-created one of the most successful extracurricular programs in UCLA history called the Women in Surgery program, which inspires, encourages, and enables female medical students to enter surgical fields, and provides mentorship to students, residents, and faculty. Dr. Harari has a passion for global health and has practiced medicine in 6 continents. She has set up international exchanges with medical students, surgical residents, and surgical faculty all over the world. She has volunteered her time extensively in most of the developing world. She co-created the UCLA general surgery residency’s first global surgery program, which sends trainees to hospitals in developing countries in various parts of the world.
In her spare time she loves to travel, hike, paint, explore new restaurants, relax on the beach. Most of all, Dr. Harari is a loving wife and mother to two young boys--which makes life very busy!
Dr. Harari is actively involved in Endocrine Surgical research, and to further her education, while faculty at UCLA, completed a Master of Science degree in Clinical Research at UCLA in 2013. She has published extensively within the Endocrinology and Endocrine Surgery fields.
Her research has focused primarily on risk factors for thyroid cancer, including demographic variable and environmental influences. She was awarded a prestigious grant for investigating the effect of pesticides on thyroid cancer. She has presented her research at the national meetings of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the Endocrine Society, the American Thyroid Association, The Pacific Coast Surgical Association, and the Association for Academic Surgery.
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Dr. Harari has been named a 2019 Castle Connolly Top Doctor. She has also been named a 2013, 2014, and 2015 Super Doctor Rising Star, which is voted on by peers and recognizes the top 2.5% of physicians in the country. She then was named a 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Super Doctor. She was also named one of America's Top Surgeons, one of the Top 100 Health professionals of the world, (2018) and an LA Magazine Top Doctor (2018 and 2019).