Physician spotlight: Dr. Yair Gozal
Dr. Yair Gozal never doubted his destiny.
“I've always known I wanted to become a doctor, and I don't remember ever wanting to be anything else,” he says. “My father is a physician, and I was drawn to taking care of people as early as I can remember. In my senior year of high school, when my mother was ill, I helped take care of her and knew at that point that I would be happy with a career in medicine.”
Dr. Gozal also experienced his own health setback when he suffered a fracture in his lower spine while playing football in middle school. Part of his rehabilitation involved swimming, a sport that suited his determined and commitment-focused personality. It was a twist of fate that helped shape the contours of his life.
In high school, in addition to competing year-round in swimming, Dr. Gozal excelled in academics and began working in neuroscience research labs. He was accepted into an accelerated, 6-year BA/BS-MD program that combined college and medical school at Case Western Reserve University. But he ultimately chose to pursue a traditional college curriculum so that he could later pursue both MD and PhD degrees. He majored in chemistry, biology, and history, graduating summa cum laude with honors in history. He received the Donald Grove Barnes award for his thesis, "The Holocaust in the Public, 1942-45," and the Daniel Burke prize for excellence in biology and chemistry.
Dr. Gozal also continued to swim competitively at Case Western, competing in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle and covering some 1.8 million yards while training during a typical season. Not incidentally, he also fell in love with a distance swimmer and backstroker on the women’s team. She eventually became his wife and the mother of their four children.
Dr. Gozal went on to earn his doctorate and medical degrees at Emory University, where his interest in neuroscience converged with a newfound passion for surgery.
“When I rotated on general surgery as a medical student, I realized I enjoyed the demanding schedule in the operating room,” he says. “I then rotated onto the neurosurgical service, where I was awed by the dedication and skill of the neurosurgeons and residents I met. I absolutely loved the efficiency, the teamwork, and the arduous physical and technical demands of operating in long, challenging cases. Moreover, in neurosurgery there is tremendous variation in the types of cases one is expected to master. This provides nearly daily intellectual challenges and opportunities for pioneering innovation.”
Dr. Gozal performed his residency at the University of Cincinnati and a fellowship in skull base and open cerebrovascular neurosurgery at the University of Utah. He joined Mayfield Brain & Spine immediately after completing his fellowship in 2018.
Today, Dr. Gozal is burnishing his reputation as a brain tumor specialist at The Jewish Hospital-Mercy Health and Good Samaritan Hospital. He diagnoses and treats patients with pituitary, acoustic neuroma, glioma, and meningioma tumors. He also has expertise in treating patients who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia and diseases and disorders of the spine.
“I love the opportunity to work as part of a close-knit community of incredibly talented professionals who have a singular focus in caring for the sickest and most complex of patients,” Dr. Gozal says. “It is a privilege to earn patients' trust and to have the opportunity to help people during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.”
~ Cindy Starr
"I absolutely loved the efficiency, the teamwork, and the arduous physical and technical demands of operating in long challenging cases." ~Yair Gozal, MD, PhD