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Rafael Fazylov, MD, FACS

Rafael Fazylov, MD, FACS

Associate Chairman, Department of Surgery
NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health

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From Uzbekistan Immigrant to Devoted Brooklyn Surgeon

Dr. Rafael Fazylov went to medical school in his native Uzbekistan and began practicing urology in the early 1990s. Then, in 1995, ethnic upheaval forced him to leave with his family as part of a mass migration of Uzbek Jews. Most of the refugees went to Israel. Dr. Fazylov came to New York and began the long and arduous process of learning English, obtaining citizenship and becoming an American doctor. 

After earning the required certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Dr. Fazylov worked as a research assistant and volunteered in the cardiac surgery department at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn while working toward full medical licensure. Eventually, he was accepted into the general surgery residency program at Maimonides and completed his training in 2006, 10 years after his arrival in the U.S. 

Dr. Fazylov spent two years in the surgery department of New York Hospital Queens and joined NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, now NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health, in 2007. He became Associate Chairman of Surgery in 2018.

“Dr. Fazylov has steadily progressed in his career by hard work, dedication, commitment and the highest degree of professionalism,” says Dr. Terence Brady, the hospital’s chief medical officer. “He goes beyond the call of duty to advise his colleagues in complex clinical problems, and he is clearly one of the role models for medical students, residents and physician colleagues.”

In his 16 years at South Brooklyn Health, Dr. Fazylov has become expert in minimally invasive surgery and robotics and an advocate for its development and wider use. “It was a new field when I was in training,” he says, but he found it appealing when he saw how much it lessened the ordeal of surgery for patients. “With open surgery, patients are in bed for a week with wounds and infections and pain. With minimally invasive surgery, you fix the problem and afterward they are smiling and ready to go. It makes a big difference and to me it is the field of the future.”  

As a role model, Dr. Fazylov has a straightforward approach: “If I see someone struggling and I feel I can help, I jump into that situation because my goal is to do best for the patient and someone’s ego shouldn’t affect it,” Dr. Fazylov says. He appreciates his reputation as a teacher and mentor: “My grandpa said you can grade yourself however you want but the real one is how other people grade you.”

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