Rafi Avitsian, MD

Department: General Anesthesiology

Vice Chair for Professional Development

Location:Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Mail Code E31
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195

Appointment: 216.444.9735


Type of Doctor:

Adults Only

Research & Publications

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Biographical Sketch

Rafi Avitsian M.D. is the Vice Chair for Professional Development in the Department of General Anesthesiology in Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He is also the Section Head for the Neurosurgical Anesthesiology as well as the program director of Neuroanesthesia fellowship program. In addition to his clinical practice in the department as a staff anesthesiologist he is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.

He is of Armenian origin. Born in Iran, he immigrated to Canada later in life before coming to Cleveland Clinic, where he completed his internship, residency and fellowship, with a focus on neurosurgical anesthesiology. After graduation, he joined the staff in the Department of General Anesthesiology at Cleveland Clinic. He is board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

His clinical interests include neurosurgical anesthesia, particularly anesthesia for intracranial vascular surgeries. His clinical studies are directed mostly towards finding the optimal anesthetic methods to decrease post-operative complications after neurosurgery. He is also interested in airway management, especially for patients with difficult airway issues, and he has an active role in teaching as well as innovating in the area of airway management.

Dr. Avitsian also has special passion for resident education and was awarded various teaching awards including: Best Teacher of the Year, the Arthur Barnes Distinguished Teacher Award and the Distinguished Educator Award.

Professional Highlights

  • American Board of Anesthesiology Part 2 exam question writing committee
  • American Board of Anesthesiology Oral Examiner, appointed 2009
  • Committee on Problem Based Learning Discussion (PBLD), American Society of Anesthesiologists (2006-present)
  • Advisory board member, Center for International Medical Education, Cleveland Clinic

Education & Fellowships

Fellowship – Cleveland Clinic

Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
Cleveland, OH USA

Residency – Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland, OH USA

Internship – Cleveland Clinic

Internal Medicine
Cleveland, OH USA

Medical School – Tehran University School of Medicine

Tehran Iran


  • Anesthesiology

Specialty Interests

brain protection, education in anesthesiology, general anesthesia, neurosurgical anesthesiology

Awards & Honors

  • Scholarship in Teaching Award, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, 2011
  • Program Director’s Certificate Award, Cleveland Clinic 2013
  • Recipient of “Gold Medal” from Yerevan State Medical University for advancing Education during the 90th anniversary of the University 2010
  • Certificate of Appreciation from Ministry of Health in Armenia 2007 for organizing a teaching workshop for airway management.
  • Recipient “Arthur Barnes Distinguished Teacher Award” by SRNA school, Division of General Anesthesiology Critical Care and Comprehensive Pain Management, Cleveland Clinic 2006.
    Scholarship in Teaching Award, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, 2006.
  • Recipient of Distinguished Educator I Certificate, Cleveland Clinic Foundation 2006.
    Awarded “Teacher of the Year”, Department of General Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2006.

Innovations & Patents

  • “Intrajugular Catheter and method” US Patent US8366698
  • “Medical Device Sheath” US Patent US 8870752 B2
  • “Oral suction device with ventilation capability”, US Patent PCT/US2011/056378


  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Society Of Neurosurgical Anesthesia And Critical Care
  • Ohio Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Society for Airway Management
  • Northern Ohio Medical Association/ Academy of Medicine in Cleveland
  • Armenian Healthcare Professionals of Ohio