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Dr. Latifi

Meet Kujtim Latifi, PhD

Radiation Oncology Medical Physicist

"I think the satisfaction of making a difference is what keeps me focused and makes me look forward to tomorrow and the next day."

Dr. Kujtim Latifi remembers. Born in the war-torn country of Kosovo, his first name, Kujtim, literally means to remember. His parents gave him the name so he would never forget where he came from—a dangerous place "where tomorrow was not very certain," he says.

So maybe it’s only fitting that he escaped as a refugee to become a medical physicist at Moffitt Cancer Center. Here he fights to help cancer patients make it to the next day. “I’ve seen the worst,” Dr. Latifi says, “so if there’s a problem, I’ll figure out how to solve it.”

Working in radiation oncology, he’s responsible for ensuring his patients get the right dose of treatment for their specific cancer. He knows accuracy and safety are life-and-death matters.

Yet despite the seriousness of his work. Dr. Latifi marvels at the courage of patients who come and go. “Daily, I see patients walking around where you typically would not know there is something wrong with them because they are happy,” he says. “It’s really amazing.”

Their will to stay positive inspires him to embrace the challenges that come with his job, understanding that a set formula is not always mapped out for him.

“How do you treat a patient that cannot lie down?” he asks. “How do you treat a patient where their tumor is moving?” These are the types of questions he applies his advanced critical thinking skills to solve.

And yet Dr. Latifi always sees the bigger picture. “Making someone’s life better; making small, incremental changes daily,” he says, “so tomorrow you can look back and say, ‘Yes, what I did yesterday was good.’”