David A. Hafler, MD, FANA

David A. Hafler, MD, FANA
Neurology, Multiple Sclerosis
Accepting new patients? Yes
Referrals required? From physicians only
Patient type treated: Adult
Board Certified in Neurology

David Hafler, MD, is a world-renowned expert on multiple sclerosis (MS) and chair of the Department of Neurology, where he has presided over a major expansion in the last several years. He tells the neurologists who work for him to put patients first. “If I sense that a doctor does not care deeply about patients, they don’t belong at Yale,” he says.

Dr. Hafler knew from a young age that he wanted to be a doctor and study the immune system. In elementary school, he made slides of his own blood and studied them under a microscope. “I took photographs. I still have them,” he says. Because most neurologic diseases are chronic, he has been treating many of his patients for more than 30 years. “Providing care for chronic disease is a very special part of being involved in someone’s life,” he says.

A professor of neurology and of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Hafler is also a prolific researcher whose work has led to major advances in the understanding and treatment of MS, including identification of it as an autoimmune and genetic disease. He leads a lab at Yale that conducts cutting-edge research into MS and develops new treatments. Advances in treatment of MS have been remarkable, he says. “Back in the 1970s when I was in medical school, there were no treatments,” he says. “From where we were in 1975, say, we’ve come a long way.” 

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.