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David A. Hafler, MD, FANA

Neurology, Multiple Sclerosis
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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.” 


  • William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor of Neurology and Professor of Immunobiology
  • Chair, Department of Neurology
  • Neurologist-in-Chief, Yale New Haven Hospital

Education & Training

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship
    Harvard Medical School (1986)
  • Chief Resident
    The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute (1982)
  • Assistant Resident
    The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute (1981)
  • MD
    University of Miami School of Medicine (1978)
  • BS
    Emory College, Chemistry (1974)
  • MS
    Emory University (1974)
  • Visiting Scientist
    Rockefeller University

Additional Information