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Meet Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD

Originally published July 8, 2024

Last updated July 8, 2024

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dr. Cohen-Gadol is a neurosurgeon with Keck Medicine of USC who specializes in performing complex brain procedures.

Here’s what you won’t find on his resume.

In his opinion, surgery is an art form.

“I always wanted to be a surgeon because I consider surgery an art that allows me to directly affect the lives of patients, which I find deeply satisfying. Neurosurgery has never been just a job for me, but a reflection of my passion for technical excellence.”

He treasures family time.

“I love spending time with my wife and young children. Being called ‘Daddy’ is one of the highest responsibilities a human can assume.
Outside of my clinical responsibilities, I also spend my free time supporting organizations for neurosurgical education and innovation.”

Playing the saxophone is on the to-do list.

“My personal bucket list includes learning how to play the saxophone. I also want to play basketball with my son and devote more time to reflecting on my religion.”

He would love to fly.

“If I could trade careers with anyone, it would be a fighter jet pilot. As with my own career as a neurosurgeon, the margin of error is very small, and the experience required is tremendous.”

He’s not just a doctor for humans.

“People may be surprised to learn that I love to volunteer my time to perform therapeutic brain surgery on pet dogs.”

His parents set a great example.

“My parents continue to be my special role models. I always admired their work ethic and aspired to do the same.”

Learning about ancient history is one of his hobbies.

“I love reading and watching documentaries on the secrets of the Egyptian pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Giza remains one of the most special wonders of this world that defines commitment to excellence and exceptional work ethic.”

He has been to the Middle East.

“My favorite travel destination is Israel. I enjoyed visiting its historical religious sites.”

Achieving excellence is the daily goal.

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard is a quote credited to football coach Vince Lombardi: ‘Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.’ I believe in uncompromising excellence in all I do, and the challenge to be the best surgeon possible has defined my journey in neurosurgery.”

It’s all about the patients…

“The most rewarding part of my career has been improving the lives of my patients. Every decision I make in the operating room is in the patient’s best interest.”

…and the satisfaction of pushing the limits of what’s possible.

“I inherently enjoy competition and being the best at what I do. The journey to push the boundaries of what is possible in neurosurgery is especially satisfying to me.”

His message for medical students.

“Neurosurgery is not a job but a true passion for achieving excellence, and this journey requires a lifetime commitment.”

He’s involved in research to continually improve brain cancer techniques.

“The most impactful advancement in the field of neurosurgery so far is the ability to perform procedures through the nose rather than needing to open the skull. My own research is focused on developing enhanced minimally invasive approaches for removing complex brain tumors.
Overall, the medical breakthrough I’d love to see become a reality in my lifetime is a cure for brain cancer.”

The collaborative culture and educational focus sets Keck Medicine apart.

“I chose to practice at an academic medical center, and particularly at Keck Medicine of USC, because of the opportunity to learn from others in a multidisciplinary environment and work with colleagues who have unparalleled expertise in their respective fields and uncompromising commitment to doing what is best for the patient. Teaching residents and witnessing their successes is also deeply gratifying.”

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