About Cerf


Dr. Robert Cerfolio has led an extraordinary life. Renowned as one of the world’s top thoracic surgeons, his peers have voted him one of America’s Best Doctors.

Cerf attributes much of his competitive drive to his formative experiences as an athlete. “What I’ve learned over the years is how to make the game of life itself into a playing field,” he writes.

Cerf has also left an exemplary mark as a family man, raising three sons – all Super Performers in their own right -with his late wife of 22 years Lorraine.

His varied experiences delivering stellar results in high stress situations have given him a wealth of insight into how to help teams and individuals perform to their highest potential. A dynamic speaker, Cerfolio has presented to diverse audiences around the globe to share his insights on applying proven strategies of super performing to all facets of life.

Today, Cerf is Professor of Surgery and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Cerfolio also recently served as President of the Southern Thoracic Surgery Association, one of the youngest individuals to hold such a position.

He is a leading pioneer of robotic surgery techniques, having performed more thoracic robotic operations than any other surgeon. His breakthroughs have drawn more than 200 visiting surgeons from around the world to Alabama to learn from his medical techniques and organizational expertise.

Cerf received his bachelor and medical degrees from the University of Rochester. He went on to surgical training at Cornell University Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the Mayo Clinic. Never content to rest on his laurels, he also recently received his Masters of Business Association (MBA) from the University of Tennessee Business School in December of 2013. He lives with his sons near Birmingham, Alabama.

 Dr. Cerfolio is the recipient of many honors for his extraordinary range of accomplishments. Some selected highlights from his distinguished career include:

  • Performing more than 15,000 operations, with more than 1,200 surgeries annually.
  • Conducting more robotic thoracic operations than any other doctor in the world.
  • Serving as President of the Southern Thoracic Surgery Association.
  • Leading research on improvements in treatment for lung cancer.
  • Delivering over 300 visiting professorships, lectures, and presentations at conferences around the globe.
  • Writing over 150 original peer-reviewed articles and 50 book chapters.
  • Recognition as All-American Athlete at the high school and collegiate level.

Despite his impressive accolades, Cerfolio regards his proudest achievement to be one not commonly listed on a CV – his family.