Avital Fischer completed her MD/PhD program as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine. Her PhD in Epidemiology evaluated the relationship between life event stress and breast cancer risk.
After receiving her PhD, she was a Zuckerman scholar and began postdoctoral research at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology where she studied the effect of the most often prescribed antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), on breast cancer mortality. Her experience was unfortunately cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After completing her medical training, she started a residency as a research track resident in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. She is now a Zuckerman scholar for the second time. She has a passion for women’s health and prevention and understanding how to treat mental health in the context of physical comorbidities.
Her postdoctoral research in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University focuses on how exposure to female hormones during a woman’s lifespan influences maternal-infant outcomes and her risk of postpartum depression.
During the pandemic, Dr. Fischer worked with a team of researchers who surveyed and interviewed family medicine doctors regarding their experiences on the frontlines treating COVID-19 patients and demonstrated how burnout differentially impacts female physicians.
Dr. Fischer has been active in the Jewish communities of Boston, Irvine, and Palo Alto, as well as being involved with Israel advocacy and education on campus. She looks forward to fostering long-lasting academic collaborations in Israel and the US through her Zuckerman scholarship.