A Central New York surgeon has been ranked among the top 2% of scientists in the world in a Stanford University study.

Not only is Dr. David Albala, who is a urological surgeon at Associated Medical Professionals in Syracuse, a "top doc", but he also writes, teaches medicine and once worked for the White House.

Art Pierce is a patient of Albala and a two-time cancer survivor under his care.

“He might be rated the top 2%, but he’s number one in my book,” said Pierce. “My life has been saved twice.”

What drives this world-renowned doctor’s passion?

“The science, the patients, there’s a wide variety. I do a lot of kidney stone surgery as well as prostate cancer and those patients really are grateful and quite honestly that’s the main reason I chose urology,” said Albala.

Early in Albala’s career, an experiment affirmed his path in urology, as well as the success of robotics in his field.

“We developed the technique for laparoscopic nephrectomy. So it’d never been done. We practiced in pigs. Thirty years later, that’s changed and that’s become the standard of care. I built the robotic program at Duke, and helped build the program at Crouse,” said Albala.

Long before Albala was recognized worldwide, he worked on the national stage as the first surgeon to become a White House fellow working to keep Americans safer on the road.

“I spent most of my time when I was working as a White House fellow worked with Frederico Pena and health-related issues in the Department of Transportation,” said Albala. “One of the issues we worked on was the airbag issue that was killing many children and devising the toggle switch to turn the airbags off.”

Despite all of his work, Albala attributes this recognition to his medical publishings.

“Each of these books is a project. Maybe a year; two years? It’s a love. It really is. It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

Albala has written more than 218 medical articles and six medical textbooks. He says despite being ranked top in the world, the books and the White House fellowships, the appreciation and the lives of patients are what matters most.

“I’ve been blessed, but part of that blessing is finding the right surgeon and getting the right treatment early on,” said Pierce, the two-time cancer survivor.

“As physicians, we can’t leave any stones unturned,” said Albala.