Dawn M. Elfenbein, MD, MPH, FACS

Associate Professor

  • Division of Endocrine Surgery
  • Medical Student Clerkship Director
  • Vice Chair of Wellbeing

(608) 263-1387

  • Administrative Assistant: (608) 263-1387

Clinical Sciences Center
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792-7375


  • MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • MPH, University of North Carolina
  • Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
  • General Surgery Residency, Duke University Hospital
  • Endocrine Surgery Fellowship, University of Wisconsin
  • Surgical Education Research Fellowship, Association for Surgical Education

Clinical Specialties

Dr. Elfenbein is a board certified general surgeon with fellowship training in Endocrine Surgery. She is a high-volume endocrine surgeon who treats diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. She has a particular interest in treatment decision making in benign inflammatory thyroid conditions such as Graves’ disease, but is an expert in all aspects of endocrine surgery including thyroid cancer. She uses several state of the art techniques to treat surgical endocrine disorders (radioguided parathyroidectomy, minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, laparoscopic adrenalectomy, retroperitoneal adrenalectomy, minimally invasive thyroidectomy, four-gland parathyroid exploration, and treatment of recurrent or persistent hyperparathyroidism).

Research Interests

Dr. Elfenbein’s main research focus is on surgical education. She is working to address clinical teaching effectiveness across the spectrum of medical student and resident education. This work uses a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to develop teaching effectiveness tools that are reliable and valid, but also easy to put into place.

She also conducts clinical research working on Graves’ disease and other inflammatory thyroid diseases, hyperparathyroidism, thyroid cancer, and adrenal disorders.

Recent Publications

  • Don't chase the adenoma: A probabilistic approach to imaging before parathyroidectomy.
    Lunardi N, Jacob A, Elfenbein D, Schneider DF, Long K, Holoubek SA, MacKinney E, Chiu A, Sippel RS, Balentine CJ
    Surgery 2024 May; 175(5): 1299-1304
    [PubMed ID: 38433078]

  • Outcomes of Preoperative Medical Therapy for Thyroidectomy in Autoimmune Thyroid Disease.
    Braafladt SM, Baumgartner TC, Allison HR, Blumenthaler AN, Ritter HE, Mariash CN, Elfenbein DM, McDow AD
    J Surg Res 2024 Mar; 295: 318-326
    [PubMed ID: 38061236]

  • Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients with Low-Risk Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: A Systematic Review Examining the Extent of Thyroidectomy.
    Bach K, Ansari P, Ansari H, Mott NM, Elfenbein DM, Underwood H, Pitt SC
    Thyroid 2024 Jan; 34(1): 14-25
    [PubMed ID: 37861284]

  • Experiential Learning of Interdisciplinary Care Skills in Surgery Assessed From Student Reflections.
    Buzzard L, Stepp D, Elfenbein D, O'Rourke AP
    J Surg Res 2023 Mar; 283: 783-792
    [PubMed ID: 36470204]

  • Identifying Intraoperative Behaviors Associated With Surgical Resident Teachability.
    Lauer KV, Jung SA, Elfenbein DM
    J Surg Educ 2023 Jan; 80(1): 30-38
    [PubMed ID: 35985934]

All Publications on PubMed