Meet Our Team

Meet Annie Yessaian, MD

Originally published April 23, 2021

Last updated April 29, 2024

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dr. Yessaian is a gynecological oncologist at Keck Medicine of USC, who specializes in the surgical and medical treatment of women with gynecological cancers, precancers and complex gynecological surgical needs.

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

Science has played an important role in her career goals.

“In high school, I wanted to be a nuclear physicist, biomedical engineer, an astronomer or any field related to space. But growing up in Iraq, these careers were not available, especially for women. Nevertheless, medicine ended up being a perfect choice, especially after I decided to choose a surgical specialty.”

She has delivered babies in combat zones.

“In 1991, during Desert Storm, I did my obstetrics and gynecology internship in Baghdad, Iraq, delivering babies in the bunker. Years later, I returned to the Middle East on a medical mission and volunteered in a Syrian refugee camp, located on the Syria-Jordan border. While there, I provided OBGYN care and used my fluency in Arabic to translate for the other team members.”

She learned much about perseverance and integrity at home.

“Growing up, my father was my biggest role model for his lifelong genuine love of learning, curiosity and work ethic. I watched as he overcame many obstacles, through strength and persistence, without compromising his values no matter the circumstances.”

She would consider trading careers with this engineer and entrepreneur.

“If I could trade careers with anyone in the world, it would be Elon Musk, for being on the forefront of innovation, risk-taking and venturing into space, which was one of my childhood passions.”

She enjoys traveling to the land of her ancestors and beyond.

“Armenia is my favorite travel destination, as it is the land of my family’s cultural heritage. We visited there in 2019, toured the villages of my grandparents and introduced it to my teenage daughters. We are definitely visiting again!

“I would also love to visit Jerusalem and the South Pole, as well as get my scuba diving certification.”

Offering guidance to her patients is very important.

“My philosophy of care is patient-focused. I believe it’s important for doctors to help and share their guidance, so that patients can ultimately make informed health care choices.”

Working with a diverse and dedicated medical staff is why she calls Keck Medicine home.

“The most rewarding part of my job is teaching and being surrounded by trainees, such as fellows, residents and medical students, as they push me to continue learning and advancing in my field. Working with accomplished, passionate colleagues, within gynecological oncology and all throughout Keck Medicine, is also very rewarding. This creates a positive and collaborative work environment that delivers excellent, multidisciplinary patient care.”

Improving the lives of others inspires her every day.

“The opportunity to make life better for others is what inspires me to be the best physician I can be. Even when a cure is not possible, I can certainly help my patients improve their quality of life by providing treatment options and managing symptoms.

View Dr. Yessaian’s full biography and schedule an appointment.