RSNA recognizes 3 renowned radiologists as 2020 Gold Medalists, the society’s highest honor

Three physicians received RSNA Gold Medals, the society’s highest honor, during a virtual ceremony shared Sunday.

The award is meant to recognize those who “have rendered unusual service to the science of radiology,” as deemed by the Oak Brook, Illinois-based group’s governing body. RSNA typically awards three such medals each year, and recipients require unanimous approval from its board of directors.

Here’s a quick look at 2020’s winners:

Ronald Arenson, MD, is an educator and researcher who championed early implementation of picture archiving and communication systems in imaging. He joined the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, in 1992 and has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed articles and seven books. He’s also a past president of the Radiological Society of North America and several other groups.

“This year, I miss seeing all of you, my friends and associates, and I sincerely hope that we will be together again next year,” Arenson said in a video message posted Nov. 29.

William Thorwarth Jr, MD, has served as CEO of the American College of Radiology since 2014 and helped shape the specialty’s transition to value-based care, RSNA noted. Prior to joining ACR, he was a renowned diagnostic and interventional radiologist for 30 years with Catawba Radiological Associates in Hickory, North Carolina. Along the way, he also served on the boards of both the RSNA and Frye Regional Medical Center, among other designations.

“It truly has been and continues to be an incredible ride,” Thorwarth said. “The RSNA Gold Medal marks a very unexpected high point of my career, and one that I clearly did not achieve without significant support from many.”

And finally, Kay Vydareny, MD, is an acclaimed professor and leader, the RSNA noted, devoting her career to medical education and mentorship. Over her many years in the profession, she served as director of medical student education with Emory University in Atlanta and president of organizations including the American Association for Women Radiologists. Vydareny has received numerous prestigious awards, RSNA noted, and is “revered for her generosity and ability to make the most complex concepts understood.”

“This has been a sad year. Like many, we have lost good friends and family members,” said Vydareny, who retired from clinical practice in 2010.

“There has never been a time in my life when Americans have been so divided,” she added later. “Nevertheless, there have been sparks of hope, and as I have watched from the sidelines, I have been so proud of medical professionals and others who have stepped forward to play heroic roles. My deepest hope is that 2021 will bring peace and healing to the country we love.”

You can read more about this year’s RSNA Gold Medal winners, and watch the entire ceremony, here.