Highly respected in the field of radiology and with a career built on scientific and educational leadership, William J. Casarella, MD, professor and former chair of the Department of Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine, will receive the 2005 Gold Medal from the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), the society's highest honor. Dr. Casarella will receive the award on May 18 in New Orleans at the society's annual meeting.
He is one of three recipients to receive a Gold Medal this year.
The AARS's Gold Medal signifies a lifetime of service and contributions to the field of radiology, as well as excellence in leadership.
"I am honored to receive this recognition by one of the oldest radiological societies in the world," says Dr. Casarella. "After 35 years in the field of radiology, I look back at my career and believe I was very lucky in my timing to come into this field when interventional radiology was in its infancy. Over the years, I've watched the field grow to something extraordinary."
Dr. Casarella received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He then completed residencies at Boston City Hospital and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. After spending 11 years as chief of the cardiovascular section of radiology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, he was appointed to the radiology faculty at Emory in 1981, where he also was named chair of the Department of Radiology.
Dr. Casarella was only the second person to hold the position of chair in the history of the Emory Department of Radiology. He held that position for 23 years. Highlights of his 23-year tenure include recruiting outstanding scientists and clinicians that were leaders in the field of radiology, building one of the premier residency training programs in the country, creating a high-tech, advanced outpatient radiology clinic, and developing a filmless radiology system.
Today, Dr. Casarella holds the position of professor of radiology and Executive Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Emory University School of Medicine.
Dr. Casarella was instrumental in the early work in the field of interventional radiology. During the 1980s, he helped develop applications and techniques for angioplasty and diagnostic angiography. "We developed new techniques in interventional radiology to cut down on morbidity and reduce the number of surgeries performed in very sick patients," explains Dr. Casarella. "At the time, everyone thought we were crazy for devising such techniques, but now these applications are used daily in cardiology, vascular surgery and neurosurgery."
Dr. Casarella has also been involved in a number of radiology societies throughout the years. In 2000, he served as president of the ARRS. In 1998, he held a two-year term as president of the American Board of Radiology and has been a member for more than 10 years. He was also a founding member and president of the Society of Cardiovascular Radiology, which started with 12 members in the 1970s. Today, the organization, now called the Society of Interventional Radiology, is 5000 members strong. Dr. Casarella received the Gold Medal from that society, as well.
While Dr. Casarella's long history in the field of radiology shows his incredible expertise, scientific knowledge, teaching skills and leadership qualities, he still says his greatest endeavors come outside of the hospital. "My greatest accomplishments are my family; a loving wife - Kay Vydareny, MD, professor of radiology at Emory, five children together and eight wonderful grandchildren," Dr. Casarella remarks. "They are my pride and joy."