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Q&A with Dr. Vasken Dilsizian, 2019-2020 president for SNMMI

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 18, 2019
Dr. Vasken Dilsizian
From the June 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The annual SNMMI meeting takes place this year June 22-25 in Anaheim, California. As is tradition, HealthCare Business News spoke with incoming SNMMI President Dr. Vasken Dilsizian about the state of the society. Dilsizian is a professor of medicine and radiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is the chief, division of nuclear medicine, in the department of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Dilsizian provided some more information on his professional background and then news about the happenings at SNMMI.

HCB News: What inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?
Dr. Vasken Dilsizian: While studying chemical engineering at Tufts University, I really enjoyed physical and organic chemistry. I became fascinated by membrane separation technology, crystallization, and fluid dynamics. I wanted to apply the knowledge I obtained in chemical engineering to understanding human physiology. I applied and was accepted at Tufts University School of Medicine, the first in my family to become a physician.

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HCB News: How did you get involved with SNMMI?
VD: It was rather an unconventional and less travelled pathway. I completed my residency training in internal medicine at Georgetown University Hospital and my fellowship in cardiology at Boston University Medical Center and Boston City Hospital. This was followed by an additional year of nuclear cardiology fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. My research endeavors in myocardial viability at the MGH led me to the NIH in Bethesda, where I became a clinical investigator in the cardiology branch of NHLBI and subsequently the director of nuclear cardiology from 1992 to 2001.

While conducting myocardial viability studies using thallium reinjection and FDG PET in patients undergoing coronary artery revascularization, I discovered the captivating field of nuclear medicine at the NIH. In order to be an independent senior investigator and an authorized user of radiopharmaceuticals in my research protocols, I pursued additional residency training in nuclear medicine within the Clinical Center of the NIH. When I became a diplomate of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine, I immediately joined the SNMMI and became an active member within the cardiovascular council. I was elected by my peers to serve as the president of the Cardiovascular Council, and I was subsequently nominated and elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the SNMMI, which led to my current post of incoming president of the society.

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