October 2018

On October 15, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) awarded the 2018 David Rall Medal to Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Radiology of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Having graduated from the University of Zagreb, Prof. Hricak is the first ever foreign graduate to receive the award, and joins a list of highly distinguished health care professionals and policy makers.

The medal is awarded each year to a NAM member who has demonstrated distinguished leadership as chair of a study committee or other National Academies activities, showing commitment above and beyond the usual responsibilities of the position.

Since her election in 2002, Hricak has made numerous valuable contributions to the activities and efforts of the NAM and National Academies through her service as chair or member of several committees and symposia, including the NAM Membership Committee from 2007-2011, the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board from 2008-2013, and a 2009 symposium focused on radiation exposure from imaging and image-guided interventions. Her contributions to reports of the National Academies, whether on committees or as a reviewer, are numerous and noteworthy and have examined a variety of topics, such as nuclear medicine, cancer clinical trials, radiation from medical diagnostic procedures, and diagnostic error in medicine.  Under Hricak’s leadership as chair, the Committee on State of the Science in Nuclear Medicine produced a frequently cited report in 2007, Advancing Nuclear Medicine Through Innovation, which contained five strong recommendations, most of which have since been carried out.  She has shown commitment, courage and strong leadership when tackling difficult issues, such as calling for an end to US exports of enriched uranium, working towards an increase of regulations on medical radiation exposure and addressing problems with diagnostic errors. Her ability to unite committee members on these tough issues has been visionary.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and serving on NAM committees has been a privilege beyond words,” Prof. Hricak says. “With each assignment, I have treasured the opportunity to learn, make new friends, and work with the most efficient, brilliant, and pleasant staff imaginable. It has been an unforgettable experience.”

Prof. Hricak has been the Chair of the Department of Radiology of MSKCC since 1999. She holds honorary doctorates from both Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany and University of Toulouse III, Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. For her research accomplishments and her efforts to promote international collaboration and education in oncologic imaging, she has won numerous awards, including honorary memberships or fellowships in fourteen international radiological societies.

The NAM is one of three institutes that make up the National Academies, which also include the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. It provides expert advice on science and medicine to national and international organizations. To learn more about the David Rall Medal, please visit the National Academy of Medicine.

As a Gold Medallist and Honorary Member of the European Society of Radiology, as well as a lifetime friend of the society, we congratulate Prof. Hricak on this outstanding achievement.