Chairman, Department of Radiology
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Since 2004 BCRF has provided funding to Dr. Hedvig Hricak, Chair of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) for the establishment of a world-class clinical research training program. This program “Global Applicability of the BI-RADS Lexicon to Mammographic Detection of Breast Cancer” was established in 2004 by Dr. Hricak and leadership from the Breast Imaging Service, Department of Radiology, MSKCC. Dr. Hricak’s team provides selected visiting radiologists who come to MSKCC from around the world with intensive, individualized instruction in breast imaging interpretation and clinical research methodology, including the use of the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) lexicon. The goal of the program is to: improve breast imaging interpretation; standardize the reporting of breast imaging studies; improve communication between radiologists and referring physicians; provide instruction in the latest advances in breast imaging technology; facilitate data collection for longitudinal breast imaging research, globally; and advance clinical practice abroad.
In 2012-2013, this program trained seven visiting radiologists from Australia, Croatia, India, Italy and Uruguay. These trainees included the program’s first radiologist participant from India and their first radiologist participant from Uruguay. The current grant-year trainees include two radiologists who were recruited through the prestigious European School of Radiology. The 2012-2013 grant-year in many ways is a shining year for this program as measured by their clinical research productivity and their comprehensive global outreach. Under the mentorship of Dr. Hricak and others at MSKCC, the 2012-2013 trainees have participated in 15 clinical research projects, submitted eight abstracts and three original research projects, which are currently under review.
Thus far, the program has trained radiologists from China, Croatia, India, Italy, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Uruguay. BCRF has been critical in providing the opportunity to cultivate a global program with global partners, which trains future leaders in breast imaging, all of whom have the same goal, which is to improve breast cancer patient outcomes, worldwide. In the tenth year of BCRF funding, Dr. Hricak will expand efforts in South America, which began in Uruguay in 2012-2013, to include a radiologist from Brazil.
In the 2013-2014 grant year, this program has trained or will train six visiting radiologists from five countries: China, Colombia, Germany, Italy and Uruguay. These individuals include the first radiologist participants from South America. Four of the six trainees were recruited through the prestigious European School of Radiology.
This year, two former trainees from Italy and India presented their clinical research projects at the 2013 RSNA meeting, the largest international radiology meeting in the world. In addition, Dr. Morris submitted an international educational grant in collaboration with a former BCRF trainee for an educational program in India in the field of breast imaging.
The researchers believe that the 2013-2014 grant year, the tenth, is a turning point for the program. Thanks to the generous support of BCRF they have been able to establish important connections in numerous countries and regions, including, as of this year, South America. These connections not only provide the most promising candidates for training, they also help to ensure the broad, long-term impact of the program. For example, thanks in part to the advocacy of one of the program’s former trainees from China, a new Chinese radiologist will receive funding from her home institution to participate in the program. The connections Dr. Hricak’s team has established, and their growth into larger networks, will facilitate dissemination of the knowledge acquired by trainees and will make possible global, longitudinal breast imaging research. With the support of local leaders, the exceptionally talented trainees can be expected to become leaders themselves, with the capacity to influence clinical practice and research as well as health policy relating to breast imaging.
Dr. Hricak is Chair of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She holds a senior position within the Program of Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, is a professor at Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and is a professor of radiology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She received her MD from the University of Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia and her doctorate from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2005 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in medicine from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. Before joining MSKCC, she was a professor of radiology, radiation oncology, urology and gynecology at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and headed the abdominal section of the Department of Radiology at UCSF Medical Center.
The focus of Dr. Hricak’s research is the development and validation of imaging biomarkers for improving the detection, diagnosis and evidence-based management of gynecological and genitourinary cancers. She and her group have developed applications of cross-sectional imaging techniques (e.g., ultrasound, MRI, CT) and as well as molecular imaging techniques (e.g., DCE-MRI, MR spectroscopy, and PET/CT and PET/MRI with innovative tracers).
Dr. Hricak is committed to promoting education in the field of imaging. She serves as the PI of the NIH/NCI R25T program “Molecular Imaging: Training for Oncology,"" as well as MSKCC co-PI of the training section of the CCNY-MKSCC U54 ET CURE Partnership grant for underrepresented undergraduate students. These grant-funded programs are preparing a new generation of researchers to apply advanced molecular imaging/nanotechnology to critical biological questions and clinical needs in oncology. Dr. Hricak is also involved in extensive international outreach efforts to improve imaging practice, research, and educational resources in developing countries.
Dr. Hricak is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Science. She serves as a member of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). She serves on the steering Committee, The Future of Advanced Nuclear Technologies: Building a Healthier and Safer Planet, National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) and are a Committee Chair, Institute of Medicine, and Committee on Research Directions in Human Biological Effects of Low Level Ionizing Radiation (AFRRI).
Dr. Hricak serves on committees and executive boards for a number of medical societies. She has served as the president of the California Academy of Medicine (1999), the Society for the Advancement of Women's Imaging (1997-1999), the Society of Uroradiology (2000-2003), and the New York Roentgen Society (2004-2005). In 2010, she served as the president of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and she is currently the president of the International Society for Strategic Studies in Radiology (ISSSR).
Dr. Hricak has authored or co-authored 367 peer-reviewed original research articles, 185 review/editorial articles, and 145 book chapters. She has given more than 130 named or keynote lectures and has been a visiting professor at more than 30 institutions worldwide. She has received numerous government-sponsored grants throughout her career.
Dr. Hricak is a "foreign" member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Russian Academy of Medical Science. She is a fellow of the American College of Radiology, the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the Society of Uroradiology, the International Cancer Imaging Society (ICIS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In recognition of her career accomplishments, she has received the Marie Curie Award of the American Association of Women Radiologists, the gold medals of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and the Association of University Radiologists, the European Society of Radiology (ESR) and the Asian Oceanian Society of Radiology. She also received the Béclère medal of the International Society of Radiology, the Morocco Medal of Merit, the Katarina Zrinska Croatian presidential award, the Schinz Medal of the Swiss Society of Radiology, and the Jean A Vezina French Canadian Award of Innovation. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists and an honorary member of the British Institute of Radiology, German Radiological Society, Austrian Roentgen Society, Croatian Society of Radiology, Journées Françaises de Radiologie, Swedish Society of Medical Radiology, Chinese Radiological Society, Japanese Radiological Society, Israel Radiological Association, Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, Swiss Society of Radiology and Sociedad Argentina de Radiología.