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Medicine dean receives Living Legend honor


College of Medicine Dean Dr. Etta Pisano, second from left, joins 2013 honorees of the Third Annual de Pizan Honors Living Legends Award. With Pisano is, from left, Denyce Graves (opera singer), Phylicia Rashad (entertainer), and Joan Bradley Wages (National Women’s History Museum president and CEO). Not pictured are honorees Sally Jewell (Secretary of the Interior) and Ken Burns (documentary filmmaker).   Photo provided

Breast cancer screening radiologist Etta D. Pisano, M.D., was recognized among five honorees for their historic achievements with the Third Annual de Pizan Honors held Oct. 9 at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C. The awards are sponsored by the National Women’s History Museum.

Pisano, who is dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for Medical Affairs, joined Denyce Graves, a mezzo-soprano opera singer; Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior; Phylicia Rashad, entertainer; and Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker; as a 2013 Living Legend honoree.

“To be recognized for your life’s work with the Dr. Helen Taussig Living Legacy Award by an organization like the National Women’s History Museum is, to say the least, humbling. It serves as an inspiration as we continue to advance breast imaging research and it provides a moment to pause and recognize women pioneers in medicine like Dr. Taussig, who forever changed our place in this field,” Pisano said.

Pisano joined MUSC in July 2010 and was former vice dean for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, director of UNC’s Biomedical Research Imaging Center and the Kenan Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering.

Her life’s work has focused on the development and testing of imaging technology for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. She is widely known for serving as principal investigator of the largest clinical trial ever run by a radiologist. The Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial enrolled nearly 50,000 women in a study comparing digital to film mammography, the results of which were published in 2005 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A champion of diversity, mentoring and work-life balance, Pisano is a mother of four and one of only about a dozen women medical school deans in the country. She is the first at MUSC.

October 25, 2013

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