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The Catalyst

Medicine dean, VP for medical affairs set to step down

By Mikie Hayes
Public Relations

Etta D. Pisano, M.D., dean of the MUSC College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs will be stepping down from these roles at the end of September and beginning a year–long sabbatical. Pisano, a tenured professor of Radiology, will continue her breast cancer imaging research during the coming year.

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

Pisano co–founded her own company, NextRay, Inc. She was part of a team that invented a technology which creates medical images using X–rays through diffraction enhanced imaging which provides superior image quality at a dose that is substantially lower than is currently available.  

As the first woman dean of the College of Medicine, Pisano brought her own brand of leadership and passion to the role. During her time at MUSC, she was honored with numerous prestigious awards, including an induction into the National Women’s History Museum as a winner of the Helen Taussig Living Legacy Award for her groundbreaking work in breast cancer screening. She also received the MUSC Earl B. Higgins Diversity Award and the MUSC Women’s Scholar Initiative Advancement of Women Faculty Award.  

Pisano is a past president of the Association of University Radiologists and the American Association for Women Radiologists. She is a recipient of the Gold Medal from the Association of University Radiologists and the American Roentgen Ray Society, and she received the Alice Ettinger Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Association for Women Radiologists. She was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Recently, she received a $650,000 grant from the National Sciences Foundation to improve support for women scientists at MUSC, the first grant of its kind to a medical school.

MUSC President David Cole, M.D., FACS, said of Pisano: “I am grateful for the dedication she has shown our students, faculty and staff. Her leadership played a major role in many of the college’s successes in recent years. MUSC is better prepared for the future because of her efforts.”

Pisano, who joined MUSC in July 2010, called Cole an “outstanding leader and a man of great integrity.” She added, “I am grateful to have worked with all of the dedicated and hard-working professionals at MUSC, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together.”


September 12, 2014



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