Etta D. Pisano, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs, MUSC
Dean of the College of Medicine, MUSC
Dr. Etta Pisano joined the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) as Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine on July 1, 2010. Prior to accepting the position at MUSC, Etta served as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, Kenan Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, Director of the UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center, and Director of the N.C. Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute. She is an expert in breast cancer imaging and, from 1989 to 2005, she served as the Chief of Breast Imaging at UNC Hospitals. Her undergraduate degree in Philosophy is from Dartmouth College and her medical degree is from Duke University. Etta’s professional interests center around the development, application and testing of imaging technology for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer and other breast problems.
Etta was born in New York City and was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After completing a rotating internship in a community-based program in Pensacola, Florida, she completed her radiology residency at Beth Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School. After her residency, she spent a year as Chief of Breast Imaging and Instructor in Radiology at the same institution. She is a Past President of the Association of University Radiologists and the American Association for Women Radiologists.
Her landmark study on digital breast imaging, DMIST, the results of which were published in 2005 in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that digital mammography could detect breast cancer in young women better than film mammography. Etta was awarded one of the first Ladies’ Home Journal Health Breakthrough Awards. In 2003, she was appointed the first Director of the UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center, a core facility that develops and commercializes new imaging technologies. She successfully raised over $20 million from private donors, industry and the university to support its activities. In 2008 she was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She is a recipient of the Gold Medal from the Association of University Radiologists (2010) and the American Roentgen Ray Society (2012), and of the Alice Ettinger Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Association for Women Radiologists (2012). At MUSC, Etta has received the MUSC Women Scholars Faculty Advancement Award (2012) and the MUSC Earl B. Higgins Diversity Award (2013). Etta received the National Women’s History Museum Helen Taussig Living Legacy Award in 2013.
She co-founded her own company, NextRay, Inc, which will commercialize a device she and the other cofounders 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. This will be most important to children and young adults, and young women undergoing breast cancer screening.
Her husband, Jan Kylstra, is on the faculty at MUSC; he is an ophthalmologist with a subspecialty in retina. They met as Dartmouth undergraduates and attended Duke together. They have four children, two girls and two boys. Their hobbies include hiking, watersports, reading, and travel.