• Cancer

    Dr. J. William Charboneau receives lifetime achievement award

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CHICAGO — For J. William Charboneau, M.D., life is a journey of unknown possibilities, filled with family. And Tuesday, Nov. 28, with family both personal and professional by his side and in the audience, Dr. Charboneau’s journey reached another destination.

Read more about Dr. Charboneau's atypical route to pioneering radiologist here.

Dr. Charboneau, an emeritus professor of radiology at Mayo Clinic, thanked those family members — his wife, colleagues, friends, protégés and mentors — as he received the 2017 Gold Medal from the Radiological Society of North America at its 103rd Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago. The Radiological Society of North America Board of Directors determines Gold Medal winners, who must receive a unanimous vote. Considered the Radiological Society of North America's highest honor, the medal is given to “those persons who, in the judgment of the board, have rendered unusual service to the science of radiology.”

Especially meaningful for Dr. Charboneau was the award’s presenter, Richard Ehman, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist at Mayo Clinic and current president of the Radiological Society of North America board of directors.

Dr. Ehman has been one of those family members and an esteemed colleague.

Photo of Dr. J. William Charboneau and award

“In so many ways, we have a family in radiology, and you can sense it in the room. We all pick up wherever we were in the conversation of the past,” Dr. Charboneau says. “This is a family story that’s playing out.”

Receiving the Gold Medal is an honor ─ one that is both humbling and gratifying, Dr. Charboneau says.

“Being recognized by one’s peers in this way is both a high honor and it’s a very precious thing,” Dr. Charboneau says. “I feel gratitude to the society for selecting me for the award. It’s clearly the highlight of my professional career ─ a moment I will always highlight and cherish. I also feel gratitude for the team at Mayo that made this possible and the colleagues worldwide, where we all work together. I share this award with these collaborators, with these co-workers, with these colleagues throughout the world. While I’m getting the Gold Medal, it’s really about us. It’s a story about us, and I thank them for that work that we all did together.”

Dr. Ehman says the Gold Medal recognizes Dr. Charboneau’s role as a leading authority in diagnostic ultrasound and a pioneer in image-guided treatment of cancers of liver, kidney, lung and bone. This is not the first time that the Radiological Society of North America has recognized the importance of Dr. Charboneau’s work and the benefits to patients worldwide. In 2006, the society asked him to present the New Horizons Lecture, titled, “Image-Guided Cancer Treatment: The Science and Vision of an Emerging Field,” which reflected his role in advancing a new discipline, interventional oncology. This discipline seeks out cancer treatment options beyond surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

“He is a world-renowned clinician, educator and visionary who helped translate many advanced applications of imaging and intervention,” Dr. Ehman says. “His innovations, leadership and advocacy were instrumental in the introduction and adoption of image-guided percutaneous tumor ablation.”

“Thank you to my colleagues,” he adds. “I’ve been so fortunate to have such good friends and colleagues over the years. I literally could not wait to come in each day with each of them, and I thank them for being such terrific co-workers and colleagues. … We radiologists value the friendship and collegiality at great meetings like this one. We value the sharing of ideas and the learning from one another that occurs at this meeting.

“To the young people in the audience, I would love to be in your shoes right now. Because the opportunities you have in imaging and image-guided intervention are incredible, and I know you are going to find this a wonderfully dynamic and engaging medical specialty, and you definitely made the right choice in picking radiology. I would pick it again in a heartbeat.”


About Mayo Clinic
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Ethan Grove, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, 

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