I Enjoy Being a Detective

I chose the specialty of radiology, and subsequently diagnostic ultrasound, because I enjoy the “detective” aspect of medicine. It is exciting to use diagnostic imaging to attempt to determine the cause of a patient’s illness. Obstetrical ultrasound has been of interest because most pregnant patients are healthy and happy and one always got an answer, whether right or wrong, 20-30 weeks hence.

I began my career in ultrasound in 1976 joining Dr. Roy Filly at UCSF. He and I are still practicing (perhaps the longest pair in academic medicine). The early days of arguing whether it was better to view images as white on a black background or black on a white background and whether static articulated arm scanning was better than “real-time scanning” are long gone, replaced by incredible technology.

Peter CallenThe pitfalls of image analysis has been a curiosity of mine. I have always been intrigued as to how one looks at a series of images and achieves the right (or occasionally wrong) conclusion. I am thrilled that most medical centers are introducing diagnostic ultrasound to medical student teaching early in their training. This has helped generate a lot of awareness and better understanding of our specialty. I am proud to have been a member of our organization, the AIUM. While there are some that only know the AIUM for its guidelines, it has served as a strong core of support for our specialty for the past several decades with support and advice to and from ultrasound professionals, including physicians, sonographers, scientists, engineers, other healthcare providers, and manufacturers of ultrasound equipment. This award is especially meaningful to me to be included with the true founders and leaders of our specialty.

What is your story? Why did you start using ultrasound? Comment below or let us know on Twitter: @AIUM_Ultrasound.

Dr Peter Callen received the 2015 Joseph H. Holmes Clinical Pioneer Award from the AIUM. Dr Callen’s contributions span decades and he is currently Emeritus Professor of Radiology, Obstetrics, and Gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco.

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