2020 Year in Review: Overcoming Challenges and Celebrating Accomplishments

2020 was historic and challenging! Years from now, we expect that history books will depict and analyze the pandemic and COVID-19, racial reckonings, political unrest and transition. As this history of 2020 is being written, the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging would like to take a moment to recognize this year’s highlights in service, patient care, research and education as well as the many department members who advocate for racial justice. In no way can we summarize, in just a few words, all of the contributions from our faculty, trainees, researchers, and staff along with the many (there really are many!) accolades and triumphs through the year. Here are some reflections and celebrations as we welcome 2021.


In 2020, Sharmila Majumdar, PhD, vice chair of research, became chair of the UCSF Academic Senate, an appointment she will hold for two years. In this role, Dr. Majumdar participates in meetings of the chancellor, vice chancellors and deans and represents UCSF at all statewide meetings of the Academic Assembly and the Academic Council. As the UCSF School of Medicine navigated new ground this year in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, her leadership was key.

We are grateful to Matthew Bucknor, MD, associate chair for wellbeing and professional climate, for his leadership this year in the areas of diversity and inclusion, interconnectedness and work-life balance in the department. His guidance was essential in providing resources to help department members cope with the stresses of 2020.

Furthering the department’s culture of diversity and academic excellence, Tatiana Kelil, MD, an assistant professor in breast imaging, was named a 2020-2021 John A. Watson Scholar by the UCSF School of Medicine. Dr. Kelil has mentored countless medical students and residents and is the associate program manager for the nonprofit organization RAD-AID Ethiopia. She has also established a RAD-AID chapter at UCSF.

On a global level, Bhavya Rehani, MD, assistant professor and co-founder of Health4TheWorld, continued to lead efforts to provide medical education to underserved areas while also working to provide PPE to underserved clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic. For her work, Dr. Rehani received the 2020 UCSF Chancellor Award for public service and was selected as a keynote speaker at the 2020 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) virtual meeting.

We would like to acknowledge Christine Glastonbury, MBBS, vice chair, academic affairs for her leadership in supporting our department’s faculty through strong Academic Affairs programs and initiatives. Assistant professors Priyanka Jha, MBBS, and Kimberly Kallianos, MD along with Dr. Glastonbury, were recipients of the UCSF Chancellor Fund Needs and Enrichment Award to support a series of talks raising awareness of unique circumstances faced by women faculty and trainees. In 2020 we saw two successful events developed by RadWomen UCSF with this supportive funding – the Inaugural UC-wide Radiology Grand Rounds on “Women in Medicine” held in September and a webinar with invited speaker Miriam Bredella, MD of Harvard University, "Impact of COVID-19 on Women in Academia: What Can We Do?" held in November.

Professor Miles Conrad, MD, MPH, was selected as a UCSF School of Medicine coach this year. In this role, he provides advice, assistance, and encouragement in all aspects of education and professional development to a cohort of six medical students based at the ZSFG Radiology site. His service and that of all School of Medicine coaches is an important foundation for UCSF medical students.

Patient Care

In a time full of uncertainty, we remained dedicated to providing care with compassion while also keeping staff and patients safe. Early on in the pandemic, Pallav Kolli, MD, associate chair for quality and safety, played a key role in COVID-19 preparedness work for radiology.

Through observances such as Nurses Week, Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, National Radiologic Technology Week and Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Week, we were able to take the time to celebrate UCSF Medical Center Radiology staff - essential workers who provided essential services to our patients during the past year.

Providing better access to care continues to be paramount. This fall, breast imaging services became available at the Berkeley Outpatient Center, led by associate professor Kimberly Ray, MD, who rejoined our faculty this year. 

In October, Dr. Matthew Bucknor received the Andrew J. Lockhart prize from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation for his significant contributions in the field of focused ultrasound cancer therapy. His work in the field of focused ultrasound will directly impact the care of cancer patients in the near term. 

DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses honors, recognizes and expresses appreciation for the amazing work that nurses do every day and we were pleased to learn that pediatric radiology nurse Lindsay Lawless, RN, was named a DAISY Nurse Award recipient this year.

We also would like to acknowledge Abraham Carillo, RT, a senior radiologic technologist, for his role in providing excellent care to our patients. His dedication earned him the 2020 Lanna Lee Award for outstanding technologist. As an exemplary medical administrative staff member, Gloria Gamit was this year’s Richard Sollitto, MD Awardee.  

Ronald L. Arenson, MD, former department chair, was honored with the RSNA’s 2020 Gold Medal for his leadership in the early implementation of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) in radiology to improve patient care.


It is impossible to mention all of the important research contributions made by faculty and staff at UCSF Radiology this year! Last year, we announced the opening of the UCSF Center for Intelligent Imaging (Ci2) to advance artificial intelligence (AI) in medical imaging. Read more about their featured and ongoing research projects talked about throughout the year.

Travis Henry, MD, acting chief of Cardiac and Pulmonary Imaging at UCSF Radiology, and Michael Hope, MD, chief of radiology at the SF VAMC have been very active in research and dialogue on CT imaging and COVID-19. Their recent research paper, written with first author Masis Isikbay, MD, PGY3 resident, used applied statistics for a practical diagnostic framework for negative COVID-19 results.

The 17th Annual Imaging Research Symposium was held virtually for the first time on October 14. Each year, the symposium is open to all in the UCSF and scientific communities to highlight the breadth and depth of innovative research being done in the department. Melanie Morrison, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, received the Bruce Hasegawa Award. Courtney Lawhn Heath, MD received the Rahul Desikan Award.

Thomas Hope, MD and the nuclear medicine team at UCSF and UCLA received great news to close out the year – U.S. FDA approval for prostate-specific membrane antigen PET imaging, or PSMA PET, a new imaging technique for prostate cancer.


Our diagnostic radiology residency program remains at the top! According to Doximity, our program is top-ranked in reputation and second-ranked in research output. Kudos to Soonmee Cha, MD (program director), Jason Talbott, MD (associate program director) and Jesse Courtier, MD and Preeti Sukerkar, MD, PhD (site directors) along with all the faculty and fellows that provide extraordinary teaching to our residents.


Our residents had a number of impressive presentations and a strong presence at the RSNA annual meeting this year, reflecting well upon the residency program. We would also like to acknowledge the recipient of the 2020 Cathy Garzio Award, Sandria Wong, coordinator, residency programs, for her outstanding service. 

UCSF Radiology clinical fellows authored outstanding research throughout the year. Back in June, we were able to virtually watch as Jae Ho Sohn, MD, MS, Kirti Magudia, MD, PhDMithun Diwakar, MD, PhD and Maya Vella, MD, NIBIB-funded T32 fellows, presented their year-long research investigation results.

We would also like to note our department’s pride in Dr. Glastonbury being named a 2020 RSNA Honored Educator.

Again, these are just a few highlights from a very eventful, unpredictable and challenging year. You’re invited to scroll through our blog posts for more 2020 announcements, news and notes. Happy New Year and best wishes in 2021!


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