Popular Swiss chest specialist receives prestigious SFR award

January 11, 2011

The Society of French Radiology has bestowed its prestigious Antoine Béclère Medal on Prof. Pierre Schnyder, the former head of radiology at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Society of French Radiology has bestowed its prestigious Antoine Béclère Medal on Prof. Pierre Schnyder, the former head of radiology at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland. The annual award is named after the pioneering French radiologist who developed the first radiology lab in Paris in 1897.

In his 20 years at Lausanne, Schnyder built up strong links with France through collaborative work and by creating positions to train French radiologists, many of who lead radiology departments today.

“If I merit this great honor, then there are many others who have helped me who deserve this recognition, so I accept this medal for them as well,” he said.

Schnyder, the former chair of the European Society of Radiology’s education committee, then offered some cautious advice about the need for greater efforts to recruit and retain radiologists.

“Keeping the best brains in the university setting is essential to be successful in research, and in France it is an enormous problem at the moment because radiologists are poorly paid, poorly recognized, and simply leaving,” he said.

Schnyder advocates an aggressive stance on turf battles, and has expressed his controversial views in past editions of Diagnostic Imaging Europe. His own legacy of fighting and winning turf battles is the research platform he built that links the university hospital with the Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne. The opportunity to conduct pioneering work, and a public pay scale that comes within 20% of the private sector, has kept radiologists within the university system.

“I am glad to leave the university structure myself at this point because there is a need for new blood,” said Schnyder, who has enjoyed working in a private clinic in his first year of retirement. “I also have this big motorcycle that I like to ride all over Europe, taking off for three or four days at a time.”

Journées Françaises de Radiologie, the SFR’s annual congress, at which the Béclère medal is awarded, drew a record participation this year of more than 18,000 determined delegates, who each day navigated a strike-bound Paris to attend scientific sessions. In comparison, the more famous but less strong-hearted Lady Gaga was forced to cancel her rock concert at a location close to the congress venue.