Radiology Lifetime Achievement 2016: Elliot Fishman, MD

December 13, 2016

One of the winners of the Lifetime Achievement category for Top People in Radiology 2016: Elliot Fishman, MD.

For the Top People in Radiology 2016 contest, Diagnostic Imaging (DI) honors a career radiologist for his or her contributions to the advancement of radiology and how those activities have improved the industry.

This year, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Elliot Fishman, MD, director of body imaging and CT at Johns Hopkins Medicine. DI talked to him about his career accomplishments and what he still wants to accomplish going forward.

DI: What has been your greatest accomplishment throughout your career?

Fishman: My greatest accomplishment is that I’ve tried to maintain a standard of excellence throughout my career, as well as an interest in learning new things and moving forward. That hasn’t changed. I’ve maintained that curiosity and continued to improve.

DI: What would you consider to be y[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"55276","attributes":{"alt":"Elliot Fishman, MD","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_2704304798553","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"6919","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 220px; width: 170px; float: right;","title":"Elliot Fishman, MD","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]our biggest challenge?

Fishman: The biggest challenge has been not to rest on my laurels. As you become senior faculty, you have to maintain a lot of things that made you very good as junior faculty. You need to work hard, and that doesn’t change with time. There’s a great tendency in people as they become more senior to take advantage of that seniority. It’s wonderful, but there are key things you must do – you need to keep starting anew and re-discovering things. In academia, you have to keep up with the reading and you have to be at the front end of leading, discovering, and research. There’s a human tendency to rest on your laurels. People can sit back and glide, and the challenge is to not do that and keep moving forward.

DI: What is an existing goal you have?

Fishman: I’m most excited about a project we started a few months ago. It’s a major deep learning project on imaging the pancreas. It involves oncology, radiology, pathology, and computer science here at Johns Hopkins. We’re working hard, but we’re just at the beginning. We’ve very excited because the project has tremendous potential. Everyone is learning about deep learning, and no one is an expert. But, we’re really committed to being successful in this area. The pancreas is a problem. The error rate in diagnosis is over 30%. Hopkins has always done a lot of work in this area from surgical to medical, so it’s a major focus for us. It’s something we’re known for. We have tremendous experience and people who are really good in this area from genetics through to treatment and imaging. It’s an area that we have a lot of skill in and are interested in.

DI: What is something you would like to see happen in the next 10 years?

Fishman: If you look, the challenge will be – with decreasing dollars and increasing workloads – to manage the combination of the need for more education and training with research and clinical care. How are we going to manage the tripartite mission? How will you do that in an era when clinical workload is becoming overwhelming? How will you manage to do all that? I think that’s the challenge of academia. In private practice, providers will work harder by reading more. But, in academic, we’re supposed to be discovering and training the residents. That’s what the challenge is going to be for us.