A Loss of Great Magnitude

Good-bye, Harvey Leonard Nisenbaum, MD

Head shot of Harvey Leonard Nisenbaum, MD, FACR, FAIUM, FSRU.

We have lost a leading expert in ultrasound education, AIUM Past President, Harvey Leonard Nisenbaum, MD, FACR, FAIUM, FSRU, who died on October 8, 2020.

Dr Nisenbaum was a leader in the field of ultrasound even just out of school, when, after completing his residency in diagnostic radiology at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, he became a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and served as the director of ultrasound at the former Naval Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia until 1976. That is when he joined the faculty of Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he became the head of the Ultrasound section, acting chairman of Einstein’s Department of Radiology, and president of the medical center’s staff.

Dr Nisenbaum couldn’t help but share what he knew to encourage the next generation of ultrasound advocates. And, in 1993, enabling him to connect with more students, he moved on to the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and, ultimately, chairman of the Department of Medical Imaging at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) from 2001 to 2018 and Emeritus Associate Professor CE of Radiology.

“Under his leadership, the Department introduced tremendous scientific advances in Medical Imaging into clinical practice and greatly expanded its contribution to the hospital’s mission.”

— Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

To honor his legacy, they will award the Harvey Nisenbaum Award for Medical Imaging Research at PPMC for the first time in 2021, which Dr Nisenbaum learned of before his passing. The award will recognize medical students, residents, and fellows who continue his legacy at the Department of Medical Imaging by creating new scientific intelligence through research. He had also earned a Special Dean’s Award for his help in developing and implementing the ultrasound curriculum for the Perelman School of Medicine.

Dr Nisenbaum was an active volunteer, he served on numerous committees, both at his hospital and for the many societies and organizations to which he was a member, including the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), which he joined in 1975. By 2009, he became President of the AIUM. During his tenure, donations to the Endowment for Education and Research to increased significantly, AIUM membership grew by 11%, and the online Career Center was launched as a new member benefit. Dr Nisenbaum was awarded the AIUM Presidential Recognition Award (twice; in 2006 and in 2012), and the Peter H. Arger, MD, Excellence in Medical Student Education Award (2020), which honors an individual whose outstanding contributions to the development of medical ultrasound education warrant special merit. Dr Nisenbaum earned this award for being instrumental in incorporating ultrasound into medical school curricula.

The Society of Ultrasound in Medical Education (SUSME), presented Dr Nisenbaum with the SUSME Legacy Award in 2013 for his outstanding contributions to ultrasound education. He served as president of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB; 2015–2017), during which time 3 Centers of Education were created, in Paraguay, Moldova, and Sudan. Following his presidency, in 2018, he took a year-long sabbatical to volunteer even more of his time organizing projects to bring ultrasound to underserved countries.

In addition to these worldwide contributions, Dr Nisenbaum was also a past-president of the Pennsylvania Radiological Society, the Philadelphia Roentgen Ray Society, and the Greater Delaware Valley Ultrasound Society.

Dr Nisenbaum’s enthusiasm for ultrasound education along with his vast well of ultrasound knowledge and his willingness to share it have influenced countless students, physicians, and other medical professionals. He will be sorely missed.

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