2019 Flaherty Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

The Wisconsin Radiological Society presented the 2019 Flaherty Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Patrick Turski, MD, FACR during the 70th Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 13th, 2019 at The American Club Resort in Kohler, Wisconsin. Dr. Turski is the fifth recipient of this award, joining Dr. Timothy T. Flaherty, MD, FACR, Dr. James E. Youker, MD, FACR, Dr. Andrew B. Crummy, MD, FACR, Dr. J. Frank Wilson, M.D., FACR, FASTRO and Dr. Paul A. Larson, M.D., FACR.

Dr. Turski was born in East St. Louis, Illinois in August 1950. He attended Assumption High School and fondly recalled his favorite summer job unloading refrigerator trucks. “Going between the below zero temperatures of the freezer truck, into the hot Illinois summer, and back into the storage freezer was quite an invigorating experience,” Patrick recalled. He remained in Illinois for undergrad at the University of Illinois where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Chemistry. In addition he was named an Edmund James Scholar during his time as a Fighting Illini. 

For medical school Patrick moved to Chicago where he attended Rush Medical College. He chose medicine because he enjoyed the challenge of patient care and wanted a career that could make a difference in peoples’ lives. Early in his training Dr. Turski realized the power of medical imaging. “Modalities such as CT and MRA provide the most objective and accurate information in medicine,” Patrick remarked. 

Internship and Residency were completed at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in Madison. While an intern he met Dr. Joe Sackett, a neuroradiologist who introduced Patrick to the field and convinced him to pursue this as a career. In addition Dr. Charlie Strother, one of the pioneers of interventional neuroradiology, also demonstrated the value of endovascular therapy to Pat. Neuroradiology fellowship was completed at the University of California in San Francisco. Fellowship program director, Dr. T. Han Newton strongly encouraged Dr. Turski to excel in the field and was noted as one of Patrick’s significant mentors. In addition, while a fellow, he was awarded a neuroradiology Research Fellow Grant at the Centre International des Etudiants Medecins Paris France, under the supervision of Dr J. Vignaud in Paris and Dr. G. Salomon in Marseilles from July-Dec 1980. 

Following fellowship Pat returned to the University of Wisconsin where he spent the remainder of his career. One of the things that drew Patrick back to Wisconsin was the strong vascular imaging research program led by Medical Physicist Chuck Mistretta, PhD. During his 37 years in Madison Dr. Turski accomplished a great deal. From 1986-93 he was named the Chief of MRI, from 1993-96 he was the Division Chief of Neuroradiology, and from 1995-2005 he was the John Juhl Professor and Chairman of the Department of Radiology. During his career Dr. Turski has written 150 peer reviewed articles, 25 book chapters, 1 monograph on MRA, 1 book on MRA, and has been invited as a lecturer to meetings across the globe. 

In addition to his career and academic achievements Dr. Turski has also been involved with the WRS, ACR, and other professional organizations. The WRS has been fortunate to have Patrick as a member since 1984 and it’s President in 2003. Within the ACR Dr. Turski was recruited by Dr. Arliss Pollack to work on the first CPT codes for MRA in the early 1990s. Through both the ASNR and ACR he worked on these and other codes and wound up being chair of the ASNR Heath Economics committee for 7 years. Ultimately the MRA codes were presented to the RUC and CMS and have been in effect ever since, largely unchanged since their adoption. In addition he was the ASNR representative to the ACR commission on neuroradiology and drafted the ACR Standards & Guidelines for MRA of the head and neck. Of note Patrick has been involved in the last 3 revisions of these documents. 

Since retiring Pat and his wife Deborah, a pathologist, have decided to spend the winters in Tucson, AZ. The 4 seasons of golf were a big draw. In addition to golf Patrick enjoys tennis, blues guitar, and sailing on Lake Mendota. They have two grown children, Michael who is an Attorney working in Chicago and Megan who works for Tekada Pharmaceuticals in La Jolla, CA. 

(Left to right) Dr. Paul A. Larson, M.D., FACR, Dr. Timothy T. Flaherty, MD, FACR, Dr. Patrick Turski, MD, FACR and Dr. Andrew B. Crummy, MD, FACR.