February 7, 1996
Media Contact: Marc Kusintz
Phone: (410) 955-8665
E-mail: mkusinitz@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., has been named director of the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences by The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A pioneer in advanced imaging techniques using computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), he has received several national awards and delivered the keynote speech at the Radiological Society of North America meeting recently. His work in the development of new MRI techniques for studying heart function has generated more than 40 publications and over 50 presentations at major radiology meetings in the United States since 1990.

Zerhouni's focus will be to transform radiology from being a provider of specific tests to being a consultant for primary care and specialty physicians and an advocate for proactive screening for specific diseases.

"I'm in the process of trying to reinvent the role of radiology in medicine," Zerhouni says. "If we want to adapt to the new health care environment, we can't do the same things with less money. With the evolution to managed care, we'll have to take care of a larger population. The challenge to radiology is to be proactive with the care of a growing population, for example, through early screening for cancer to reduce long-term costs."

As part of this strategy, Zerhouni is developing new technologies that combine radiology with endoscopy to enhance the diagnostic value of imaging, and facilitate early identification of disease. He is directing development of a computer-enhanced, three-dimensional, diagnostic MRI technique that promises to replace the expensive two-day regimen of cardiac diagnostic testing with a one-hour MRI scan.

"I would like to develop a one-stop shop approach to cardiac disease that will revolutionize cardiac testing.If we can make proactive screening for heart diseases cheap and rapid enough with radiology, then, combined with genetic techniques, we could identify individuals mostly likely to get cardiac disease."

Zerhouni was born and educated in Algeria, graduating magna cum laude from the School of Medicine, University of Algiers in 1975. He came to Johns Hopkins in 1975 to train in diagnostic radiology, becoming chief resident in the department in 1978, and assistant professor in 1979.

He left Hopkins to join the faculty of the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. in 1981, and rejoined the Hopkins faculty in 1985 as co-director of the divisions of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging until 1988, when he was named director of the magnetic resonance imaging division, which he developed into a highly successful funded research division. He attained the rank of professor in 1992.

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