Montefiore in the News
Judy Yee, MD, FACR Receives Gold Medal Honors from the Society of Abdominal Radiology
- August 24, 2022
Well known for her education and advocacy on the use of computed tomography (CT) colonography for colorectal cancer screening, Dr. Yee is also widely recognized for her leadership, mentoring skills and being a champion for diversity in the field of radiology.
Recognizing a lifetime of service and commitment to the mission and values of the organization, the Society of Abdominal Radiology (SAR) has bestowed its Gold Medal honors on Judy Yee, M.D., FACR, the chair of the Department of Radiology at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
A past president of SAR, Dr. Yee has been a staunch advocate for the use of computed tomography (CT) colonography in screening for colorectal cancer and led a successful initiative to have CTC recognized as a recommended screening test by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). Dr. Yee also serves as a councilor on the board of the Society of Chairs in Academic Radiology Departments (SCARD) and is a member of the steering committee for the SCARD GE Healthcare LEAD executive leadership program for women.
Dr. Yee also chairs SAR’s Corporate Support Committee and had led SAR’s multivendor course on CTC for nearly two decades. She noted that helping to develop and disseminate CTC played a key role in the evolution of her career growth. Dr. Yee recalled learning about CTC at one of the first SAR meetings she attended and being inspired to start performing research on CTC. She said receiving the Gold Medal honor from SAR is particularly meaningful for her.
“Through SAR workshops, committees and then being on the Board of Directors and as a past president, I have met outstanding collaborators, worked with extremely talented faculty, and have made many friends for life,” said Dr. Yee. “To be formally recognized by the society and so many of my colleagues for whom I have tremendous respect means a lot to me.”
Dr. Yee says SAR has made many strides over the years and has achieved significant membership growth, including an influx of residents, fellows, and medical students. The society offers early career resources as well as specific programming at its annual conference to help develop the next generation of abdominal imaging specialists and interventionalists, according to Dr. Yee. She also points out that SAR has made noticeable inroads with diversity at all levels of the organization.
“It is now common to find diversity in plenary speakers, panels, committees, and even on the board,” noted Dr. Yee. “The SAR Committee on DEI has done a great job helping to ensure that all are welcome.”
Dr. Yee has also offered a welcoming hand to many colleagues, who praised her as a key mentor in their careers. Joel Fletcher, M.D., a past president of SAR, said he was “beyond thrilled” to hear about the SAR Gold Medal honors for Dr. Yee, whom he credits for “lifting, encouraging, cajoling, teaching, advocating for and giving opportunities to” many radiologists in the field.
“I recall seeing all of the younger radiologists around Dr. Yee at (the) SAR (meeting) last year and realizing the scope of her mentorship and encouragement,” noted Dr. Fletcher, who is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “I am so grateful for the encouragement and opportunities she has given me. They have really been life-changing and provided an opportunity for lots of joy, contribution, and connection. I know that I would not have been seriously considered for opportunities without Dr. Yee’s advocacy.”
Ghaneh Fananapazir, M.D., said Dr. Yee played an “absolutely instrumental” role in advancing his academic career. He recalled meeting Dr. Yee at a dinner after she had delivered a grand rounds presentation at the University of California, Davis (UC-Davis), and how generous she was in spending time with the young faculty members in attendance.
“During the course of the dinner, she made sure she had connected each one of us with the next step we needed to pursue in our career. She told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to go to (the) SAR (meeting) and that she would connect me with the society,” noted Dr. Fananapazir, an associate professor of radiology at UC-Davis. “It was the best advice I had received, and with her help navigating the society, it brought me a whole new appreciation for academic medicine and a network of friends. Judy has always been, to me, a connector, and I will be forever grateful to her for taking the time to speak with and mentor me, a nobody, someone she had just met.”
Florence Doo, M.D., called Dr. Yee a “fantastic mentor” and role model.
“(Dr. Yee) has been a tireless clinician advocate both in and out of the reading room, for example, popularizing CT colonography and impacting countless patients, and speaking up for diversity and leadership,” emphasized Dr. Doo, a chief fellow within the Department of Radiology at Stanford University. “Her visionary work is felt locally and nationally at Montefiore, the New York State Radiological Society (NYSRS), SAR, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and beyond. Thank you, Dr. Yee, for always lifting others up.”
Dr. Yee said she had terrific mentors in her career. During her time at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Yee noted that Hank Goldberg, M.D., a past president of the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiology (SGR), was generous with his wisdom and genuine support.
“He always encouraged me to pursue high-level research and to participate in activities outside of my comfort zone so that I could ‘stretch my talents,’” recalled Dr. Yee.
She also credited Richard Baron, M.D., another past president of SAR, as being a key mentor and sponsor.
“He recommended me for key committees where I gained experience and was able to network,” noted Dr. Yee. “As a new member of a committee, I remember he would always specifically ask me for my opinion to make sure that I had a voice.”
For those considering a career in radiology and young radiologist just starting to forge a path in the field, Dr. Yee emphasized the value of networking and embracing a variety of opportunities.
“Early in your career, it’s important to be open to experiencing different opportunities presented to you as you find your passion and develop your niche. Be selective about finding great mentors and sponsors along your career path who will provide personalized advice and help you achieve your goals,” suggested Dr. Yee. “It’s also never too early to start to develop a wide professional network from both inside and outside your department and institution. Finally, as you succeed in your goals, pay it forward!”
Dr. Yee and fellow SAR Gold Medal honorees Mark Baker, M.D., and Cooky (Christine) Menias, M.D. will receive their awards on March 2, 2023 during the SAR Annual Meeting, which will be held February 26 to March 3, 2023 in Austin, Tx.