Former chair of radiology dies at 61

Oct. 19, 2011, 2:02 a.m.

Gary Glazer, professor of diagnostic radiology, died on Oct. 16 after a long battle with prostate cancer, according to a statement on the School of Medicine’s website. He was 61.

Glazer had been the chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology for more than 20 years before stepping down last August. He joined Stanford’s faculty in 1989 to head up the newly formed department, which had been separated from the Department of Radiology Oncology three years earlier.

His leadership resulted in the department becoming “one of the most innovative and influential scientific-imaging centers in the United States and in the world,” according to Hedvig Hricak, former president of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), in a 2009 University statement when Glazer was a recipient of the organization’s Gold Medal. RSNA gives the award annually to no more than three individuals who have strongly contributed to the field of radiology.

Glazer also won the Gold Medal from the Association of University Radiologists in 2011, making him one of only 21 radiologists ever to achieve both distinctions.

During his term as chair, Glazer oversaw many of the Department of Radiology’s expansions, such as the completion of the Richard M. Lucas Center for Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging in 1992 and the expansion of the Lucas Center in 2005. He also saw the department’s faculty grow from 20 members when he arrived in 1989 to more than 400 in 2009.

He pushed the department to take a more patient-centered approach to radiology, according to the University statement. This goal manifested itself physically when he helped to supervise the design of the Stanford Medicine Imaging Center, which opened in Palo Alto in 2008 and was designed to help facilitate radiologist-patient interactions.

Glazer was born in 1950 in Cleveland, where his father was also a radiologist and his mother was a nurse. He attributed his parents’ professors to part of the reason why he decided to pursue a career in health care in the 2009 statement.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and medical degree at Case Western Reserve University. He was a faculty member at University of California-San Francisco and the University of Michigan before coming to Stanford.

“Gary worked relentlessly to build a great department by lobbying for significant resources from the hospitals, the medical school and from industry,” said Sanjiv Gambhir, the current chair of Department of Radiology, in the University statement. “He was known for his great passion for the field, extremely strong negotiation skills and for rarely giving up on any issue he championed. He would never take no for an answer.”

A funeral service was held in honor of Glazer on Tuesday.

– Kurt Chirbas


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