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Prof Richard Pitcher
October 12, 2023 @ 17:3018:30
Radiology in my lifetime – every day a new diagnostic dawn
In this inaugural lecture, Prof Richard Pitcher outlines the remarkable advances in diagnostic imaging that have evolved in his lifetime. He recounts the drama and serendipity of the developments that propelled radiological services into the mainstream of clinical care, providing insight into the people behind each new technology. He chronicles his journey through the rapidly unfolding radiological landscape and profiles key travelling companions. In describing the impact of radiology’s transformation on global access to imaging, Prof Pitcher also explains how this informed his research into radiological imperatives on the African continent.
Prof Richard Pitcher, a diagnostic radiologist, is the head of the Division of Radiodiagnosis and executive head of the Department of Medical Imaging and Clinical Oncology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU).
After completing his specialist training, he established a private radiology practice on the Cape West Coast (1991–2001) before embarking on an academic career. Prior to his SU appointment, he served as head of the Division of Paediatric Radiology at the Red Cross War Memorial Childrens’ Hospital and the University of Cape Town (2001–2009).
During his tenure at SU, he has championed academic excellence and collaboration, exemplified by the 2020 nomination of the Division of Radiodiagnosis as the Radiological Society of North America’s inaugural Global Learning Centre (GLC) following a competitive worldwide assessment process. This was a singular honour that affirmed the Division’s international standing and acknowledged the quality of its academic leadership.
Committed to extending radiological services in Africa, Prof Pitcher has consistently attracted outstanding postgraduate students from the Southern African region and has established a rich research network across the continent. This stalwart of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) has served three terms as President of the College of Radiologists and two terms on the Board of Directors, and is the current honorary treasurer.
Rated an established researcher by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), he has collaborated on ninety peer-reviewed publications and supervised or co-supervised forty published master’s-level research projects. His students have repeatedly won national research accolades, notably the annual CMSA Maurice Weinbren award and the Radiological Society of South Africa (RSSA) travel award.
Other career highlights include membership of the World Health Organisation’s international working group on lung ultrasound during Covid-19, delivering the keynote address to the annual conference of the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound (Denver, Colorado), holding visiting professorships at the University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle, Washington) and the Levy Mwanawasa University (Lusaka, Zambia), and undertaking a South African national lecture tour as the CMSA’s JN and WLS Jacobson lecturer.
He and Stevie (Stephanie) have been married for almost 35 years and have a daughter, Sorrel, and a son, Sean. Baxter, arguably the world’s finest Staffordshire bull terrier, is the nominal head of their household.