Arabinda K. Choudhary, M.D., MBA, chair of the Department of Radiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), was invested Oct. 14 in the Ernest J. Ferris, M.D. Chair in Diagnostic Radiology.
Choudhary is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric neuroimaging and imaging related to pediatric abusive head trauma. He joined UAMS in August.
“This is a huge day for me, for our department, and possibly the single biggest achievement of my professional career,” said Choudhary. “I’m really excited for what this means for us as a department and the opportunity that we have; what it means for me, as the responsibility embedded within the Ferris Chair; what it means for UAMS with the expectations being set for our department; and for the state of Arkansas for the commitment this reflects on us to provide the best value-based care to the patients of the state.”
An endowed chair is among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member. A chair is established with gifts of at least $1 million, which are invested and the interest proceeds used to support the educational, research and clinical activities of the chair holder. Those named to a chair are among the most highly regarded scientists, physicians and professors in their fields.
“Today is a great day for UAMS and for the Department of Radiology,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “We are honored to have Dr. Choudhary continue the legacy of Dr. Ferris.”
The chair is named in honor of Ferris, who chaired the Department of Radiology for 31 years, helping bring comprehensive subspecialty training and highly specialized radiological care to Arkansas. He trained more than 350 fellows and residents at UAMS, six of whom have gone on to become department chairs at various medical schools. Ferris expanded the department to include 50 radiologists with diverse subspecialties before he stepped down as chair in 2008.
Ferris, who attended Boston University School of Medicine, held faculty positions at Harvard University and Tufts University, and served as chief of radiology at Boston University Medical Center for eight years before being recruited to UAMS in 1977.
Well-known nationally and internationally for his contributions to the field of radiology, Ferris received the American Board of Radiology’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and was presented with the Radiological Society of North America’s highest honor, the Gold Medal, in 2001. At UAMS, he received the Caduceus Club’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 1996 and the Dean’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award in 2007. College of Medicine students recognized him four times with the Red Sash Award.
“A force for good, for radiology at the local, national and international stage, Dr. Ferris’ collaborative research and clinical body of work, which is vast and extensive, has inspired many generations of radiologists, including myself,” Choudhary said. “It is a proud moment for me to be the steward of Dr. Ferris’ legacy.”
Ferris was in attendance for the ceremony, held in the Diner Learning Center at UAMS’ Little Rock campus, which served as a celebration of the department, with radiology staff, technologists, residents, alumni and faculty members participating.
James E. McDonald, M.D., who served as department chair from November 2016 until June, when he announced his retirement, was scheduled to speak but could not attend due to the imminent birth of his granddaughter. Jeannette Shorey, M.D., associate provost for faculty affairs, read from his prepared remarks.
“Arv Choudhary is very likely one of the best prepared individuals to ever lead any department at UAMS,” McDonald wrote. “He is a man who has the ability to recognize what counts, what is eternal. And, along with that, he has the intellect, skill and determination to do what needs to be done to preserve and build. He is the right leader, in the right place – this place – at exactly the right time.”
Choudhary was presented with a commemorative medallion by Patterson and Christopher T. Westfall, M.D., FACS, UAMS executive vice chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine. Choudhary thanked his wife Bhawna Jha, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology in the College of Medicine, and their three daughters: twins Rhea and Anya, 13, and Keya, 10.
Choudhary was previously chair of pediatric radiology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, since 2013. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Calcutta in 1994 and completed residencies in pediatrics at Princess of Wales Hospital and the University of Wales and Llandough Hospital in the U.K., followed by a residency in radiology at Cambridge University. He continued his training with fellowships in pediatric radiology and pediatric neuroradiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Choudhary received his MBA with a major in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 and received Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) certification in 2018. He is board certified in clinical informatics, radiology, neuroradiology and pediatric radiology.
He began his career in academic medicine as director of pediatric neuroradiology at Penn State Milton S. Hershey University Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, from 2006 to 2013. He also served as associate program director of radiology in 2011-2012. He developed the pediatric neuroradiology section with increased specialization and a comprehensive teaching curriculum for fellows and residents. He worked with partnering hospitals to build relationships and provide subspecialist services. He taught medical students at Penn State and mentored numerous students, residents, fellows and junior faculty members.
Choudhary’s research has centered on diagnosis of brain and spinal trauma, as well as chronic disease and surgery involving the brain. He was the lead author on a 2018 consensus statement on abusive head trauma, the leading cause of fatal head injuries in children younger than 2. The statement, supported by 15 international pediatric and radiology organizations and published in the journal Pediatric Radiology, outlines the consensus of evidence-based medical findings on abusive head trauma to serve as a tool within the legal system. Within weeks of publication it was in the top 5% of all research ever tracked by Altmetric, and it was the third most downloaded article from Springer’s pediatric and radiology journals in 2018.
Choudhary has published extensively and lectured internationally on neuroimaging. He received the Society of Pediatric Radiology’s prestigious Walter E. Berdon award in 2016 for authoring the best clinical research paper in Pediatric Radiology in 2015. He received the David S. Hartman, M.D., Faculty Golden Apple Award for outstanding medical student teaching at Hershey Medical Center in 2010.