VCU Department of Radiology History
The VCU Department of Radiology has a long standing history with key medical achievements and installments of state-of-the-art technology. We are honored to be part of the important history and tradition of VCU School of Medicine and VCU Health System.
Explore the drop-down accordion menus to learn more about the VCU Department of Radiology history:
1838: The Richmond Department of Medicine, endorsed by the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College, opens and holds its first class with 46 enrolled medical students.
1854: The General Assembly granted the Richmond Department of Medicine at Hampden-Sydney College an independent charter to become the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) and, by 1860, a state institution.
1898: Ennion G. Williams, M.D. began his career at MCV as a radiologist, purchasing a Heinz coil machine with money left him by a former family slave, Frances Richardson. This machine was installed only three years after Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery of the x-ray. Williams also introduced radium to Richmond, Virginia.
Like many pioneers in radiology, Ennion G. Williams, M.D. burned his hands and had to give up his work. However, he discovered a high rate of tuberculosis in chest x-rays and turned to public health. He helped establish the City of Richmond Health Department, and Allen W. Freeman, M.D. became its medical inspector. In two years, water purification and extended sewers eliminated typhoid. In ten years, the average lifespan in Richmond went from 35 to 45 years. Williams became Virginia's first health commissioner and won national recognition for improvements in sanitation, for control of malaria and typhoid, and for preventing the spread of tuberculosis. (Source: VCU Magazine, Fall 1986, VCU Libraries Archives).
1913: MCV and the University College of Medicine merged through the efforts of George Ben Johnston, M.D., and Stuart McGuire, M.D. The newly combined school kept the Medical College of Virginia name and acquired the Memorial Hospital.
This same year, X-Ray, Vol.1, the Annual of the Medical College of Virginia, listed Charles M. Hazen, M.D., as professor of physiology and lecturer of roentgenology and medical electricity. W.T. Harris, M.D., is listed as an adjunct faculty member and lecturer of roentgenology.
1915: Alfred L. Gray, M.D. was an associate in roentgenology, and by 1917 he was elected professor of roentgenology to MCV. He also served at the rank of Major in the Medical Officers’ Reserve Corps during World War I.
1936: Radiology began to replace roentgenology for the School of Medicine within the pages of X-Ray, the Annual of the Medical College of Virginia (Vol. 23), however roentgenology remained in the School of Dentistry terminology until 1937.
1959: The Department of Radiology performed more than 66,000 x-ray exams and 6,000 medical treatments.
1960: A full two-year course in x-ray technology was added to the curriculum. (Source: The Scarab, February 1960, VCU Libraries Archives).
Radiology professor, Frederick B. Mandeville, M.D., called on alumni and friends of the college to recruit, “any young women interested in medicine in the broadest sense and who have an earnest desire to help the ill and injured” (Source: The Scarab, May 1960, VCU Libraries Archives).
A 1957 graduate of the School of Medicine at MCV, Cardiologist Charles L. Baird, Jr., M.D., initiated the Coronary Care System at MCV and the mobile coronary care system in the community.
1961: A large amount of new diagnostic and treatment equipment was purchased, including a two million volt Maxitron for radiotherapy.
1963: Sanger Hall was completed, providing additional space for the Department of Radiology (Source: VCU Magazine, Fall 1986, VCU Libraries Archives).
1968: MCV Hospitals introduce fiberoptic endoscopy. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is created through the merger of Richmond Professional Institute and MCV.
1971: MCV Hospitals performed an x-ray procedure every 4 minutes, a surgical operation every 40 minutes and an emergency room admission every 10 minutes (Source: VCU Magazine, Winter 1971-72).
1972: Charles L. Baird, Jr., M.D. founded the Virginia Heart Institute (now the VCU Baird Vascular Institute), and was the acting director until 2008. Dr. Baird was the nation’s first cardiologist to perform cardiac catheterization in an outpatient setting; changing it from a 3 day inpatient procedure.
1974: CT and ultrasound guided interventional radiology and fine needle cytology were introduced at MCV Hospitals.
1979: Angioplasty was introduced at MCV Hospitals.
1981: Construction began for MCV Main Hospital in downtown Richmond, Virginia, which featured radiology rooms on the third floor.
1983: The capital budget for VCU included $1,655,000 to construct a facility for a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) scanning unit. The NMR scanner was to replace the use of x-rays in diagnostic imaging of the brain and other organ tissues, vascular systems and bone structures (Source: VCU Today, November 30, 1983, VCU Libraries Archives).
1984: Myles Perry Lash, executive director of MCV Hospitals, reported there were 184,557 annual diagnostic radiology tests completed.
1985: A 6 ton magnet was hoisted through a hole in a wall to place a powerful new diagnostic imaging scanner. The magnet was placed in a specially constructed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) room on the third floor of the MCV Main Hospital (Source: VCU Magazine, Fall 1985, VCU Libraries Archives).
1986: The first patients were accepted for the new MRI unit at MCV Hospitals. MRI scans proved useful in diagnosing central nervous system abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord area. Radiologists used the new MRI unit to diagnose diseases of the heart, blood vessels and bone (Source: VCU Magazine, Fall 1985, VCU Libraries Archives).
1994: MCV Women’s Health Center in the Park at Stony Point opened and offered same-day results for mammography (Source: Commonwealth Times, April 4, 1994, VCU Libraries Archives).
1996-2000: VCU contributed to breakthrough multiple sclerosis (MS) research using MRI to identify lesions in the brain consistent with the occurrence of demyelination, a definite MS marker. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Source: UniverCity News, October 9, 2000, VCU Libraries Archives).
2002: A new positron emission tomography (PET) scanner was added to VCU’s diagnostic imaging capabilities. The scanner was the first technology acquired for the advanced imaging center, which opened this same year, in the Gateway Building. The new imaging center also featured a high-resolution MRI scanner, a MicroPET scanner for research and a cyclotron (Source: The Scarab, Spring 2002, VCU Libraries Archives).
2012: Breast Imaging at VCU Health became an American College of Radiology (ACR) Center of Excellence. The VCU Department of Radiology created a Clinical Radiation Safety Office. The Clinical Radiation Safety Office includes on-site educators and radiation physicists to monitor ionizing radiation exposure in medical imaging.