As a child, Ronald L. Van Heertum would sit next to his grandfather, a physician in Germany, and marvel at the spectacle of the microscopic world. Dr. Van Heertum’s grandfather willed his microscope to his grandson and told the boy to put it to good use. Dr. Van Heertum heeded this request, ultimately pursuing a career in medicine with a specialization in radiology, the science of seeing beyond what the human eye is capable. Today, Dr. Van Heertum holds an incredible array of positions, including vice president of molecular imaging at CAO Radiology as well as professor of radiology and vice chairman of the department of radiology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons with Columbia University. Dr. Van Heertum maintains a clinical practice as attending physician in the department of brain imaging and the department of neuroscience at the New York Psychiatric Institute, as well as attending in the department of radiology at Columbia University Medical Center, located within the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He fosters the next generation of physicians as director of the nuclear medicine residency training program at Columbia University Medical Center.
Dr. Van Heertum initially earned a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College and a Doctor of Medicine from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, which he obtained in 1966. He is a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, the American Board of Radiology and the American Board of Nuclear Medicine. Upon graduating from Rutgers, Dr. Van Heertum began an internship at Hackensack University Medical Center, followed by a residency in radiology at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center.
In 1971, Dr. Van Heertum became a clinical assistant in St. Vincent’s department of radiology, concurrently serving as a major in the United States Army Reserve until 1974. He returned to a career in academia with numerous teaching positions at Brooke Army Medical Center, South Hills Health Systems, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Eastern Virginia Medical School, the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Stony Brook Medicine, the University of the Pacific’s School of Pharmacy, NYU School of Medicine, New York Medical College, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
Dr. Van Heertum has received many research grants in his quest to diagnose and treat diseases. He is most proud of the many young people that trained with him, whom he considers to be the future of medicine. In his free time, he enjoys travel, reading, and being with his children. His initial love of images has never faded, and he enjoys collecting Japanese woodblock prints.
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