Podgorsak Becomes First Medical Physicist Named BOT Chair
By Geoffrey S. Ibbott, PhD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Medical Physics
At the September 2022 meeting of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Matthew Podgorsak began his term as chair of the Board. This marks the first time a medical physicist has been elected BOT chair since the position was created in 2015. Dr. Podgorsak succeeds Dr. Donald Flemming, a diagnostic radiologist who served two terms as chair.
The BOT focuses on the critically important task of ensuring the quality, relevance, and effectiveness of ABR exams. The BOT has diplomates from diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, medical physics, and radiation oncology. Dr. Podgorsak is one of three medical physics trustees and has responsibilities for therapeutic medical physics exams. He is joined by Dr. Kalpana Kanal, the trustee for diagnostic medical physics, and by Dr. Robert Pooley, the trustee for nuclear medical physics.
As chair, Dr. Podgorsak also has a seat on the ABR’s Board of Governors. The BOG’s primary focus is strategic, policy, and financial matters. The BOT chair is the only volunteer who serves as a member of both boards. This makes the position both influential and challenging; the BOT has 20 members while the BOG currently has eight.
Dr. Podgorsak was born in a region that is now known as Slovenia but at the time was Yugoslavia. Not long after, he moved with his parents to Canada. By choosing to work in medical physics, Dr. Podgorsak has followed in the footsteps of his father, Ervin Podgorsak, PhD, who is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Medical Physics at the McGill University Medical Center in Montreal. And to continue a very successful pattern, one of Dr. Podgorsak’s children, Alexander Podgorsak, PhD, is a medical physics resident at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois.
Dr. Podgorsak earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics at McGill University. He went on to earn a PhD in the Department of Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Podgorsak is now professor of oncology, radiation medicine, and medical physics, and is chief medical physicist at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Department of Radiation Medicine in Buffalo. He is also an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Podgorsak and his wife, Kristine, have lived in Buffalo for more than 25 years. In addition to Alexander, they have two other adult children, Anthony and Kimberly, who are graduates of the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Dr. Podgorsak has been an ABR volunteer for 18 years, serving on item-writing committees and as an oral examiner. He joined the BOT February 1, 2017.