During its Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach, SC, April 9, 2011, the Southeastern Chapter of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (SEAPPM) honored Ivan A. Brezovich, Ph.D., with the prestigious Jimmy O. Fenn Award. It is the highest honor bestowed annually by the SEAAPM in recognition of outstanding career achievements and leadership in the medical physics profession at large, and of special contributions to the Southeastern Chapter.
In a brief introduction, Gary T. Barnes, PhD, enumerated some of Dr. Brezovich’s accomplishments during his 35 year career in medical physics. A major contribution to the field of diagnostic radiology was his discovery of electron evaporation cooling on the output of x-ray tubes. Manufacturers of x-ray generators and tubes routinely use the understanding of this phenomenon to stabilize x-ray beams. Previous recognitions of Dr. Brezovich include the 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award from the UAB School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and three papers as lead author or co-author that won the best paper award of the year from the SEAAPM. He is a fellow of the AAPM, the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO), and the American College of Medical Physics (ACMP). He has been especially supportive of the Southeastern Chapter where he served as president-elect and president in the years of 1993 and 1994, respectively, and is currently representing the chapter as a member on the AAPM Board of Directors.
During his acceptance speech, Dr. Brezovich thanked his family, mentors and colleagues for their generous support that made his exciting career possible, and mentioned some of the changes he has witnessed over the years. He saw Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) become a standard of care after UAB professor Don Brascho, MD, honorary AAPM member, introduced the concept in the mid 1970s. Radiofrequency ablation, now a standard therapy for cancerous liver lesions, may have been stimulated by a 1979 publication of a UAB patient undergoing RF hyperthermia of a lung tumor using an implanted surgical wire and equipment built by Dr. Brezovich in his laboratory. Close collaboration between surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and medical physicists, together with the absence of lengthy FDA procedures, made it possible in those days to build the apparatus, test it on animals, and use it for the benefit of patients within a time span of only a few months. Dr. Brezovich concluded with a reminder to the younger generation to carefully maintain the fruitful collaboration between the various disciplines.