IASNM’s Chai with Scintillating Stars: Webcast Series #7 (Dr. Mark Tulchinsky)

Recently IASNM President, Dr Amol Takalkar, had the pleasure of sitting down for a chai and chat with Dr Mark Tulchinsky as a part of IASNM’s Chai with Scintillating stars initiative. Dr Tulchinsky needs no introduction in the world of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. He is the current ACNM (American College of Nuclear Medicine) president (2021-2022) and has also served in various other leadership roles in the SNMMI and ACNM. Dr Tulchinsky is currently serving as tenured professor of Radiology and Medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Pennsylvania. Besides nuclear medicine, Dr Tulchinsky loves artwork, travelling and learning about different cultures.

When asked about his journey in this field, Dr Tulchinsky mentioned that physics had always been his passion through early years of education. He was introduced to Nuclear Medicine, when he was a medical student during one of his medical rotations somewhere around 1979-1980 in Tashkent. When Dr Tulchinsky came to US, he did one year of externship in oncology at VA medical Center in Washington DC with Dr James Finkelstein. During that time he came to know Richard Reba who was the chief of nuclear medicine at Georgetown university and turned out to be one of his mentors and introduced young Tulchinsky to the field of nuclear medicine and the rest is history.

When asked about his role as the president of ACNM, Dr Tulchinsky mentioned that nuclear medicine has come a long way and has evolved and progressed and everyone now wants a piece of it. He further mentioned that nuclear medicine is presently going through pivotal moments, and he hopes it would really prosper under the umbrella of ACNM. Dr Tulchinsky mentioned that nuclear medicine is not just imaging and theranostics is something unique to nuclear medicine. He said that this should be incorporated and clarified so that people can know and understand that nuclear medicine is a specialty that includes both diagnosis and treatment using radioactive materials.

When asked about DEI, Dr Tulchinsky said that he feels strongly about it, and he wants it to be openly advocated at the ACNM level. He said that he has identified people in the college who are going to spearhead this campaign. Dr Tulchinsky also mentioned that he really appreciated IASNM in coming forward and taking a stand on issues that matter not only to Nuclear Medicine but also to the current social issues affecting the US. Dr Tulchinsky is of the opinion that mentoring for young and early career nuclear medicine physicians can be improved by increasing ACNM membership. He mentioned that recently there has been significant increase in ACNM membership.

When asked about his message to young and early career nuclear physicians, Dr Tulchinsky said that great things can only be achieved when people work together, and he believes in collective enterprise. Dr Tulchinsky further mentioned that he has started virtual townhall exchange meetings where the main objective is sharing ideas and thoughts which can help the ACNM leadership know the needs of nuclear medicine people, and this can help them mentor and lead in the right direction. (summarized by Dr. Saima Muzahir for IASNM)


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