Harold L. Kundel: The 2020 SPIE Harrison H. Barrett Award in Medical Imaging
An accomplished scientist, thoughtful mentor, and an open-minded radiologist, Harold L. Kundel, professor emeritus of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has had a palpable and extensive impact on the medical image perception community. Among other achievements, Kundel showed that different diseases had different spectra in the Fourier domain, a discovery which drives many of today's computer-aided diagnostic systems. He was also among the first to systematically study visual search patterns using eye-position recording in order to develop the expertise of reading medical imaging.
As well as the effect that his pioneering research continues to have in the field, there is also the indelible impression that he has made through the training and education of new generations of junior radiologists and perceptual scientists: as a teacher, Kundel always made sure that his students were heard, and that they didn't leave his training with erroneous ideas about perception or its importance in the daily practice of radiology.
Although he has been retired since 2001, Dr. Kundel's research is as relevant today as it was when he was pursuing it. It is rare to see a paper in medical image perception that doesn't not cite his groundbreaking work, even when the paper's authors are not from the field but from cognitive psychology, a field that is beginning to catch up on Kundel's research.
"Although Dr. Kundel has numerous publications in his clinical area of expertise of chest radiology, he is perhaps better known to the research community for his pioneering and seminal work in medical image perception," says Elizabeth Anne Krupinski, professor of radiology and vice chair for research at Emory University's Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences. "His h-index is above 50 and his papers have been cited well over 7,500 times. Hal was not the first radiologist to study medical image perception and, in particular, why errors are made and how expertise develops, but he really was the key figure in the early days by taking the few existing studies that had been done and literally creating the field of medical perception research in radiology."