Massachusetts Medical Society: Dr. Robert Ackerman honored by Massachusetts Medical Society with Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Robert Ackerman honored by Massachusetts Medical Society with Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Robert AckermanWALTHAM – The late Dr. Robert Ackerman, whose work revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of stroke, has been honored posthumously by the Massachusetts Medical Society as the 2020 recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ackerman, who died in December of 2018, is lauded for lasting contributions to the practice of medicine over a lifetime in health care delivery, patient care, education, and administration and who has made significant contributions to the goals of the Society.

A dual-trained neurologist and neuroradiologist, Ackerman was founder, director and later emeritus director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Neurovascular Laboratory, which is now named in his honor. For more than 40 years, Ackerman was an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and, in private practice, cared for patients at risk for stroke.

“A healer and a scholar, revolutionizing stroke imaging and care, popularizing techniques that reduced mortality and morbidity and ultimately saved brain, Dr. Ackerman has moved medicine forward like few others,” said Massachusetts Medical Society president Dr. David Rosman. “He has left a legacy of better care and an important legacy of neurologists and radiologists to carry on the tradition.”

Ackerman was a University of Rochester Medical School alumnus and a longtime member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, where he served in the organization’s House of Delegates. He also was a trustee of the Boston Medical Library.

“Bob Ackerman was a modern-day Renaissance man of many passions and talents who brought his considerable intellect, curiosity, and creativity to medicine,” said Dr. Richard Pieters, past president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. “Bob recognized the immense potential of new neuroimaging modalities during his medical training in the 1960s and their power to ‘illuminate clinically what once had been the darkest clinical recesses of the black box (brain). CT, MRI, and PET imaging expanded diagnostics beyond the limits of the neurological examination and invasive radiographic techniques. Bob opened new frontiers in the noninvasive diagnosis and treatment of stroke.”


The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students, supporting 25,000 members. We are dedicated to educating and advocating for the physicians of Massachusetts and patients locally and nationally. A leadership voice in health care, the MMS contributes physician and patient perspectives to influence health-related legislation at the state and federal levels, works in support of public health, provides expert advice on physician practice management, and addresses issues of physician well-being. Under the auspices of the NEJM Group, the MMS extends our mission globally by advancing medical knowledge from research to patient care through the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Catalyst, and the NEJM Journal Watch family of specialty publications, and through our education products for health care professionals: NEJM Knowledge+, NEJM Resident 360, and our accredited and comprehensive continuing medical education programs.

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