Mary Mahoney, MD, FACR, Benjamin Felson Endowed Chair and Professor of Radiology, wears many hats in her work at UC College of Medicine and UC Health. She’s a clinician, researcher, administrator, mentor and national leader in radiology. Throughout her career, she’s worked to ensure that she could continue her clinical and research work while taking on other roles as well.
Mahoney’s career as a radiologist has focused on improving methods of detecting and diagnosing breast cancer. Early on, she worked to improve biopsies following an abnormal scan to confirm a diagnosis before patients undergo surgery to remove a tumor. Mahoney’s research then transitioned to improving methods of detection and predicting outcomes. Now, Mahoney and her team are working on a trial comparing digital mammograms and 3D mammograms.
“Now we're able to not just look at an MRI of a breast tumor and look at its size, margins and vascularity, but also looking at how heterogeneous it is, and using that information to predict aggressiveness, potential for recurrence and metastasis,” said Mahoney. “We’re using it to better inform the treatment choices, along the lines of personalized precision medicine.”
Mahoney choose to focus on breast cancer because it allowed her to work directly with patients. As she took on more roles, eventually growing to oversee the entire radiology departments at both UC College of Medicine and UC Health, Mahoney expanded her reach to other areas of radiology.
As a local and national leader, Mahoney has less time to dedicate to her individual research but is able to mentor increasingly more young researchers.
“It's incredibly rewarding to be able to pay it forward and help nurture others,” said Mahoney. “I find that mentoring is one of the most rewarding things I do. I really enjoy working with the faculty, residents, fellows and medical students to help them develop.”
Mahoney’s mentees certainly benefit from her vast clinical and research experience, but also from her knowledge as a major player on the field’s national stage. Mahoney has served on the board of all three national radiological societies. She recently wrapped a 10-year term with the American Board of Radiology and still serves on the Radiological Society of North America’s board of directors and the American College of Radiology’s board of chancellors.
Nearly every patient, whether inpatient or outpatient, clinical or research, touches radiology at some point throughout their care. As a result, Mahoney and her department have a far-reaching impact on patients and research endeavors across medical specialties. It’s part of the reason Mahoney chose to specialize in radiology, and it’s a major reason she has such a significant impact on care in the region.