Michael Darcy (Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, USA), David Sacks (The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, West Reading, USA), and Richard Towbin (Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, USA) each received an SIR Gold Medal during the third day of the 2021 meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology (20–26 March, online), in recognition of their “distinguished and extraordinary service to the society or to the discipline of interventional radiology [IR]”. The Gold Medal is the highest honour presented by SIR.
In his outgoing presidential address to the virtual attendees, Michael Dake (University of Arizona Health Sciences, Tucson, USA) congratulates the 2021 Gold Medallists: “The 2021 Gold Medallists, through their practice, mentorship, and leadership, have driven interventional radiology to unprecedented heights, and revolutionised patient care through the power of minimally invasive, image-guided medicine.”
Known for his expertise in portal vein interventions and interventional management of gastrointestinal bleeding, Darcy has devoted himself to the best interests of the society and the IR community, SIR state in their award ceremony. Darcy served as president of SIR from 2002–2003, and was chair of the SIR Foundation from 2007–2009. He has authored or co-authored over 140 research papers and 39 book chapters, and has been an investigator on all of the major transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) trials in the USA. Darcy was also a founding member of the Association of Chiefs of Interventional Radiology (ACIR), and served as its president from 2016 to 2018. He gave the 2016 Dotter Lecture at that year’s SIR meeting.
Sacks has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, the society says. Sacks served as president of SIR from 2007 to 2008, and has been standards division councillor, chair of the technologies assessment committee, and a member of many SIR and American College of Radiology (ACR) committees. He has been an editorial board member of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (JVIR), and was named a JVIR distinguished reviewer in 2019. Sacks is currently chair of the board of the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission, and president of the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Carotid Artery Stenting Facilities. SIR says that in this latter position, he is “strengthening an important collaborative relationship for the specialty”. Sacks is also one of the founders of SIR’s clots course, designed to train interventional radiologists to treat acute stroke. Sacks was a principal investigator of the KAVIAR trial, comparing vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, and the National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded ATTRACT trial.
Towbin is one of the founders of the Society of Paediatric Interventional Radiology (SPIR), and one of the first full-time paediatric interventional radiologists. He also established the first paediatric interventional radiology (IR) fellowship, and has trained numerous paediatric IR fellows. Towbin has served on both the SIR Executive Council and SIR Foundation board of directors, and has been a member of the Standards committee for over 25 years. According to the society, he was “instrumental” in initiating the paediatric interventional subcommittee. One of his most significant contributions was serving as treasurer for SIR, the society continue. In 2019,Towbin was the recipient of one of the first Gold Medals given by SPIR. He has authored over 375 papers, many of which SIR claim are considered “seminal” to the field of paediatric IR.