UNC Department of Radiology is pleased to appoint Ari Isaacson, MD, as its new Vascular-Interventional Radiology (VIR) Division Chief. Isaacson replaces 12-year Division Chief and Professor of Radiology Charles Burke, MD, FSIR, who was named the Department’s Executive Vice Chair in early 2020. Isaacson is a highly accomplished junior faculty member (2013 – present) with a proven record in academic radiology.  From training as a Diagnostic Radiology resident (2008-2012) and as a VIR fellow (2012-2013) at UNC, Isaacson is well-versed in the practices, protocols and Q&S measures in the Department’s highest-volume clinical division.

Isaacson is a leader in clinical services expansion. On faculty, he has been instrumental in growing what UNC VIR offers patients in minimally invasive interventional procedures (MIIPs). Isaacson’s focus on patient awareness of MIIPs offered by UNC VIR — geniculate artery embolization (GAE) / prostatic artery embolization (PAE) – has reinforced his division’s reputation in offering procedural alternatives to conditions traditionally treated more invasively, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Advancing IR clinical services expansion at UNC has established Isaacson as a leading clinical researcher. On faculty, he has served as P.I. for several men’s health studies on MIIPs alternatives sponsored by UNC — Efficacy of Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE) in Patients With Severe Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) – and industry (Terumo Medical Corporation) —  Safety and Efficacy of Prostatic Artery Embolization Using HydroPearl® Embolic Particles — that offer a more promising quality of life than open transurethral surgery.

Isaacson has promoted IR MIIP solutions beyond UNC, bringing needed procedural instruction to IR practitioners across his subspecialty. In early 2018, he and fellow PAE expert Dr. Sandeep Bagla developed and facilitated the first intensive, one-day course on PAE for IR practitioners nationwide – STREAM. Because of Isaacson, Bagla and other IR collaborators, STREAM now annually trains practitioners on using known IR techniques to conduct a more technically challenging procedure to offer patients suited to PAE.

Isaacson oversees a division shifting in 2020 from training fellows to solely IR residents tracked to three pathways — ESIR, Integrated IR and Independent IR. As UNC VIR phases in a new education model, he takes on ensuring varying levels of adequate IR clinical training for a fast-growing base of IR and Diagnostic Radiology residents and balancing his division’s demands in high-volume workflow, scheduling and weekly, all-division case review.

Executive Vice Chair Charles Burke, FSIR, stated: “Ari is going to make an outstanding division chief for [UNC] IR.  He has already demonstrated great leadership with innovative thinking and consensus building.  Ari has all the tools to continue the work to make the IR division the best it can be.”