Remembering Carl M. Mansfield, MD, ScD, FACR



On Jan. 11, 2018, the field of radiation oncology lost one of its iconic figures. Carl M. Mansfield, MD, ScD (Hon.), FACR, a renowned radiation oncologist, had a celebrated career of many “firsts.”

Born in 1928, Mansfield grew up in Philadelphia and earned a medical degree from Howard University in 1956 and a radiology certification in 1962. He began practicing radiation oncology in 1964. 

With over a half century of experience in radiology, nuclear medicine, and radiation oncology, Mansfield was a prominent role model, mentor, sponsor, and supporter of radiation oncologists across the spectrum of diversity. He became the first African-American full professor at Jefferson Medical College in 1974. When he joined the University of Kansas, he became the first African-American to chair a major department of radiation oncology in the country. During his time at the University of Kansas, he pioneered the use of peri-operative implantation of iridium-192 for treatment of early-stage breast cancer, established the first school of radiation oncology technology, and established the first radiation oncology residency program in the state.

Mansfield was the first African-American president of a major national radiological society with his presidency of the American Radium Society in 1989. He also served as president of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and received the Bronze Medal from the ACS in recognition of his efforts to stop marketing of cigarettes to the African-American community in Philadelphia. He was honored by the Association of Black Radiation Oncologists in 2009 with its Lifetime Achievement award. He was also recognized by the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) with its highest honor when he became the first black radiation oncologist to receive the ASTRO Gold Medal Award in 2015.

Mansfield will be sorely missed, but his legacy will continue.

IG labcoat 1By Iris C. Gibbs, MD, FACR, associate dean of MD admissions and professor of radiation oncology at Stanford Medicine.

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