Silver Medal Award

The Life and Times of Jud W. Gurney, MD

I grew up in Riverton, NE, population 300, in the Republican River valley. Mom was a schoolteacher and dad operated a grain elevator. I had one dog (Dodie) and one sister, Rajaena, eight years older, whom was my second mother. Without asking, she would often drop what she was doing and make me chocolate chip cookies for no good reason. I graduated from Franklin High School as Valedictorian, was President of my class twice and served as President of the Student Council.  I played the organ at the state Lion’s Club music contest, and went to the International Science and Engineering Fair twice. After high school I attended the University of Nebraska on a four-year Hawksworth Engineering Scholarship. I was a member of Farmhouse Fraternity, a true builder of men. At Christmas break my senior year I received acceptance to medical school. I took classes that interested me my last semester (music and art appreciation) and failed to complete my major and graduate. Mom never forgave me.

I went to the University Of Nebraska Medical Center at a time when medical school was three years.  I took four year to complete mine (a little slow I guess). At the time of medical school graduation I discussed my predicament with my mother with the Registrar and since all I lacked for my baccalaureate was a major they gave me a Bachelor of Medicine degree. I was now back in the good graces of my mother. (I’m one of the few with a “BM” degree). During medical school I won the Alfred A Richman International Essay contest from the American College of Chest Physicians (ARDS: Update Pathophysiology and Management). I was told that my year long work on this essay was a complete waste of time. I went to Boston to receive the award and was given $1000- I sure liked the money!

After medical school I entered an Internal Medicine Residency at UNMC.  During my residency I had the best paper by a House Officer at the Midwest Research contest (Enhanced Calcium Absorption within Vivo intestinal Perfusion of Bile).  I had to learn how to operate on bile ducts of rats. It was then I decided that radiology would be better for me so I switched into radiology residency at UNMC. My senior year I was president of the House Officer’s Association. After residency I served as the Scanlon Fellow in thoracic imaging at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

My radiology career was primarily at UNMC (with short stints at Creighton Medical Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Mayo Clinic). I had a rewarding career. I served as the second Melvin Figley Fellow for radiology journalism, sponsored by the American Journal of Radiology (I got to spend one winter month in San Diego). I finished my career as the Charles A. Dobry Professor of Radiology (a very special honor for me). I was President of the Nebraska Radiological Society in 1994 and President of the Society of Thoracic Radiology in 2007. I won the Fleischner Society Memorial Award (Likelihood of Malignancy in Solitary Pulmonary Nodules using Bayesian Analysis).   I also served as an American Board of Radiology examiner and wrote questions for the written examination, published a few papers (sixty), wrote a few books (ten), and even wrote a software program. I won ten awards for exhibits at the RSNA and ARRS, was a visiting professor over fifty times, traveled to Belgium and Brazil, and gave four named lectures. I gave almost 100 presentations at meetings across the US and Canada. I served on the unknown Sunday night film panel at the RSNA. Fortunately, I got both my cases right so I wasn’t embarrassed in front of 5000 attendees! In 1997 I served a one year sabbatical as a Neuroradiology Fellow at the University of Utah. The experience as resident was once again humbling for me. We lived in Park City, learned to ski and fish for brown trout. I’ve run my own web site ( since 1996. (Got me fired from Mayo – their loss.) My primary area of interest was thoracic imaging, but I did mammography, ultrasound (Milwaukee), neuroradiology, and body CT. I even did knee MR’s when one of our faculty members left abruptly. I was a “B” reader (specialist in pneumoconiosis) and served as a consultant to CDC investigating vermiculite dust exposure in Libby, Montana. I was on the editorial boards of Radiology and the Journal of Thoracic Imaging. I was elected as a fellow of the American College of Radiology in 1996.

I met my wife Mary playing softball on the UNMC league when I was in my radiology residency. She played second base, I third.  She had her eye on shortstop so I moved over to that position. We were married during my fellowship training in Milwaukee. We are approaching our 25th anniversary. She’s tolerated all our moves (she will be happy to go over details). We have a son, Ian and daughter, Antonia. Both are in college, figuring out where their destinies lie. Ian is at Creighton, Annie at Notre Dame. None of my accomplishments would have been possible without their love and support.

Well that pretty much is it. I’d like to be remembered as a good radiologist. I loved the residents and I hope they learned a little from me. The state educated me and I tried to give a little back to make up for it!