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School of Medicine alumnus Stavas tapped to chair Department of Radiology

Joe Stavas, MD'82Returning to the place where his medical career began, Joe Stavas, MD’82, is looking forward to helping the Creighton University School of Medicine embark upon its next phase as he took the reins of the Department of Radiology in April.

Bridging a career as a community radiology practitioner with one in academe, Stavas said he’s focused on collaboration with the medical community, with students and with the larger Omaha community. As Creighton prepares to open its new University Campus site, Stavas said he sees the effort as linked to a new understanding of personal health care and a way to reach out to a wider group of people seeking to get and stay healthy.

“The vision of the new facility and what I already know about Creighton’s care of the whole person are factors that attracted me to the position,” he said. “At this point in the health care world, the message Creighton provides goes well beyond just a person showing up in a doctor’s office. By necessity, we are reaching out to care for the whole person in a community-based delivery system.”

A Midwestern native, after his Creighton graduation, Stavas was an intern at St. Paul-Ramsey County Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, and served a diagnostic radiology residency at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He completed a Fellowship in Interventional Radiology at the University of California, San Diego.

From 1987 to 2004, Stavas was a general partner in diagnostic and interventional radiology at Radiology Associates in Lincoln before he took a position as assistant professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 2009, he became a professor of radiology and taught and practiced in the Department of Radiology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Stavas has been named as one of the nation’s Best Doctors by U.S. News & World Report, earned UNC’s 2009 Department of Radiology Dr. Charles Bream Teacher of the Year Award, has authored or co-authored 80 journal articles and scientific abstracts and has been an invited lecturer on more than 130 occasions at conferences around the nation.

As a teacher, Stavas said he strives to incorporate not only the technical and intellectual tools of medical imaging in his classroom, clinics and laboratory, but also a greater understanding of human relationships and health care systems. He said he is excited about the model at Creighton, where he sees the School of Medicine working alongside academicians and researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions in a seamless effort to serve and improve the health needs of the community.

“I want students, residents, junior faculty, all other people in the health sciences to help us develop a wellspring of knowledge and to better understand their jobs in their chosen health care fields,” he said. “But beyond that, I want us to develop the skills that make us relatable to our patients, to appreciate diversity, to see what it is that binds us together as human beings and makes us all important members of the bigger system in which we live.”

As health care becomes more complex, Stavas said, those human relations skills are becoming more and more integral to the practice of medicine. It’s a message the School of Medicine’s leadership team appreciated in making its selection of Stavas for the job.

“Dr. Stavas comes to us with a wealth of experience in both private practice and in an academic setting and we are excited to be able to welcome him home to Creighton,” Dean of the School of Medicine Robert Dunlay, MD’81, said. “His students will get the benefit of his many years in practice and the community as a whole will grow as a result of his commitment to service, justice and diversity.”

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