Recognized for lifelong achievement, Dr. Terrence Ruddy shines light back on others

November 2023

Recognized for lifelong achievement, Dr. Terrence Ruddy shines light back on others
A pillar in the world of cardiovascular nuclear medicine, Dr. Ruddy said: “People make all the difference.”

On a night when much of the healthcare community was shining its spotlight on him, Dr. Terrence Ruddy, an internationally renowned clinician-scientist and a leader in cardiovascular nuclear medicine, was emphatic about shining that light back on others.

“The success of a racecar driver is not solely determined by their skills behind the wheel, but by the seamless collaboration with their crew team,” he told The Beat. “Just as a well-oiled pit stop can make or break a race, a cohesive team can propel individuals to extraordinary heights.”

In October, the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine (CANM) awarded Dr. Terrence Ruddy with its Lifelong Achievement Award in recognition of his distinguished career and the many significant contributions he made to advance nuclear medicine in Canada to its current standing.

At the gala, several of Dr. Ruddy’s colleagues and friends delivered speeches in his honour. Their talks will soon be published as short review articles in a supplement issue of the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences.

I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful individuals and to develop many important friendships. We have had many successes, and these successes were the result of working together as teams with a common goal.

- Dr. Terrence Ruddy

“People make all the difference and determine our success and the joy of our experience,” said Dr. Ruddy. “I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful individuals and to develop many important friendships. We have had many successes, and these successes were the result of working together as teams with a common goal.”

Dr. Ruddy, a former university chair and head of the Division of Cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI), and a former university chair and head of the Division of Nuclear Medicine at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH), is retired from clinical practice, though he continues to teach and carry out research as a cardiologist at the UOHI.

Dr. Terrence Ruddy and his wife Dr. Kathryn Ascah of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
At the CANM Award Gala, Dr. Terrence Ruddy (left) thanked his wife, Dr. Kathryn Ascah, for her many years of support and advice.

While working at TOH, two of Dr. Ruddy’s most important accomplishments were the creation of the Nuclear Medicine Residency Program and implementation of oncologic positron emission tomography (PET). Both efforts, he said, were achieved with great teams and leadership by the late Dr. Laurent Dinh and Dr. François Raymond.

“Academics and clinical care in nuclear medicine at The Ottawa Hospital improved with nuclear medicine residents and fellows,” said Ruddy. “The new PET camera provided more accurate diagnosis and staging of cancer leading to better care in many patients.”

At the UOHI, Dr. Ruddy acknowledged the important roles and contributions of several of his colleagues and the development of the cardiac imaging team, which includes Dr. Rob Beanlands, Dr. Benjamin Chow, Dr. Gary Small and Dr. Glenn Wells.

“We really worked as a team,” said Dr. Ruddy. “In doing so, nuclear cardiology at the UOHI evolved into the Department of Cardiac Imaging, which is today recognized internationally for outstanding clinical care, education, and research.”

“Dr. Ruddy has embodied mentorship, leadership, quality, and innovation,” said Dr. Rob Beanlands, deputy director general of the UOHI. “He has set the stage for countless advances in the field. His reach has been global, not only through his research and the clinical care of our nuclear lab, but through the education of hundreds of trainees from around the world.” 

“Though he is irreplaceable, he will leave behind a legacy of cardiology trainees who aspire to emulate his compassion toward his patients, his dedication to global education and his commitment to advancing scientific knowledge,” said Dr. Benjamin Chow, who trained with Dr. Ruddy and is now a clinical cardiologist and clinician-investigator at the UOHI.

At the Heart Institute, Dr. Ruddy established the Canadian Molecular Imaging Centre of Excellence (C-MICE®) for the development of novel radiotracers for imaging myocardial perfusion, necrosis, and inflammation.

Dr. Ruddy is proud of the Canadian Cardiac Amyloidosis Pyrophosphate Imaging Registry he developed with his Canadian colleagues. This initiative will optimize pyrophosphate imaging for diagnosis and management of patients with cardiac amyloidosis in Canada. 

Over his career, Dr. Ruddy has received many awards, including the Canadian Society of Cardiovascular Nuclear and CT Imaging Annual Achievement Award (2016), the Hermann Blumgart Award from the Cardiovascular Council of the SNMMI (2019), fellowship designation in the SNMMI (2020), master designation from the ASNC (2020) and the ASNC and Journal of Nuclear Cardiology Zaret-Beller Best Reviewer Award (2023).

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