Sept. 14, 2020

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In memoriam: Dr. Robert B. Harrison

The Medical Center extends its sympathy to the family of a former faculty member in appreciation for the loved one’s contributions to the academic health sciences center.

Dr. Robert B. Harrison, professor and chair of the UMMC Department of Radiology from 1980-2002, died Sept. 6. He was 82.

Portrait of Dr. Brent Harrison

A native of Greer, South Carolina, Harrison graduated from Duke University and earned his M.D. at the Duke University School of Medicine in 1963. He completed his internship at St Anthony Hospital in Denver, Colorado; served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy from 1965-68, obtaining the rank of lieutenant commander; and completed his radiology residency at Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia.

Harrison served as a private practice radiologist with Kanawha Valley Radiology, Charleston, West Virginia, from 1970-73 before joining the University of Virginia faculty in 1973 as an associate professor of radiology. He came to UMMC in 1980.

Under Harrison’s leadership, the Department of Radiology grew to include additional faculty, space, equipment and services: two interventional radiology suites, one dedicated to neuroradiology procedures; an MRI machine in a dedicated building in the north basement of old University Hospital; a new radiology building with three CT scanners and three MRI scanners; an addition to house one of only three open MRI scanners for neuroradiology and body interventional procedures in the U.S.; larger space for the burgeoning Division of Ultrasound; and expanded portable and emergent adult and pediatric services.

Following his retirement as chair of radiology, Harrison continued to serve the Medical Center as a clinical radiologist in the department for many years.

“Many of us within the UMMC Department of Radiology had the privilege of working with him and knowing him as a colleague and friend,” said Dr. Edward D. Green, professor and interim chair of the UMMC Department of Radiology. “Dr. Harrison was a phenomenal radiologist, fantastic leader and tireless educator.

“He led by example, improved the lives of thousands of patients at UMMC and enriched the lives of all within the radiology department.”

Among his many achievements, Harrison was inducted into the Sovereign Orthodox Order of the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Memorial services for Harrison have been postponed until further notice. To plant a memorial tree in a national forest in memory of Harrison, visit