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Dr. Homer: A 38-Year Odyssey of Excellence in Breast Imaging

08/13/2015

On July 1, 1977, Marc J. Homer, MD, FACR, FSBI entered Tufts Medical Center’s Department of Radiology for the first time as a member of the clinical staff. Exactly 38 years later to the day, Dr. Homer retired from his clinical duties as Tufts MC’s first-ever Chief of Mammography, effective July 1, 2015, after nearly four decades of distinguished, dedicated service to the Medical Center.

“Dr. Homer’s impressive tenure at Tufts Medical Center was marked by innovation, devotion to teaching and a zeal for excellence in patient care,” said Radiologist-in-Chief Kent Yucel, MD. “He is unique among radiologists in the personal relationships he developed with his patients, many of whom came to Tufts MC for their care because they wouldn’t trust anyone else to do their mammograms. Dr. Homer is truly an exemplar of the ‘Tufts Medical Center way’ of delivering personalized care at the highest level.”

“It is my distinct joy to have my patients know and recognize me and it was an honor to educate them on the detection of breast cancer,” said Dr. Homer. “Early detection is a critical step toward successful treatment.”

Contributions to Mammography Practice and Education

Dr. Homer perhaps is best known for his contributions toward the design of a breast tumor localization device that bears his name. The Homer Needle, which aids surgeons in the location and removal of breast cancers found on mammograms before they are able to be felt, is still widely used throughout the United States. Dr. Homer also is credited with introducing stereotactic core biopsy technology—a non-invasive technique to diagnose breast lesions without a surgical procedure—to Tufts MC. Over the course of his impressive career, Dr. Homer authored more than 86 peer reviewed articles and one of the most highly-acclaimed mammography textbooks, “Mammographic Interpretation: A Practical Approach.”

“The early success of Tufts MC’s Breast Health Center, one of the very first breast centers in the United States, was in large measure directly related to the outstanding quality of the imaging services provided by Dr. Homer,” said Clinical Director of the Tufts Medical Center Cancer Center John Erban. “He was a true pioneer in the field of breast imaging and has long been a role model for residents seeking to gain breast imaging expertise for very complex and vulnerable patients.”

“I’m exceptionally proud of my role in teaching the next generations of radiologists, medical students and residents how to interpret mammography,” said Dr. Homer. “I consider imparting that knowledge one of my most important accomplishments to the field.”

In addition to educating students, Dr. Homer has taught a course in mammographic interpretation for attending radiologists and technologists four times per year for the past 25 years. Attended by radiology staff from across the country, the sessions helped the participants improve and enhance their individual mammography practices.

Society of Breast Imaging

In a significant contribution to the specialty, Dr. Homer and five other radiologists co-founded the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) in 1985. The Society’s first and longest-serving President (1985–1988), Dr. Homer was honored with a Special Recognition Award for “extraordinary contribution to breast imaging” at the SBI’s annual symposium in 2015. He was only the second-ever recipient of the award.

“The growth of the SBI made a tremendous impact in breast imaging and mammography interpretation reaching the recognition level of other areas of radiology,” said Dr. Homer. “Today, the SBI is the largest specialty society in the U.S. and is routinely consulted about local, national and international issues of controversy in breast imaging.”

Keeping Busy in Retirement

While Dr. Homer has relinquished his clinical responsibilities, he has assumed the highly-prestigious title of Professor of Radiology Emeritus at Tufts University School of Medicine, where he will continue to maintain an active role teaching mammogram interpretation. In the free time his retirement affords him, Dr. Homer plans to take some post-graduate courses, read books and enjoy spending time with his family.

“There is no question that Dr. Homer’s legacy is permanently cemented as of one of the pillars of modern day mammography,” said Chief of the Division of General Surgery, Chief of Surgical Oncology and Director of the Breast Health Center Roger Graham, MD. “But on a personal level, I will always remember him for how much he truly cared – about his residents, his teaching, his support staff, his peers in the Breast Health Center, and most of all, about his patients.”