Leaving a Lasting Legacy

William Rubenstein, M.D. makes generous bequest to support radiology


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When reflecting on his desire to make a significant philanthropic gift of lasting impact, William Rubenstein, M.D. looked to support institutions that had transformed his own life and career. In the end, he decided to make a generous bequest pledge to establish an endowed chair in the Department of Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Through his commitment the medical center will strengthen its pursuit of important research initiatives, educational programs, and training opportunities for physicians in radiology. “I hope the gift will help the department pursue its mission to provide extraordinary care and to recruit and retain top faculty in this ever-important and expanding field,” says Dr. Rubenstein.

After majoring in biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Rubenstein attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he became interested in radiology. From his perspective, this specialty offered the best of both worlds, providing practitioners the opportunity not only to make essential diagnoses but also to interact with a multitude of specialties ranging from medicine to surgery to pediatrics. After earning his M.D., Dr. Rubenstein followed his passion to Beth Israel Hospital, where he became a resident in the Department of Radiology in 1974. “It was simply an exceptional experience,” he recalls. “The teaching was superb, and the atmosphere was collegial. It truly set me up for a great career.” After completing his residency and a one-year fellowship in body imaging, Dr. Rubenstein became an attending radiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, where he practices to this day, sharing his expertise with residents and fellows in training.

Radiology has evolved in a number of ways in my lifetime, and it has become much more important in making diagnoses and influencing clinical management for the patient’s benefit.
William Rubenstein, M.D

Dr. Rubenstein has seen his specialty change dramatically over the course of his distinguished career. In his eyes, this has only reaffirmed the critical need for supporting this work. “Radiology has evolved in a number of ways in my lifetime, and it has become much more important in making diagnoses and influencing clinical management for the patient’s benefit,” he says, explaining that four decades ago CT scans and ultrasounds were in their infancy and MRIs were only used in laboratories, not in clinical imaging.

The William A. Rubenstein, M.D. Endowed Chair in Radiology at BIDMC will carry out Dr. Rubenstein’s vision by supporting in perpetuity the next generation of leaders in radiology, allowing them to adapt to the field as it evolves. Although his gift was made as a bequest, he hopes to fulfill enough of his pledge during his lifetime in order to personally witness its profound impact. “I am deeply grateful for my experience at BIDMC and want to help the institution continue to educate and nurture young radiologists as they embark on their careers,” says Dr. Rubenstein. “I know firsthand how a well-trained radiologist can significantly advance a patient’s clinical management.”