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Albert Soiland (1873-1946), was a key figure in the establishment of radiology as an independent medical specialty in the United States. He is most famously remembered for his crucial role in the founding of the American College of Radiology. He was also a pioneering radiotherapist.
Albert Soiland was born on the 5 May 1873 in Stavanger, Norway and emigrated to the USA at the age of 10. He enrolled in premedical studies at the University of Illinois in 1895, the same year he attained citizenship of the United States. Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays was announced in Chicagoan newspapers in January 1896, when Soiland was a first year medical student.
He contracted tuberculosis at the end of his first year of study and was advised to move to sunnier climes to help his recovery. He moved to the West Coast for medical school, graduating from the University of Southern California in 1900.
He helped construct the first x-ray facility at Los Angeles County Hospital in 1898, whilst still a medical student!
After graduating he was the first doctor in Southern California to specialize solely in radiology.
In 1902 he wrote an early paper on treating breast cancer with radiation.
In 1904 he was asked by the University of Southern California to set up their first department of radiology, becoming its first Professor of Radiology in the process.
In 1910 he set-up the Albert Soiland Radiological Clinic at 1407 South Hope Street in Los Angeles. This later became the Albert Soiland Cancer Foundation, and is now part of the University of Southern California.
He was a founder of the Pacific Coast Roentgen Ray Society in 1915. He was a co-founder of the Western Roentgen Ray Society, which was a forerunner to the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2.
Founder of the American College of Radiology
In 1923, a bill was passed by politicians in California allowing lay individuals to set-up and run x-ray centers. This development greatly alarmed Soiland. He felt that the time had come for radiology to be recognized as a bona fide medical specialty in the United States. Thus, on the morning of 26 June 1923, he advanced a resolution at the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association (AMA) for radiology to be officially endorsed as a specialty and for a Section on Radiology to be established. The AMA duly promulgated radiology as a specialty, although it took until 1924 for the Section to be set-up 2.
On the evening of the same day, Soiland had dinner with twenty leading radiology colleagues. He proposed that a College of Radiology be founded, something with which his radiology dinner companions concurred. The American College of Radiology was incorporated in 1924 2.
Although he started off as a general radiologist in later years he practised mainly radiation therapy.
He died from a myocardial infarction on 14 May 1946 2.
- Professor of Radiology, University of Southern California (1904)
- President of the Western Roentgen Ray Society (1919)
- President of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) (1922) 3
- President of the American Radium Society (1926)
- President of the American College of Radiology (1933)
- Gold Medal of the American College of Radiology (1933)
- establishment of radiology as a standalone specialty in the US
- founder of the American College of Radiology
- co-founder of the Western Roentgen Ray Society (forerunner to the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA))
- 1. Tuddenham WJ. Albert Soiland: pioneer radiologist. (1979) Radiology. 131 (3): 578. doi:10.1148/131.3.578 - Pubmed
- 2. Juan A. Del Regato. Radiological Oncologists. (1993)
- 3. Doub HP. Radiology, Volume 83, 1964: The Radiological Society of North America. Fifty years of progress. (1990) Radiology. 175 (1): 9-21. doi:10.1148/radiology.175.1.2179993 - Pubmed