The late Theron Ovitt, MD, was an expert in cardiac angiography who taught and mentored generations of radiologists and cardiologists. For nearly 50 years, Dr. Ovitt was a guiding light who provided compassionate care to thousands of patients in Tucson and beyond. His steady presence within the Cardiothoracic Imaging division will be missed, and his legacy will continue to grow at the University of Arizona and in the programs he helped build.
Dr. Theron Ovitt earned a Bachelor of Art degree from Vanderbilt University in 1961 and a medical degree from Marquette University in 1965. He completed his diagnostic radiology residency at the University of Minnesota, followed by a two-year fellowship in cardiovascular radiology. During the fellowship, Dr. Ovitt studied under Dr. Kurt Amplatz, a world-renowned pioneer and innovator in the field of cardiovascular radiology. This training provided extensive experience in performing coronary catheterizations, pediatric cardiac catheterizations, general angiographic procedures, and interventional procedures.
In 1974, Dr. Ovitt came to the University of Arizona as assistant professor of radiology in charge of the Cardiovascular Section. His duties also included participation in all pediatric cardiac procedures as well as half of the adult cardiac procedures at the VA Hospital. His primary expertise was in cardiac radiology.
Dr. Ovitt was the principal investigator for a series of NIH grants that funded research and development of the first digital subtraction angiography system. This in turn led to the development of the first digital display console and subsequently the development of the first mini PACS system. The University of Arizona has been a pioneer in the transformation of analog radiology images to digital imaging.
Dr. Ovitt went on to become chair of radiology at the University of Arizona in 1993. He served on numerous committees of the American College of Radiology, as president and vice president of the Eastern Radiological Society, and as president of the SCARD organization. He was honored both as a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and elected member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. After he stepped down as chair in 2006, Dr. Ovitt was asked to become chair of the Radiology Department at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, which he did for three years. Afterward, he returned to the University of Arizona where he remained a vital contributor to the Cardiothoracic Imaging division. Dr. Ovitt retired from the University of Arizona in July 2020 after 46 years of dedicated service.