Gerald Holzwasser, M.D. ’56: Award-Winning Radiologist with Mission to Deliver the Best in Patient Care
Dr. Holzwasser Shares Reflections On NYMC And Long-Lived Career
Gerald Holzwasser, M.D. ’56, is a physician who goes the distance: in his professional career that spans nearly seven decades, in his marriage that spans almost the same, in his steadfast patient care and as a runner who competed in several marathons over the years. Recently, Dr. Holzwasser reconnected with New York Medical College (NYMC) at the School of Medicine (SOM) Reunion.
Indeed, Dr. Holzwasser is in it for the long haul. As a 1956 graduate of NYMC, his tenacity and drive stood him in good stead when it came to meeting the demands of higher education. “I was accepted to NYMC in 1951, fresh out of my undergraduate studies at Columbia University. I received excellent academic training at NYMC and gained a keen interest in radiological studies and that training was further enhanced by my first clinical placements.”
Dr. Holzwasser’s renowned career in radiology spans a variety of places, including the U.S. Navy, Rochester General Hospital and at Oswego and Fulton Hospitals, where he served as chief of radiology. In 1988, he joined the staff at Strong Memorial in Rochester specializing in chest radiography and serving as associate professor. It’s there he won “Radiology Teacher of the Year” award three times, something that prompts Dr. Holzwasser to note, “Regardless of where I worked, my goal remained the same: getting the right diagnosis to best help my patients.”
Diagnosis and treatment became more effective over the years through the advent of digital technology, something Dr. Holzwasser embraces as critical for patient care. “The transition from film to digital imaging was huge, as was the development of CT scans and MRIs to accurately image a part of the body without having to invasively cut,” he says. “It’s innovations such as these that lead to better medicine.”
Looking back on his beginnings, Dr. Holzwasser fondly remembers his days at NYMC—then located in New York City—not just for its academic program and but for the camaraderie as well. “It’s the friendships formed and memories created that endure. I’ve made great friends at NYMC, especially Danny Mintz [the late Daniel H. Mintz, M.D. ’56] and Jim Mack [the late Walter J. Mack, M.D. ’56]. I remember living in a small apartment with four other guys during our clinical internships. We all worked hard, had fun and brought our ‘A-game’ for our patients.”
Dr. Holzwasser makes his home in Webster, New York. He married his wife, Edith, in 1954 and greatly credits his accomplishments to her ongoing love and support. Together, they have five children and four grandchildren. With almost 70 years in practice, he doesn’t see retirement in his future. “I will continue to work in some capacity because caring for patients is something deeply rooted in me.” To this day, Dr. Holzwasser continues to go the distance.