News & Events

Radiology and Imaging Specialists Named Screening Center of Excellence

Joins More Than 400 Screening Centers Across the Country Following Best Practices Outlined by Lung Cancer Alliance

Lakeland, FLA, October 17, 2017 — Radiology and Imaging Specialists was named a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening. Low dose CT screening for lung cancer carried out safely, efficiently and equitably saves tens of thousands of lives a year.

“We are proud and honored to be working with Radiology and Imaging Specialists as a Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence. Their commitment to practice responsible lung cancer screening will lead to advancements in research and many lives saved. They are an example to follow,” says LCA President and CEO, Laurie Fenton Ambrose.

Designated Screening Centers of Excellence are committed to provide clear information based on current evidence on who is a candidate for lung cancer screening, and to comply with comprehensive standards based on best practices developed by professional bodies such as the American College of Radiology (ACR), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) for controlling screening quality, radiation dose and diagnostic procedures within an experienced, multi-disciplinary clinical setting.

“Radiology and Imaging Specialists is dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality care. Low dose CT screening has shown to be the only proven method to detect lung cancer at an early and treatable stage. We are thrilled to be part of this elite group, setting an example for responsible screening practices across the country,” says Christian Schmitt, M.D., a radiologist with Radiology and Imaging Specialists.


About Radiology and Imaging Specialists
Radiology and Imaging Specialists (RIS) has provided imaging services to central Florida for more than 45 years. They have grown to more than 30 physicians and five imaging centers. The five centers are Central, Pablo, South, Women’s Imaging Center, and Plant City Imaging. RIS’ mission is to provide patients and referring physicians with the most accurate, reliable services using state-of-the-art imaging technology.

About Lung Cancer Alliance
LCA is leading non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and advancing research by empowering people living with or at risk for lung cancer. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services to patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns, including the award winning No One Deserves to Die Campaign attacking the stigma of the disease and the Moments Campaign, spreading word about the risk and screening with a risk navigator tool for consumers; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research.
Lung Cancer Alliance launched the National Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening and Continuum of Care in 2012 and now have over 400 sites committed to the guidelines. The National Framework lays out a bill of rights for the at-risk public and guiding principles for lung cancer screening sites. www.lungcanceralliance.org

Radiology and Imaging Specialists’ Dr. Kevin Sawyer Appointed as a Volunteer Professor of Radiology at the University of Central Florida

August 23, 2017 – Kevin Sawyer, M.D. has been appointed as a volunteer professor of radiology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Sawyer will be teaching fourth year medical students during their radiology rotation at the Heart of Florida Medical Center as part of the partnership between the University of Central Florida Medical School and Radiology Imaging Specialists.

In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Sawyer is a full-time staff radiologist with Radiology and Imaging Specialists in Lakeland. He specializes in abdominal imaging and will be bringing his years of experience as a practicing, board certified radiologist to his students. As a volunteer professor he will give students a hands-on overview of radiology and its role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Eventually, his role will expand to include on-campus lectures at UCF and designing a fourth year radiology elective class for students.

The UCF College of Medicine was established in 2006 and is the first new medical school to be built from the ground up in the U.S. in decades. They feature a unique hands-on, high tech approach to training doctors for the 21st century. In addition to their classroom and laboratory curriculum, the UCF College of Medicine has formed strategic partnerships and alliances with local health systems and medical practices to provide a robust and well-rounded medical education for their students. Radiology and Imaging Specialists is proud to be affiliated with the UCF College of Medicine and have a role in shaping the medical education of future doctors.

Radiology and Imaging Specialists Is Taking Part in New Landmark National Study to Help Better Diagnose and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

August 23, 2017 – Radiology and Imaging Specialists is taking part in the landmark national Imaging Dementia Evidence of Amyloid Scanning Trial or IDEAS Study. The data from this study will help shape Medicare’s protocol for how patients are diagnosed and treated for Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia.

The IDEAS Study uses positron emission tomography or PET scans to evaluate amyloid plaques in the brain to determine how useful this tool is for doctors to diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease. Amyloid-beta plaques are prime suspects in damaging and killing nerve cells in the brain. The amyloid plaques are deposits of a protein fragment which build up in the spaces between nerve cells. These plaques light up on PET scans of the brain, giving doctors the ability for the first time to accurately detect them in living people. Knowing if a patient has plaques growing and what size they are could lead to significant changes in patient care, including earlier counseling and prescribing better drugs to combat the progression of dementia.

Radiology and Imaging Specialists is one of just 200 imaging centers around the country that is accredited to perform PET brain scans for the study. Nearly 18,500 Medicare patients around the country age 65 and older will be enrolled in the study over a two year period. The study will collect data on patients who are currently experiencing progressive, mild cognitive impairment but don’t have a formal diagnosis of dementia. It will also track the long-term care outcomes for patients who have been formally diagnosed with dementia.

The IDEAS Study is being led by the American Alzheimer’s Association and managed by the American College of Radiology and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network.

Lakeland Vascular Institute Physicians Take Part in International C3 Conference

August 23, 2017 – Lakeland Vascular Institute (LVI) interventional radiologists presented live streamed peripheral vascular procedures at the 13th Annual Complex Cardiovascular Catheter Therapeutics: Advanced Endovascular and Coronary Intervention Global Summit, or C3 Conference at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Orlando at the end of June. This was the first time LVI physicians were invited to present at the conference.

LVI physicians Fakhir Elmasri, M.D., Lawrence Whitney, M.D., Venkat Tummala, M.D., and Jong Park, M.D. showcased their minimally invasive, interventional radiology approach to treating peripheral vascular disease. Their presentations were live streamed to physicians watching from around the world. The C3 Conference is an annual symposium for interventional cardiologists, vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists who have a special interest in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. This year’s conference included domestic and international live cases, poster sessions, abstract presentations and hands-on workshops. More than 1,200 physicians attended this year’s conference.

Welcome Dr. Fernandez

Radiology and Imaging Specialists Announce Addition to Medical Staff

Radiology and Imaging Specialists is proud to announce an addition to their medical staff. Alexander J. Fernandez has joined the practice as board-certified radiologist. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Chemistry from New York University, NY, NY and received his medical degree from University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, MI. Dr. Fernandez holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Duke University in Durham, NC. He completed his internship at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, MI and was Nuclear Medicine Chief Resident at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT. He completed his Fellowship in MRI at St. Francis Medical Center in Hartford, CT.