The Medical Physics community lost one of its early pioneers in radiation oncology physics, Jacques Ovadia, who passed away in April of 2014 at the age of 90.
Jacques received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1951. Subsequently, under the guidance of John Laughlin, he was introduced to the field of Medical Physics. When John moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering, Jacques followed him. There he gained clinical experience and expertise in the then cutting-edge field of high energy electron beam therapy.
In 1956, Jacques joined Dr. Erich Uhlmann at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago where one of the country's first high energy medical linear accelerators had just been installed. During his 35 year tenure, Dr. Ovadia built a strong Medical Physics department that merged in 1984 with that of the University of Chicago. Jacques pioneered the use of high energy electron beams to treat deep seated tumors, multiple-field chest wall irradiation with variable electron energies, and even anticipated the current interest in high energy electron beam grid-therapy. At an early stage, he introduced a simulator, computerized treatment planning and in-house developed record and verify software. He retired in 1990 as Professor emeritus in Radiation and Cellular Biology at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Ovadia was an early and strong supporter of AAPM. He was present at the Chicago ROMPS meeting where the decision was made to form an independent professional society for medical physics. He served as AAPM president in 1976.
Jacques Ovadia is survived by his wife of 58 years, Florence, their daughter Corinne Graefe and son Marc Ovadia, MD, as well as four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Jacques’ dynamic and ever enthusiastic personality inspired all who collaborated with him. He will be greatly missed.