In Memoriam: Myron Bernstein, DVM (1919-2005)

Dr. Myron Bernstein died on August 13, 2005 after a brief illness. He was 86 years old. By the time of his death, he had devoted over half a century to the promotion and facilitation of progress in veterinary radiology.

After graduating from the Middlesex Veterinary College* (MID ’44), Dr. Bernstein enlisted in the US Navy where he served as an assistant in surgery at the San Diego, CA and Great Lakes, IL naval hospitals.

Following his return to civilian life, he established a practice in Glencoe, IL. In the early 1950s, Dr. Bernstein joined a group of Chicago-area veterinarians who met weekly for case history discussions and to share their interest in veterinary radiology. As his interest in radiology grew, he attended weekly pediatric seminars at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and audited radiology courses at Cook County Graduate School of Medicine. Throughout his career Dr. Bernstein contributed to the progress of veterinary radiology through his participation in numerous organizations that paved the way to the current national and international status of veterinary radiology. These organizations include the American Veterinary Radiology Society (AVRS), Educators in Veterinary Radiologic Science (EVRS), the International Veterinary Radiology Association (IVRA), and the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR).

By the mid-1950s, Dr. Bernstein, known as Mike by his friends and others, recognized that an organized approach to improving teaching and practice of veterinary radiology was needed. A group of academics and interested practitioners joined to form the AVRS, an organization devoted primarily to practitioners interested in learning more about radiology and contributing new knowledge to this discipline. The AVRS sponsored continuing education programs at regional veterinary meetings and supplied their members with mimeographed copies of papers presented at these meetings. In 1958, Dr. Bernstein presented a paper on canine hip dysplasia. This was one of several mimeographed summaries that were sent to AVRS members and, in retrospect, represented the beginning of what was to become the Journal of the AVRS, renamed Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound. Dr. Bernstein served as AVRS president-elect in 1959, president in 1960, and business manager from 1963 to 1981. He was instrumental in convincing the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) to provide the Journal of the AVRS as the first publication they would provide to their members. This made possible the continued publication of the AVRS journal.

The EVRS was formed in 1957 to serve the special interest of those concerned with teaching radiology in veterinary schools. The EVRS had annual meetings in Chicago. Dr. Bernstein assisted with the organization of the Chicago meetings, and encouraged the EVRS members to be active participant in the AVRS.

After the ACVR was founded in 1961, the EVRS and AVRS were dissolved because of declining membership and financial difficulties. On behalf of the AVRS, Dr. Bernstein negotiated with the ACVR to ensure that the college would: continue publication of the AVRS journal, present film-reading sessions at AVRS seminars for practitioners, and invite practitioners to ACVR scientific meetings. AVRS then donated its remaining assets to the ACVR.

In 1968, Dr. Bernstein organized and led an American delegation of veterinarians and veterinary radiologists to the first meeting of the IVRA, held in Dublin, Ireland. At this meeting, Dr. Bernstein was made chairman of an interim committee to draw up a constitution for the IVRA. He was re-elected chairman of that committee at the second meeting, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. In 1973, he organized a third meeting of the IVRA in Washington, DC, at which his proposed constitution for the new association was unanimously adopted. This meeting was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the ACVR. It was at this event that Dr. Bernstein demonstrated how a scientific meeting could be organized on a large-scale and how sponsors could help ensure the financial viability of such an event. Dr. Bernstein arranged and continued to lead North American delegations to subsequent IVRA meetings in Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Dr. Bernstein was honored with an ACVR associate membership and in 1998 he was awarded the ACVR’s highest honor, the ACVR Distinguished Service Award. He had attended all ACVR meetings since 1961 and had tirelessly devoted his time and talents to the College, serving on the executive committee as secretary from 1987 to 1991, and as executive director until his death in 2005. He was unanimously elected the first honorary life member of the IVRA.

For over 50 years, Dr. Bernstein set the standard for devotion and service, a standard for others to follow and emulate. He played an integral role in fostering the development of veterinary radiology in North America and internationally. In recognition of Dr. Bernstein’s outstanding work, the ACVR executive council in 2004 renamed the ACVR Distinguished Service Award to the Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award. This name change will ensure that every time the award is given, the college will not only be honoring the recipient of the award, but also remembering the man for whom it was named. In this manner, future generations of veterinary radiologists will equate Dr. Bernstein’s name with the highest level of devotion and service.

Dr. Bernstein’s professional interest and work were fully supported by his late wife, Marion, who accompanied him to many local and international meetings. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Sue and Les Goldman, grandchildren Scott and Evan Goldman and son and daughterin-law Charles and Lynn Bernstein to whom deepest sympathies are extended. Dr. Bernstein’s professionalism, loyalty, generosity, and humor will be greatly missed by all.

*Middlesex Veterinary College was founded in 1938 and dissolved in 1947. It was part of Middlesex University in Waltham, MA, which subsequently became part of Brandeis University.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2006 47 (2), 234–235.