Dr. James E. McDonald was named Chair by Dean Pope Moseley on November 15, 2016 following his appointment as Interim Chair by Dean G. Richard Smith in May of 2014. He is the third physician to hold the Ernest J. Ferris Chair in Diagnostic Radiology. Dr. McDonald was the summa cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in 1978. He completed residency in diagnostic radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis in 1982, serving as co-chief resident in his final year. Because of an interest in positron emission tomography (PET), Dr. McDonald took a year sabbatical from practice in 2002 and continued his training with a fellowship in nuclear medicine at UAMS and at Mallinckrodt.
Dr. McDonald was recruited to the College of Medicine full time as an assistant professor and director of the Division of Nuclear Medicine by Dr. Kenney in 2010, and has served as director of the Nuclear Medicine Residency Program since 2013. Dr. McDonald’s connections to the department predated his joining the faculty. He was recruited to Little Rock in 1982 Dr. Joe Calhoun, the first graduate of the residency program, to replace in practice at Radiology Associates Dr. William J. Rhinehart, the son of Dr. Darmon .A. Rinehart.
In addition to leading the Department of Radiology, Dr. McDonald has championed moving to the Epic electronic medical records system at UAMS, led an effort to ensure appropriate use of mobile chest radiography, and has led the institutional effort to implement clinical decision algorithms to assist physicians in selecting the appropriate imaging exam. With the creation of the Integrated Clinical Enterprise in 2014, he was named both Director and Medical Director of the Imaging Service Line in 2015. An expert on the molecular imaging of multiple myeloma, his work on the PET/CT assessment of multiple myeloma with calculation of total lesion glycolysis was incorporated into the recommendations of the International Myeloma Working Group in 2018. He also assists in the integration of quantitative imaging and radiomics into research initiatives for the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Dr. McDonald was named a Fellow of the American College of Radiology in 2016.