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University of South Florida

USF Health Radiology team wins national award for using 3D modeling in clinical care

USF Health’s Radiology team earned a national grant to test how effective 3D printing can be on patient understanding of their pancreatic cancer diagnosis and to help improve management of the condition.

The Association for Medical Imaging Management (called AHRA) and Canon Medical named the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine/Tampa General Hospital one of seven national 2018 grant winners for its Putting Patients First grant program, which aims to help advance patient care and safety in diagnostic imaging and create best-practices tools for other hospitals and institutions. The Radiology team submitted on behalf of USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Tampa General.

Radiology team in the 3D Lab are, from left, Dr. Harpreet Singh Grewal, Dr. Jonathan Ford, Dr. Summer Decker, and Dr. Raj Kedar.

The Radiology team won $7,500 in the oncology imaging category. The project will be led by Summer Decker, PhD, assistant professor and Director of Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, along with Dr. Jonathan Ford, assistant professor USF Radiology, Dr. Rajendra Kedar, associate professor of USF Radiology, Chief of TGH Radiology, and Dr. Harpreet Singh Grewal, cardiothoracic fellow in USF Radiology.

“It’s critical that patients understand their own situation in order to make decisions on how to proceed with treatment or potential surgery,” Dr. Decker said.

“The main objective of this study will be to test the effectiveness of patient-specific 3D printed anatomical models on patient understanding of their diagnosis of pancreatic cancer,” she said. “Secondarily, we hope to improve patient experience by setting up an efficient workflow, from the time the patient is scanned in radiology to providing the prints to our collaborating departments.”

In addition to the grant, the team was among a few selected winners highlighted in a video produced by Canon Medical. A film crew spent a day at the USF Health South Tampa Center for Advanced Healthcare interviewing the Radiology team, who shared how this grant will benefit patients at USF and Tampa General.

USF Health Radiology has been a trailblazer in 3D modeling in clinical capacities, leading the field in all three of USF Health’s missions: research, education and clinical care. Their work has been getting national recognition for innovation in healthcare and industry. The study on pancreatic cancer is one of several clinical applications in which Dr. Decker and her team are using 3D modeling.

Patients with pancreatic cancer have a 5-year survival rate of less than 5% and there have been no substantial improvements in outcomes over the past 30 years. A new 3D modeling approach to pancreatic surgery may be the advancement we’ve been waiting for, Dr. Decker said.

“USF Health Radiology already has the major infrastructure of the printers and modeling software in place and has been expanding its scope when it comes to using 3D modeling prior to surgery,” she said. “This grant helps us help patients, who will now benefit from increased understanding of their diagnosis.

“3D printed models can demonstrate rich anatomical detail needed for surgical planning and patient education. That provides a richer understanding of that patient’s anatomy which is a benefit to surgeons and the patient, all before that patient is wheeled into surgery.”

Canon Medical film crew sets up to interview Dr. Summer Decker in the USF Health Radiology 3D Lab.


Dr. Jonathan Ford is being mic’d up before his interview at the South Tampa Center.


Filming continued in TGH’s radiology reading room.