VA San Diego Healthcare System
VA San Diego Healthcare System physician receives the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists
July 25, 2019
Eric Y. Chang, MD, staff physician and researcher at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Chang is one of only four VA scientists to receive this prestigious award.
President Trump recognized Chang for his work with novel magnetic resonance imaging techniques to better understand, diagnose, and manage musculoskeletal diseases. His work focuses not only on the structural integrity of musculoskeletal tissues (including tendons, bone, and cartilage), but also on the assessment of joint pain. Many of our Veterans have sustained damage to their musculoskeletal tissues as a result of injuries incurred during active duty, however not all structural compromise results in musculoskeletal pain. His group is evaluating a novel method to measure extracellular pH in vivo, which could potentially be used to pinpoint painful internal joint structures, thus greatly facilitating clinical decision-making.
“We are very proud of Dr. Chang and his research and we are delighted he received this award,” said VA San Diego Healthcare System Director, Robert M. Smith, MD. “This is a very important field of study as according to a 2015 VA report, musculoskeletal ailments are one of the top diagnoses of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans enrolled for care with the VA. This research will lead to improved treatments for many Veterans,” said Smith.
Dr. Chang, a musculoskeletal radiologist, is involved in highly impactful, multi-disciplinary translational research in diagnostic imaging for the improved diagnosis, management and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders of high prevalence in our VA population, specifically tendon pathologies in our wheelchair population (rotator cuff) and post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) in our younger more active Veteran population. He is credited with translating his discoveries from the bench to the clinic by engaging with industrial partners, like GE and Siemens (MRI manufacturers).
Established in 1996, the PECASE award acknowledges contributions to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education and community outreach.