Transitions: Professor Emeritus and Friend of Radiology, William Erkonen, MD, 1932-2013

Photo of William E. Erkonen, MD


This week we mourned the passing of long-time friend, colleague and professor emeritus of the Department of Radiology, William E. Erkonen, MD.  Dr. Erkonen received both his BA and MD degrees from the University of Iowa.  After spending a few years in the U.S. Army and working in private practice as a general practitioner, Dr. Erkonen returned to Iowa in 1968 to complete a radiology residency.  After completing his residency, he went to St. Mary's Hospital in Streater, IL, where he practiced until joining the faculty as an assistant professor at The University of Iowa in 1988.

Dr. Erkonen was an enthusiastic educator and shouldered much of the task of educating medical students in gross anatomy, Introduction to Clinical Medicine and neuroscience.  He was also responsible for major revisions to the radiology curriculum in gross anatomy and developed an emphasis on correlating diagnostic imaging with cross-sectional anatomy.  Awards Dr. Erkonen received for education included the 1994 Alpha Omega Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as twice earning the Teacher of the Year award from University of Iowa 1st-year medical students.  A number of current and former faculty members of the department credit his enthusiasm and mentorship during their medical school training as reason for deciding to become radiologists themselves.

Dr. Erkonen authored of one of the most popular introductory radiology textbooks, Radiology 101: The Basics and Fundamentals of Imaging, which is now in its 4th edition.

In addition to his contributions to radiology education, Dr. Erkonen will be remembered for his unfailing support of the Department of Radiology and its endeavors.  Along with his wife Beth, who preceded him in death in August of 2013, Dr. Erkonen will also be remembered for his kindness, warmth, generosity, and sense of humor.  He will be greatly missed.

William E. Erkonen, MD's, obituary from The Gazette