RLI Taking the Lead Podcasts

Episode 41: Alexander M. Norbash, MD, MS, FACR


Leading With Adventure

December 28, 2021

What do you do when your high school aptitude test suggests a career as a short-order cook or airplane pilot? You go on to earn your medical degree from the University of Missouri‐Kansas City 6 year BA/MD program, complete your radiology residency at St. Francis Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh, and finish fellowships in Diagnostic Radiology and then Interventional Neuroradiology at Stanford University. From there you join the faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and become Chair and Professor of Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine before taking on your current role as Chair and Professor of Radiology at the University of California, San Diego, (UCSD) in the School of Medicine.

If this career journey sounds familiar, it is likely because you know this month’s guest, Alexander Norbash, MD, MS, FACR. In this very special conversation, host Geoffrey Rubin, MD, MBA, FACR traces Dr. Norbash’s leadership journey from London, England to Northwest Missouri where his later interest in the diversity space was born. Along the way, you will hear stories about the importance of connections, how every interaction with someone can have profound consequences, about the panel of mentors that have consistently guided his decisions and how he ended up choosing radiology.

Having held a number of leadership positions within both academic radiology as well as organized radiology including with the American Roentgen Ray Society, American College of Radiology, Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments, and the Massachusetts Radiological Society, Dr. Norbash offers his insight into what it takes to be an effective leader, how to prepare for a new role and the importance an organization’s culture plays when calibrating your leadership approach.

Don’t miss this master class on leadership and find out whether the aptitude test was accurate after all!

View episode transcript »

Alexander M. Norbash, MD, MS, FACR

Alexander Norbash, MD, MS, FACR is Chair and Professor of Radiology at the University of California, San Diego, (UCSD) in the School of Medicine, appointed in 2015. He practiced as an interventional and diagnostic neuroradiologist from 1994 through 2015 and currently is actively practicing as a diagnostic neuroradiologist. His translational research interests include engineering collaborations creating novel tools and materials for endovascular neurologic therapies, and interventional robotics. Management topics of greatest familiarity include leadership, strategic planning, teamwork, and healthcare reform. He is the founding faculty director for Blue LINC http://bluelincsd.com a team-based biodesign certificate course that includes students from the schools of engineering, business, and medicine.

Full Bio »

Did You Know?

Dr. Norbash has been married for 34 years and together with his wife, Sepi, they have identical twin sons, Noah and Zac. Zac resettles refugees for a living and Noah is in his last year of law school at the University of Edinburgh.

Prior to becoming a radiologist, Dr. Norbash was considering becoming an airline pilot. His mother convinced him to pursue a medical degree, saying that “if [he] chose to be a doctor, [Dr. Norbash] could be pilot on the weekends. If, however, [he] chose to be a pilot, [he] could not be a doctor on the weekends without getting into serious trouble.” So, Dr. Norbash is a helicopter pilot, since 1993, and loves to fly every weekend!

Aside from his love of flying, Dr. Norbash also enjoys traveling. His favorite trips to date have been Zermatt in Switzerland, and the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Dr. Norbash loves Mexican food and his wife’s cooking, stating “there’s no place I’d rather eat than in her kitchen.” When it comes to beverages, he’s a teetotaler so his favorite drinks are ginger beer and virgin mojitos.

On his day off from work, Dr. Norbash’s favorite activity is driving to Coronado Island and circumnavigating the island on foot, hand in hand with his wife, and on rainy days, he enjoys reading.

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