Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation Honors Innovation with Annual Awards

Leaders in Innovation, young investigator and other key awards presented during SIR’s Annual Scientific Meeting; Top supporter of IR research recognized

The Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation presented the Leaders in Innovation Award to James B. Spies, MD, MPH, FSIR, during the Society of Interventional Radiology’s (SIR) Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston.

Spies serves as the chairman, chief of service, and professor of radiology at Georgetown University, and associate executive director for the American Board of Radiology (ABR). He is a fellow of SIR and has served on numerous committees, including as SIR Foundation chair from 2006 to 2008 and SIR president from 2014 to 2015. He has also received SIR’s highest honor, the Gold Medal, in 2019.

An author of more than 100 published scientific studies and presenter of more than 400 presentations, Spies is recognized as an international authority for his research in uterine artery embolization. He maintains an active practice in uterine artery embolization for fibroids and developed the Uterine Fibroid Symptom Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire (UFS-QOL) tool that assesses the symptoms assisted with uterine fibroid tumors, through a grant provided by SIR Foundation. This questionnaire is currently being used worldwide by several research groups.

“Dr. Spies’ visionary approach to interventional radiology care has improved the lives of patients, especially women suffering from debilitating fibroids,” said SIR Foundation Chair Katharine L. Krol, MD, FSIR. “His recognition of and dedication to clinical research has ensured access to minimally invasive uterine artery embolization and provided countless women with an option other than surgery and hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids. Through his mentorship, he has inspired new generations of interventional radiologists to innovate and study new minimally invasive treatments that allow patients to return to their lives with less pain and a faster recovery time than open surgery.”

The Dr. Gary J. Becker Young Investigator Award recognizes promising young practitioners to encourage the pursuit of academic careers. This year’s recipient is Nima Kokabi, MD, currently an assistant professor of interventional radiology and image-guided medicine at Emory University School of Medicine where he leads the Interventional Oncology Clinical Research Program and serves as the associate program director of Emory’s IR residency program. As the co-chair of the SIR Foundation Comparative Effectiveness Research Committee, he has created multidisciplinary collaborations and conducted high-impact studies illustrating the critical role and value of IR within the healthcare system. He has also been actively involved in building global IR training programs, particularly in East Africa, with the overarching goal of addressing health disparities and increasing access to life-saving IR procedures and therapies worldwide.

“Through his research, stewardship and his mentorship, Dr. Kokabi is helping build the future of IR, ensuring a thriving specialty for generations to come,” said Krol.

During the awards ceremony, SIR Foundation also recognized the recipients of the Excellence in Innovation, Dr. Constantin Cope Medical Student Research Award, Resident Research Award and Research Training Award. A full list of award recipients is available on

Support for research also recognized

John William Thomas, MD, FSIR, received the Frederick S. Keller, MD, Philanthropy Award, which honors an individual who, through exceptional generosity and through inspiring others to give, demonstrates outstanding commitment to SIR Foundation.

Thomas is an interventional radiologist with the Southwest Texas Radiology Group in San Antonio. A generous supporter of SIR Foundation and IR research, Thomas is a member of SIR Foundation’s Pioneer Circle and Founders’ Society, which help fund SIR Foundation’s many grants program and clinical research efforts. “Dr. Thomas’ passion for IR research and minimally invasive medicine is rooted in his dedication to ensuring superior outcomes for patients,” said Krol. “His generous support of SIR Foundation has allowed us to fund pivotal studies that expanded access to IR care for people around the world.”

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