Dr. Lucy Frank Squire was a noted radiologist who became known as a medical educator and mentor to generations of students at the State University of New York (SUNY) Health Science Center. Her landmark book Fundamentals of Radiology has been a standard in the field for nearly forty years.
Born in 1915 in Washington, D.C., to a Canadian mother and a second-generation German-American father, Lucy Frank received her first exposure to the field of health care from her father, who was a physician and sanitary engineer with the U. S. Public Health Service. She earned her undergraduate degree at George Washington University, and attended George Washington School of Medicine for two years. She completed her medical education at Woman's Medical College of Philadelphia, graduating in 1940.
At first, she could not decide whether to be a radiologist or a pathologist, so she decided to do her first year of residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, since the program offered six months of each. The director of the pathology department, however, made it clear that he did not want a woman resident, so she turned to radiology, as the first woman to enroll as a resident in Massachusetts General Hospital's radiology program. After several years of training at MGH and the birth of her son in 1944, she completed her training at Tufts University New England Medical Center.
Dr. Squire conducted a private practice in Syracuse, New York, for several years, and then embarked on a teaching career at the University of Rochester in 1950. From that point forward, medical education became her career focus. In 1966 she received her first appointment at the State University of New York (SUNY) Health Science Center, where she stayed until her retirement in 1994, except for a period between 1968 and 1972 when she was a lecturer in radiology at Harvard Medical School and a visiting radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
During her career as a teacher, in response to numerous requests from her students, Dr. Squire decided to write a text to help students learn the basics of radiology. In 1964, with the help of a Commonwealth Fund Grant, she wrote Fundamentals of Radiology. Her book was the first of its kind, and an immediate success with students and colleagues. Her clear explanations and warm humor elevated to the book to "best-seller" status, selling approximately 8,000 copies a year. After forty years and multiple editions, it remains a standard text on radiology for medical students. During later years she was the lead author of several other influential works: Exercises in Diagnostic Radiology and Living Anatomy. Many of her books have been translated into other languages including French, German, Greek, Spanish, and Japanese.
In addition to her interest in writing good instructional materials, Dr. Squire had a special interest in fostering small-group interactive learning. During the 1970s and 1980s, together with Dr. Robert A. Novelline, she conducted a series of postgraduate courses on medical education in radiology at Harvard Medical School. The courses were so successful that atheir format and content were soon adopted in other medical schools. Over the years, medical educators from around the world would visit Dr. Squire at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn to observe her effective teaching style. When asked what her greatest achievement was, Dr. Squire said that it was the organization and implementation of her radiology course at SUNY Health Science Center. After her death in 1996, colleagues recalled that, year after year, medical students would participate in Dr. Squire's fourth-year elective class, and most felt it was the peak of their educational experience at medical school.
Dr. Squire's advice to a graduating medical school class was: "You must choose to do something with your life that you absolutely love, something that you would do for free if given the chance. Never choose for lifestyle or money. Choose something because you love doing it."
During her lifetime Dr. Squire received awards from the Radiological Society of North America, the Association of University Radiologists, and the Regional Conference on Women in Medicine. In 1987, she won the first Marie Curie Award from the American Association of Women Radiologists.