Brinton B. Gay, Jr., M.D.
Emory Faculty 1952-1992
Something special for the little ones
A turning point in radiology was the realization that "children are not just small adults" when it comes to x-ray imaging, and they require special equipment, techniques, and most important of all, radiologists with extensive training and experience in this very special clinical activity. This is what gave birth to the specialty of pediatric radiology.
Dr. Brit Gay was a major leader in that development. He came to Emory in 1952, joining Drs. Ted Leigh and Jim Rogers in the Radiology Department at Emory Hospital. In 1963 Dr. Weens, Chair of Radiology, asked him to move over to Egleston, the pediatric hospital on the Emory campus, to direct and develop the radiology department there.
After returning from service in World War II Dr. Gay had an interest in pediatrics and applied for a residency in that field. He was informed that all of the pediatric resident positions were already filled but that there was a vacancy in the radiology program which he then applied for and was accepted. This was a fortuitous event for the future of pediatric radiology, not only at Emory but nationally.
In 1958 Egleston Hospital for Children moved to the Emory campus to become the pediatric teaching hospital for the School of Medicine. In 1962, Dr. Gay became the first fulltime director of the department, a post he held until 1986. Even though Brit officially became professor emeritus in 1992 he continued to work four mornings a week and give his ever- popular conferences for residents. In 1995, the board of trustees at Egleston Hospital named the radiology department ‘‘The Brit B. Gay Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging.’’
Brit’s greatest contribution, however, is that of teacher--developing radiologists for the future with experience and training in pediatric radiology. The radiology residents at Emory give an annual award for excellence in teaching. He won the award so many times that he was finally retired from consideration and the award in now designated as the Brit B. Gay Award for Excellence in Teaching and given to other faculty members each year.
His honors are many. One of the most significant is the ‘‘Katherine Dodd’’ award given by the Greater Atlanta Pediatric Society. Theaward is given only occasionally for exceptional service to children and Brit is the only non- pediatrician to receive it. In 2003 he received the Gold Medal of The Society for Pediatric Radiology, the most distinguished honor to a pediatric radiologist for a lifetime of service and contributions to this very specialized field.
Brit’s life and career has been intimately involved with Emory University. Even his elementary school was located on the campus of Emory University. Brit attended both college and medical school at Emory and while a sophomore in the Medical School met, fell in love with and married the young woman, Evelyn, who was secretary to the Chairman of Anatomy. They have three children and several grandchildren. Two of their children work in the medical field. Susan is a medical publisher and Jim is a Pediatric Hematologist. William, the eldest, is a dealer in rare and antique books and manuscripts.
Perry Sprawls and Turner Ball