Atis K. Freimanis was born in Riga, Latvia. He graduated from the medical school of the University of Hamburg, Germany in 1951. He emmigrated to the United States and completed his post-graduate training in radiology at the Department of Radiology, Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1958. He soon rose to the appointment of full professor in 1965.

Freimanis was one of the pioneers of B-mode ultrasonography at the time of the ultrasonic boom in the 1960s. He was well-known for his work on the abdomen, the retroperitoneum, the pancreas, aortic aneurysms, and lymph node enlargements. He published the seminal papers on sonographic detection of abdominal lymph enlargement in 1969 and sonography in pancreatic diseases in 1970. These early papers were before the advent of the gray scale.

Freimanis left Ohio State University College in 1970 to become Professor and Founding Chairman of the Department of Radiology at the newly established Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. He also served there as Clinical Director of the Michael J. Owens Technical College for the Radiologic Technology Program. Chairing the new Department of Medicine was another ultrasound pioneer and friend George D. Ludwig. In 1976 he returned to Ohio State University College as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Radiology, a position he maintained until 1983. There he moved on to the Michigan State University College of Medicine, working through to his retirement in 1993.

His accomplishments won him the Joseph H. Holmes Clinical Pioneer Award in 1995. Freimanis also holds many distinguished fellowships. He is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the Ohio Academy of Sciences, and Emeritus Fellow of the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound. Freimanis has been recognized with numerous awards including "Man of the Year" at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. His publications numbered over 40. Regarded as an exceptional mentor, teacher and researcher, many of his students have achieved acclaim in the radiologic sciences, Michael Asher, Roy Filly, Sam Hissong, and John Haaga, to name a few.

His many earned awards included the Multiple Program Award (The Ohio State University Center for Continuing Medical Education, The Ohio Medical Education Network, 1972), the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence for two consecutive years (Medical College of Ohio at Toledo, 1972 [Charter Class] and 1973), the Outstanding Teacher of the Year (Department of Radiology Residents Award, Ohio State University Hospital, 1982), the Teaching Award (Ohio State University College of Medicine, 1983), the Annual Teaching Award (University Affiliated Hospitals of Flint Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program, 1986 and 1992), the Outstanding Teacher Award (Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 1987), and The Amoco Foundation Teaching Excellence Award (Michigan State University, June 1991).

In 1991, The Atis K. Freimanis Radiology Visiting Professorship was established to honor his teaching excellence by the Michigan State University.

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