Recognizing Hillier L. Baker Jr., M.D.’s Impact on Medical Imaging

Hillier L. Baker, Jr., M.D. President, Radiological Society of North America.

Medical technology has come a long way, and one of the major advancements that have revolutionized the medical field is the computed tomography (CT) scan. This technology has enabled doctors to view the inside of the human body with remarkable clarity, making it easier to diagnose and treat various conditions.


However, not many people know about the person behind the introduction of CT scans in North America. In this article, we celebrate the life and contributions of Hillier L. Baker, Jr., M.D., who played a significant role in bringing CT technology to North America.


Catalina Imaging specializes in mobile CT scanning technology using top-of-the-line equipment from Siemens, GE, and Toshiba/Canon. Our mission is to provide high-quality solutions that meet healthcare needs. Contact us now at or (844) 949-1664 to start your journey to better healthcare.


Hillier L. Baker, Jr., M.D. President, Radiological Society of North America.
Hillier L. Baker, Jr., M.D. President, Radiological Society of North America.

Biography of Hillier L. Baker, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Hillier L. Baker Jr. was born in 1920 and obtained his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed his residency in radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he spent most of his career.


Dr. Baker served as a military doctor at West Point, New York, in the early 1950s. After that, he returned to Mayo and eventually became chairman of the Department of Radiology. He was president of the Radiological Society of North America from 1980-1981 and president of the American Society of Neuroradiology from 1974-1975. Among his many honors, he was a Mayo Foundation Distinguished Alumnus.


Dr. Baker retired in 1989 and enjoyed restoring Model A Ford automobiles and collecting coins. He was also a great role model for his children, encouraging them to become anything they wanted. His daughter, Gail Baker, said he was her biggest cheerleader.


Dr. Baker passed away on December 22, 2004, in Rochester at the age of 84. He was survived by his daughters, Gail Baker and Susan Reinhardt, and two granddaughters. His wife, Jane, had passed away in 1997, and his son, Hillier Baker III, passed away in 1978.


Dr. Baker’s Contributions to the Introduction of CT Technology in North America

Dr. Baker played a key role in introducing CT technology to North America.


In 1972, he traveled to England to evaluate the EMI-Scanner, also known as computerized axial tomographic instrument (CAT), developed by Godfrey N. Hounsfield, a senior research scientist at EMI Central Research Laboratories and the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1979 (shared with  Allan Cormack). The scanner was manufactured by EMI, Ltd, of Hayes, Middlesex, England.


He also received permission from the Mayo Board of Governors before leaving, allowing him to place an order for a scanner on the spot if it proved to be as valuable to their practice.


Dr. Baker assessed the scanner’s impact on neuroimaging and Dr. James Ambrose’s patient evaluations of the EMI scanner on neurologic and neurosurgical patients.


After reviewing patient studies, Dr. Baker found that the scanner was capable of displaying the pathologic processes involving the brain with clarity. He concluded that Mayo Clinic should acquire this technology.


In May 1973, a team from Hayes, including Hounsfield, arrived in Rochester, along with the components of the CT scanner. The installation, calibration, and checking of the system took about six weeks, after which clinical utilization began.


On June 19, 1973, the EMI-Scanner was utilized clinically for the first time in North America to examine a patient at the Mayo Clinic.


Dr. Baker became one of the leading experts in the world, interpreting CT scans of the head and spine. He and his colleagues reviewed hundreds of medical cases to relate what was seen in the image to an actual ailment, such as stroke, cancer, or hemorrhage, making CT an essential tool in neuroradiology. 


Today, CT has been universally adopted by neuroscientists and continues to change the practice of medicine.


The Impact of CT Scans on Medical Diagnosis and Treatment

The introduction of CT scans in North America has had a significant impact on medical diagnosis and treatment. 


One of the most significant advantages of CT scans is their ability to detect abnormalities that cannot be seen with traditional X-rays. CT scans can provide a detailed view of internal organs, bones, and soft tissues, making it easier for doctors to diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions.


For example, CT scans are commonly used to diagnose cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders. CT scans can also be used to guide minimally invasive procedures, such as biopsies and needle aspirations.


Over the years, CT scans have become increasingly sophisticated with the development of advanced imaging technologies, such as dual- and multi-energy CT and spectral CT. These technologies allow doctors to obtain even more detailed images of internal structures, providing valuable insights into a patient’s health.


In addition, mobile CT scanners have become available in the market. As the name implies, these scanners are portable and can be easily moved from one place to another. They are a game-changer in the medical field as they provide advanced diagnostic capabilities to underserved populations and ensure quality healthcare reaches every corner of the world. By using these scanners, diagnostic accuracy has been enhanced, the emergency response has been improved, and telemedicine and community healthcare have been empowered.


Final Words

Hillier L. Baker, Jr., M.D. was a remarkable radiologist who played a significant role in bringing CT technology to North America. His contributions have transformed the medical field and have had a significant impact on medical diagnosis and treatment.


Today, CT scans are widely used in medical facilities worldwide, and it is thanks to pioneers like Dr. Baker that medical mysteries are unlocked.

Catalina Imaging is the leading provider of high-quality mobile CT scanners, giving you access to the most advanced and reliable equipment. We offer cutting-edge solutions to enhance your medical imaging capabilities. Get in touch with us today at (844) 949-1664 or to experience a seamless mobile CT scanning experience.