Virtual Gifts for Radiology: Phil Ballinger

June 3, 2014

Phil Ballinger

Phil Ballinger arrived at Ohio State in 1970 with the intention of staying four years to create a bachelor’s degree program in radiologic technology. After his first class of students graduated in the major, he stretched his tenure to 25 years and a career of teaching, writing, researching and leading a department. 

Phil served as director and assistant professor of the Division of Radiologic Technology until he retired in 1995 to explore new avenues. He completed a doctorate in education administration in 2004 and was the sole author of Merrill’s Atlas of Radiographic Positions and Radiographic Procedures for four editions. He introduced the first Pocket Guide to Radiography in the late 1980s and went on to write 29 textbooks and serve as lead author with four apps for smartphones in diagnostic radiography.

The iRadTech, a product Phil began revising and expanding in 2009, is currently offered in English and Spanish and continues to be the most popular downloaded app for radiographic positioning for iPhones and adroid smartphones. More recently, a new app, the IRadTech Chiro, became available for use by the chiropractor and chiropractic radiographer for radiographic positioning. In 2012, Phil and Seth Sivard, a clinical assistant professor at Ohio State, wrote X-rayWOW for radiography students and other health professionals involving trauma radiography.

“My career became a success due to the students, graduates and colleagues at Ohio State and elsewhere,” said Phil, now faculty emeritus. “I am in a position to try to thank the university and program for my career.”

To show his gratitude, Phil made a gift of Shaderware, a training simulator software presenting a virtual radiographic room for students to practice making radiographs. Ohio State was the first university in the United States to benefit from the software, which was developed and used in the United Kingdom for educating radiographers.

“Dr. Ballinger’s gift allows students to provide patient care for radiography patients in a ‘game-like’ atmosphere,” said Kevin Evans, associate professor and chair, Division of Radiologic Sciences and Therapy. “The students this year used several computers and worked to take their virtual patient into the x-ray room and take exposures for the chest, abdomen and extremities.” 

The virtual program also builds on the classroom experience for students who may need remedial assistance. “We had a student who had an auditory learning style and was struggling a bit,” Evans added. “The simulator was a huge boost academically and testing scores jumped up after a few sessions with Dr. Ballinger’s educational gift.”

In the coming year, the department plans to use the equipment to allow students to test equipment for quality issues and trouble shoot equipment malfunctions, he said. 

Phil also has designated annual support to the department as a President’s Club donor. His giving is inspired in part, he said, by personal experience in finding creative ways to do more with limited resources as a faculty leader.

“A challenge was always to keep current with the technological development that effects all divisions. We would often take students into the clinical areas of the hospitals for demonstrations,” he said, because that offered the latest in patient care. “Ohio State offered the sixth bachelor’s program created in the nation, and we were determined to graduate competent and caring students with additional skills.”

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