In Memory of




Obituary for Dr. Robert H. Ackerman

ACKERMAN, Robert "Bob", MD. June 1, 1935 - December 18, 2018. Dr. Robert H "Bob" Ackerman of Cambridge, MA and Gloucester MA, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on December 18, 2018. He was 83 years old. Dr. Ackerman, the son of the late Myron and Leona Ackerman, was raised in New York City, N.Y. He is survived by his step-brother Alan Rosenthal (Bethesda, MD) and his nieces, nephews, cousins and other close relations from the Ackerman family (located throughout the US), the Ackerman-Prill family (Seattle, WA), the Rosenthal families (Atlanta, GA and Easton, MD) and the Frank Family (New Orleans, LA) as well as by his many friends located in the Boston metro area, Gloucester Massachusetts and other cities across the globe.

Dr. Ackerman had an incredibly successful medical career that spanned a number of different disciplines. Dr. Ackerman worked tirelessly in pioneering research in the fields of stroke imaging and prevention, including private patient practice, consulting with private companies, and in educating students and faculty in the field of medicine.

In 2013, Massachusetts General Hospital honored Dr. Ackerman by renaming the MGH Neurovascular Laboratory to The R.H. Ackerman Neurovascular Lab. At that time, Dr. Ackerman was Chairman Emeritus of this lab that he personally founded in 1974 to become the first non-invasive lab in the country dedicated to using ultrasound to understand blood flow to the brain to identify patients at risk or who have experienced stroke. For several decades, Dr. Ackerman conducted some of his most important pioneering research in this lab and led its growth while also improving and saving patients’ lives as a Radiologist and Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Ackerman’s major interests have been in stroke disease, especially in the application of radiologic tools to improve identification and treatment of stroke-prone and acute stroke patients. He helped pioneer the development of non-invasive modalities for the diagnosis of carotid disease and the use of positron emission tomography in the study of ischemic stroke and, was the program director of the National Institutes of Health funded Interdepartmental Stroke Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
He was also an Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and a member of their medical school admissions faculty for many years. In the early 1990s, Dr. Ackerman was a Distinguished Scientist at the Department of Radiologic Pathology of the Armed Forces Institute. Throughout his career, he was certified by the American Board of Radiology (Diagnostic Radiology) and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (Neurology.)

In the spirit of a true renaissance man, Dr. Ackerman pursued his personal interests with passion. An avid rower, Dr. Ackerman often competed in the Head of The Charles in Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as other best in class competitions such as Henley Royal Regatta in England. He was a highly regarded member of the Cambridge Yacht Club and, the Eastern Point Yacht Club in Gloucester Massachusetts. In addition, Dr. Ackerman was known for his love of creating and growing very sophisticated beautiful gardens, writing stories, and playing the piano. He traveled extensively around the globe to meet with patients, friends, and medical profession colleagues that he personally taught and trained. And, prior to his admission to medical school, Dr. Ackerman worked as a reporter for the Providence, RI, Journal-Bulletin and The Manchester Guardian in England.

For many years, he served on several advisory boards and sponsored notable charities including well known public and private organizations throughout the Boston metro area.

Dr. Ackerman received his BA degree from Brown University in 1957 and his MD degree from the University of Rochester Medical School in 1964. He interned at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown, NY and completed his residencies in Neurology (1970) and radiology (1975) at the Massachusetts General Hospital. From 1970 to 1971, he was the Massachusetts General Hospital Dalton Scholar at the Neurological Institute Queen Square, London where he studied cerebral blood flow techniques. Dr. Ackerman spent his childhood in New York City, NY and graduated high school at The Horace Mann School in Riverdale, NY. Upon discovering that the school did not have a school song, he wrote one; it is still being sung by students and alumni today.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to any Scholarship Fund at the University of Rochester Medical School in Rochester, NY 14642.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday January 27th, 2019 at 11 am at the Story Chapel of Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.