Get to know Dr Stephen Harden, Clinical Radiology Medical Director, Education and Training

Wednesday 11 September 2019

We interviewed Dr Stephen Harden, our new Clinical Radiology Medical Director for Education and Training. We found out why he stood for office, his views on getting involved with the RCR and the best advice he's ever been given. 

What made you stand for office?

I have been fortunate to serve on a number of RCR committees including the Part 2a Examining Board, the Curriculum Committee, the Specialty Training Board and the Professional Learning and Development Committee. Standing for office would give me the chance to bring some of the experience gained to this post and to allow me to give something back to the RCR and its community.       

What made you choose clinical radiology as your specialty?

I really enjoy the challenge of problem solving in achieving a diagnosis. This is what attracted me to the specialty in the first place and is at the heart of my clinical practice on a daily basis. 

What is your favourite thing about the RCR?

The people that work within it and the Fellows and members that are part of it. The 'can do' attitude throughout the RCR helps us all achieve so much together.

Which parts of the RCR would you like to see Fellows and members become more involved with?

I would like to see Fellows and members become more involved with all aspects of RCR life and activity. The annual conference is an excellent way to discuss your work and learn from other Fellows and members and this helps to further grow our community. There are many RCR committees and I would encourage all Fellows and members to consider standing for a position on one of these committees.

If you could give one piece of advice to medical students considering a career in clinical radiology, what would it be?

Definitely do it. It is a wonderful career choice full of intellectual challenge with a wide breadth of subspecialty interests available and plenty of consultant job opportunity.

What is the best thing about your job?

The interaction with patients. I take great professional satisfaction from explaining an imaging procedure to an understandably anxious patient, reassuring them during it and explain the outcome afterwards.

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be and why?

Navigating the NHS pension system!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

'Seek first to understand' and, related to this, 'always give yourself time to think'.

Who inspires you and why?

My family, particularly my wife and my two sons. I am constantly inspired by their enthusiasm, ambition and encouragement.

What has been your greatest achievement?

I have just become a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Lords Cricket Ground. This has been a long-held ambition of mine due to my passion for cricket and has taken 20 years but the wait has been worthwhile.


Dr Stephen Harden trained in medicine at the University of Cambridge and St Thomas’ Hospital in the University of London, graduating in 1993. He trained in clinical radiology on the Wessex training programme and was appointed as a consultant in cardiothoracic radiology at University Hospital Southampton in 2005. His areas of particular specialist interest are cardiac imaging including cardiac MRI and cardiac CT, imaging respiratory disease including interstitial lung disease and PET-CT in patients with known or suspected lung cancer.

He has had a number of national roles including President of the British Society of Cardiovascular Imaging (20122015), during which he led the joint collegiate development of standards of departmental practice in cardiac CT. He was Vice President of the British Institute of Radiology from 20152017.

Stephen has had a long interest in education and training and was Radiology Training Programme Director in Southampton from 20092012 and Head of the Wessex School of Radiology from 20132019. This interest is reflected in his previous RCR roles including serving on the FRCR Part 2a Examining Board, the Curriculum Committee, the Specialty Training Board and as chair of the Clinical Radiology Professional Learning and Development Committee.