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Faculty Spotlight: Brian Mullan

Brian Mullan MD

Thoracic Imaging Visiting Professor Brian Mullan, MD started in the Department of Radiology in the fall of 2020. He came from the University of Iowa, where he served as Director of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Imaging, Director of CT and General Radiography, Director of the Advanced Imaging and Analytic Laboratory, and Clinical Director of PACS, among other positions. Learn more about Dr. Mullan below.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I'm originally from Chicago, IL but have spent the last 30 years in Iowa City.

Q: Where did you attend Medical School?

A: I went to the University of Chicago in Chicago.

Q: Why did you choose Radiology?

A: Three reasons. First, I really like the problem-solving aspect of it. That's the core of what we do. Second, I enjoy the collegial, collaborative spirit of radiology. Providers from all over the hospital come together around the imaging aspects of patient care like nowhere else in medicine. Third, I like the technology. When I gave a talk at Disney World, signs were all around about "The Disney Magic". But then I gave a talk on quantifying calcium in the coronary artery walls while the heart was beating, and the patient didn't even have to untie their shoelaces - now that's magic!

Q: What is your specialty?

A: I'm a thoracic radiologist. My academic interest has been in all facets of medical education and helping researchers translate their work to the clinics.

Q: What are your career interests and goals?

A: Fundamentally, regardless of the arena, my core goal is to help people heal. For me, healing doesn't mean anything is broken. It's just combining someone's innate, perhaps untapped or unrecognized potential, with my experiences and guidance to help them move forward to whatever goal is right for them. Whether teaching to help a student learn something, researching to work with a peer to discover new ideas, doing a deep dive into a patient's chart to gain that insight that changes our understanding of what's going on with them – these are all expressions of that. Key to all this, my goal is to work with them to creatively solve significant problems with the solutions leaving the world at least a little bit better off.

Q: Why did you choose UW and what are you excited about at UW?

A: As I was starting the third phase of my career, I wanted to look for new adventures and opportunities. I spent the 1st phase learning to be a radiologist and educator, the 2nd doing those and a lot of administration. Now, I'm looking to administer less and explore more. UW is an exciting place to do so due to the variety, energy, and expertise of the people here. At this point, I'm not exactly sure where my path will lead, but I know that with the extraordinary people and resources here, the only limitation will be my imagination. That's exciting!

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I enjoy cooking, gardening, running the family tree farm, and concocting things in my basement workshop.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for the Department of Radiology

In December 2020, the FDA approved two COVID-19 vaccines through their Emergency Use Authorization. The two vaccines – manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, respectively – both require two doses spaced apart by at least a few weeks. According to the CDC, clinical trials have found the Pfizer vaccine to be 95% effective and the Moderna one to be 94.1% effective (CDC, 2020). After vaccine authorization, countries needed to create a plan for distributing vaccines. In the United States, the first people to get vaccinated are Group 1A, which is composed of frontline healthcare workers and nursing home personnel. The group is further subdivided based on the amount of patient contact that workers have. The vaccine rollout plan needs to address not only how to prioritize who receives the vaccination, but also must determine how to mitigate concerns amid those skeptical of the vaccine. According to the most recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, approximately 71% of Americans said they will either definitely or probably get the COVID-19 vaccine when available, while approximately 27% said they would either probably or definitely not get the vaccine, even if it was available and recommend by scientists (Hamel et al., 2020). Vaccinating 71% of the population may not be enough for herd immunity to take effect. UW Department of Radiology Vice Chair of Clinical Operations and Professor Michael J Tuite, MD, FACR, provided some information on the COVID-19 vaccine for members of the Department. Most Department of Radiology faculty and staff fall into the 1A group, with many already having received the vaccine or an invitation to get vaccinated. For those who have not yet received an invitation, be on the lookout for one soon. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are used at UW Health. People do not get to choose their vaccine, but they will be given the same vaccine for both doses. UW has two locations for providing COVID-19 vaccines. One is at the University Hospital, and the second location is a drive-thru option near The American Center hospital. The vaccine is free to UW health workers. COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory for UW employees due to the FDA approving the vaccines through emergency authorization. However, polls show that less than 10% of healthcare workers have declined the vaccine, which is significantly lower than polls of the general public indicate. Dr. Tuite relayed some information on the vaccine from current public health expert opinion. While there has not yet been sufficient time for vigorous research, experts believe the vaccine will be effective for the various strains of COVID-19 currently present. Experts also believe the vaccine should be effective for multiple years. While the vaccine roll-out is promising, it is still important to continue wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing. References CDC. (2020, December 28). Different COVID-19 Vaccines. Retrieved January 04, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html Hamel, L., Kirzinger, A., Muñana, C., & Brodie, M. (2020, December 22). KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: December 2020. Retrieved January 04, 2021, from https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/report/kff-covid-19-vaccine-monitor-december-2020/