Community Radiology Clinical Assistant Professor Kelly Capel, MD completed her residency in Diagnostic Radiology and her Neuroradiology fellowship at UW before becoming a faculty member. Learn more about Dr. Capel below.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Kenosha, WI
Q: Where did you attend Medical School?
A: Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL
Q: Why did you choose Radiology?
A: I was interested in multiple areas as a medical student, but I felt that in a large majority of complicated cases, the next step often depended on imaging. I felt helpless at times when I was dependent on radiology reads to dictate management of my patients. I wanted to be able to incorporate my clinical knowledge with imaging findings to impact patient care and outcomes.
Q: What is your specialty?
Q: What are your career interests and goals?
A: My specific interests are in head and neck imaging and perfusion and flow imaging with a focus on strokes. I am working on some research in these areas with Dr. Strother, Dr. Eisenmenger, Dr. Aagaard-Kienitz, and the medical physics team. In the future, I aspire to increase my focus on teaching medical students and radiology residents, as I find education extremely rewarding. My drive in education was always question and case based. Why are we doing this imaging study? Why did we choose to image the patient this way? What is the clinical impact, and how can we (in radiology) add value? With great mentors like Tabby Kennedy and Jason Stephenson, I can only hope to follow in their footsteps with a career focused on education.
Q: Why did you choose UW/What are you excited about at UW?
A: When I came to UW to interview as a medical student, I was specifically interested in programs with a well-organized and thorough education curriculum. I still remember my interview with Dr. Allison Grayev discussing the neuro curriculum for residents. Maybe that was my first step into Neuroradiology? I was excited about how welcoming the faculty were to trainees, how many residents were on a first name basis with attendings, and how the staff were passionate about teaching. Research resources seemed plentiful with a goal of innovation throughout all sections of the department.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: My guilty pleasure is that I love trivia. Before the pandemic, I enjoyed going to trivia nights, traveling across the country and internationally, and attending Badger games here in Madison. For now, I mostly spend my free time playing with my kids, Owen (2.5 years) and Ava (8 months). Since I played college soccer, I enjoy kicking the ball around and running when the weather permits. Hopefully, I will get back into playing guitar more as my kids grow up.
In 2015 Assistant Professor Alejandro Roldán-Alzate, PhD started the Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. The lab uses medical imaging, additive manufacturing, and computational fluid dynamics to analyze physiological and pathological flows. Using their research findings, the lab collaborates with physicians to develop improved diagnostic and surgical planning techniques. Continue reading to learn more about this dynamic lab and their current research projects.
Dr. Roldán-Alzate is a biomedical engineer by training, and obtained his PhD in mechanical engineering, with a focus on numerical simulation of physiological flows. This background gives him a unique perspective and allows him to approach cardiovascular health issues from a technical angle. “I have always been interested in applying engineering to solve health problems, specifically those dealing with fluid dynamics,” says Dr. Roldán-Alzate.
While there have been many research projects, Dr. Roldán-Alzate’s favorite so far has been implementing 3D printing and fluid dynamics modeling for congenital heart disease. 3D printed physical models based on patient scans allow for simulation of surgical interventions and control of fluid properties. Combining these techniques allows for procedures to be tailored toward individual patients, leading to improved diagnostic and surgical outcomes. Dr. Roldán-Alzate has worked on this project in many stages, from fetal hearts to patients already treated with surgery, and has had the opportunity to improve his methods and see his work in clinical use.
The Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Lab is currently working on several exciting projects. One project is focused on non-invasive assessment of hemodynamics in different cardiovascular conditions such as congenital heart disease, atrial fibrillation, portal hypertension, and more. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of cardiac arrythmia worldwide. The lab is using 4D flow MRI, fluid dynamics, and physical model experiments with pulse duplicators to better understand atrial fibrilization hemodynamics. The research aims to improve MR diagnostics for detection and treatment.
Another project the lab is working on is implementing computational simulation-based machine learning to enhance 4D flow MRI. By combining 4D flow MRI data with computational fluid dynamics-informed neural networks, the lab is able to produce highly accurate physiological flow fields. This allows them to overcome quantitative and qualitative analysis errors inherent to phase contrast MRI, which is an MRI method used to determine flow velocities and provide 4D imaging.
The lab branched out from its cardiovascular-focused research to study urinary flow dynamics. Specifically, they are looking at non-invasive assessment of urodynamics in patients with prostatic problems. Using advanced MRI sequences and computational fluid dynamics, their research is predicting how urinary tract flow dynamics during voiding are affected by benign prostate hyperplasia and lower urinary tract symptoms.
In addition to these projects, the lab is focused on gold standard validation of their quantitative flow dynamics metrics that they’ve derived from 4D flow MRI by using high-definition optical methods. They are continuing to develop methodologies for manufacturing 3D printed patient-specific organ models. They are also using hydrogels and polymeric resins to develop MRI phantoms for different applications.
The lab may be busy with all their current projects, but they continue to look towards the future of their research. Dr. Roldán-Alzate plans to continue developing in vivo, in vitro, and computational methods for assessing cardiovascular conditions. He also wants to further expand their research to study physiological and pathological flows beyond the cardiovascular system.
While the Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Lab may appear to be a technical engineering lab, the team is here to make physician’s jobs easier and improve care for patients. Dr. Roldán-Alzate is proud of the way the lab’s research is able to help solve health problems. “Having the ability to get the model of a patient’s heart in the surgeon’s hands before surgery gives the surgeon the opportunity to determine their strategy and improve their techniques so the patient has the best possible outcome,” says Dr. Roldán-Alzate.
Assistant Professor Lindsay Stratchko, DO, comes to UW with a unique skillset, as she was fellowship trained in both Musculoskeletal and Interventional Radiology. She is spearheading a new program in MSK Interventional Oncology (IO) in collaboration with the UW Ablation IO group. Learn more about Dr. Stratchko below.
Where are you from?
Where did you attend Medical School?
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Why did you choose Radiology?
I chose radiology for the diversity of imaging, pathology and patient populations. The ability to perform minimally invasive image-guided procedures also led me to my decision to pursue radiology residency and fellowships in musculoskeletal imaging and intervention, as well as interventional radiology.
What is your specialty?
What are your career interests and goals?
I am interested in interventional oncology as well as interventional spine and pain procedures.
Why did you choose UW/What are you excited about at UW?
? The faculty, staff and trainees at the University of Wisconsin are exceptional and I'm proud to call them colleagues. We are also fortunate to have the support and resources at UW to study, develop, and provide high quality care to patients all across Wisconsin (and beyond).
What are your hobbies?
Hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, yoga, horseback riding.
Clinical Assistant Professor Minnie Kieler, MD is a new member of the Community Radiology section. Learn more about Dr. Kieler below.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, which is in the Eastern part of Africa, straddling the equator- fabulous weather all year round! At 19 years old, I left Kenya for the UK to study, and ever since I have travelled extensively and lived in many other parts of the world, so I consider myself a global citizen.
Q: Where did you attend Medical School?
A: University of Manchester Medical School, Manchester, England
Q: Why did you choose Radiology?
A: Lots of positive attributes attracted me to radiology, not least the prospect of a good work-life harmony, the diversity of patients seen in a day, and the role of a being a detective as well as a consultant to other providers as you help in problem solving. I was fortunate during my medical school training to have a facilitator/supervisor who happened to be a radiologist, Dr. Richard Whitehouse, and who was instrumental in exposing me to radiology early on.
Q: What is your specialty?
A: Abodminal imaging as well as Nuclear medicine and molecular imaging
Q: What are your career interests and goals?
A: Education, mentoring and global radiology
Q: Why did you choose UW/What are you excited about at UW?
A: UW is a gem! Exceptionally smart, outstanding and the loveliest people make it an excellent place to be, and I'm excited to be part of this family!
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: With two lovely and lively toddlers at home, my hobbies have had to undergo some kind of evolution – I currently enjoy family time and being outdoors, especially during summertime as we get to boat and take walks/hike. We also love travelling far and wide, although at the moment this has kind of stalled and we can't wait to get back to it.
The UW Liver Imaging Research Program (LIRP) was started in 2009 by Vice Chair of Research and Professor Scott Reeder, MD, PhD. The LIRP is a multidisciplinary lab based in Radiology and Medical Physics, but with multiple collaborators across numerous departments at UW. The program aims to develop advanced imaging techniques, with a focus on MRI, to detect and quantify diseases in the liver and abdomen to improve patient care. Continue reading to learn more about the LIRP and its current research projects.
Dr. Reeder was interested in starting the lab for multiple reasons. He is deeply interested in imaging technology and believes there are many opportunities to invent, develop, and apply new imaging devices. In addition to the technology, the liver is a unique organ with many important unanswered questions that are important to address to improve human health. “The liver is a remarkably interesting organ that is involved in multiple disease properties, such as metabolic diseases, obesity, and iron overload. It is important for cancer research, both for primary liver cancer and metastatic diseases. There is a lot of fascinating pathophysiology in the liver, which keeps the research exciting,” he says.
The LIRP also provided Dr. Reeder an opportunity to combine his knowledge from multiple specialty trainings into a concentrated area of research. He specialized in both abdominal and cardiovascular imaging, and clinically oversees the Department’s MRI service. While the liver is in the abdominal cavity, it has important interactions with the cardiovascular system. It is one of the only organs in the body that gets dual blood supply, from the hepatic artery and portal vein, with unique hemodynamics. Dr. Reeder’s combination of experience and knowledge have helped shape LIRP into an impactful research group around the world. “Under Dr. Reeder’s leadership, the LIRP is a world-class research group that combines cutting-edge technical development with real-world impact in clinical imaging,” says Assistant Professor and affiliated faculty of the LIRP Diego Hernando, PhD.
Collaboration is key in the LIRP, as researchers work closely with other labs in the Department and around the country. One lab that they collaborate with frequently is the Quantitative Imaging Methods Lab (QIML), directed by Dr. Hernando. Currently, the two labs are working on numerous research projects. One of these projects is focused on developing and validating MRI methods for quantifying fat and iron in the liver. This project is being worked on by Ruiyang Zhao, Dr. Reeder, Dr. Hernando, Dr. Kevin Johnson, and Dr. Jitka Starekova. The initial results are promising, and current projects are focused on optimizing and evaluating these methods in a systematic manner. In addition to this project, the labs are working together to develop AI-based methods for automated image prescription of liver MRI. They are also completing a multi-center study to validate rapid and reproducible MRI-based quantification of liver iron overload at various locations with different MRI vendors and protocols.
The LIRP is launching a major research project focused on measuring blood flow to the liver in patients with cirrhosis. A potential deadly complication of cirrhosis is varices, which is when veins become dilated to the point where they can burst and bleed catastrophically. The lab is developing methods to noninvasively determine which patients are more likely to have varices so that hepatologists can take preventive measures.
There are many other exciting research projects currently happening in the LIRP. One project is focused on MR elastography to measure liver stiffness as a biomarker of inflammation and fibrosis in chronic liver disease. Another is using relaxometry to measure MRI properties of the liver that indicate the presence of inflammation and allow the researchers to quantify iron concentration and liver fat. The lab also has projects looking at the esophagus in early disease and precancerous states. And recently, the lab published a paper in JAMA on myocarditis in athletes who tested positive for COVID-19. One thing is for sure, the lab is keeping busy pushing the bounds of liver research!
Throughout its years, the LIRP has consistently focused on quantitative imaging biomarkers. A lot of imaging is qualitative, and the lab wants to turn these qualitative descriptors into quantitative measures with specific values. For example, signal intensity of an image could have corresponding values for fat concentration within the liver. This is Dr. Reeder’s favorite research within the lab, and will continue to be one of the lab’s main focuses going forward. “Our goal is to develop precise, accurate biomarkers. We want to create reliable markers that work every single time to make these imaging methods more impactful for providers and for patients,” Dr. Reeder says.
One of the best things about the LIRP is the interaction with so many great people. “We're very lucky to have a group of really terrific, kind, smart, hardworking people, and it is a fabulous working environment. It is a lot of fun to come to in each day and work with these very special and talented people,” says Dr. Reeder.
Neuroradiology Section Chief and Associate Professor Tabby Kennedy, MD was awarded the Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association’s (WMAA) Clinical Science Teaching Award. Each year, a clinical science teacher from Madison, La Crosse, Marshfield, Milwaukee, and Green Bay is selected as an award recipient. The UW fourth year medical students voted and chose Dr. Kennedy to receive the award this year, which will be presented to her during the virtual Match Day celebration for fourth year medical students on March 19th.
This award, which recognizes Dr. Kennedy for her commitment to excellent teaching, is one of multiple awards that she has received recently for her educational efforts. Last year, she was selected as a faculty inductee into the UWSMPH Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honor Society, and received the Women in Neuroradiology Leadership Award. Earlier this year, she was awarded the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) 2021 Outstanding Contributions in Neuroradiology Education Award.
Dr. Kennedy says that having the medical students choose her for this award makes it special. “There is nothing more rewarding than being recognized by one’s students. I am honored to have been selected by the graduating fourth year medical students for this year’s clinical science teaching award,” she says.
Congratulations Dr. Kennedy, and thank you for your dedication to our students!
Join the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in recognizing residents and fellows on Thank A Resident Day, which is being celebrated Friday February 26th. ACGME will be recognizing residents and fellows on social media with the hashtag #ThankAResidentDay. They are encouraging others to share messages on Twitter using the hashtag to thank the residents they work with or to give recognition to their own residency and fellowship programs. Those who tweet should make sure to tag ACGME (@acgme), as they will be retweeting messages throughout the day to help spread gratitude and show support.
The UW Department of Radiology has three residency programs in Diagnostic Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, and Interventional Radiology. The department has fellowships in Abdominal Imaging and Intervention, Breast Imaging and Intervention, MRI, Combined MRI/MBA, Musculoskeletal Imaging and Intervention, Neuroendovascular surgery, Neuroradiology, PET-CT/Molecular Imaging, and Cardiothoracic Imaging. You can see face sheets of the 2020-2021 Residents and Fellows below.
Thank you to our residents and fellows for their hard work and dedication, we appreciate you all!
Director of Medical Student Education and Associate Professor Jason Stephenson, MD, Neuroradiology Section Chief and Associate Professor Tabby Kennedy, MD, and Medial Education Research and Outreach Services Coordinator Katie Yang, MSC, received a $5,000 Instructional Continuity Grant from UW to transform their course’s discussion board assignment into a synchronous discussion series. Instructional Continuity Grants from UW aim to enhance student-to-instructor interaction and student-to-student interaction and learning for the spring of 2021.
Drs. Stephenson and Kennedy are co-instructors for the medical student Diagnostic Radiology Elective, which is being held virtually due to COVID-19. Concerned by the lack of opportunities for students to connect and work with one another while on the rotation, they teamed up with Yang, who has advanced training in facilitating classroom discussion, to convert the previous discussion board assignment into synchronous discussion sessions where students can collaborate with their peers. Yang is facilitating the discussions each week.
The Diagnostic Radiology Elective has 11 two-week rotations during spring 2021. The discussion board assignment has four prompts, and each prompt is now offered as a 40-minute discussion session, with two sessions available each week. Students can either participate in the synchronous discussion session or respond to the online written version of the prompt. This flexibility is key, as it accommodates students who have difficulty attending the synchronous sessions at their set times.
The elective primarily teaches students that are pursuing non-radiology specialties, and because of this the instructors want the synchronous discussions to help students critically reflect on interprofessional issues in radiology and consider the perspectives of others. The instructors are excited for the grant, as they believe it will help them provide a better educational experience for the students. “It’s very humbling to have the opportunity to create new sessions to engage students with one another, and I’m incredibly grateful to the Instructional Continuity team for the award,” says Yang.
So far, the synchronous discussions sessions have been successful. “Though attendance at these sessions is optional, the first sessions have been well-attended. Students have provided informal feedback that they enjoy speaking with other students relative to posting on a discussion board,” says Yang.
Congratulations to the Director of Head and Neck Imaging and Associate Professor Greg Avey, MD for receiving the Financial Education Research Grant from the AccessLex Center for Education and Financial Capability®. The grant, which is for $94,749, will fund Dr. Avey’s research on the impact that financial wellness courses have on the wellbeing of young physicians. The research is starting right here at UW, where Dr. Avey implemented a financial wellness elective course for fourth-year medical students in the spring of 2020.
For many years, Dr. Avey has been providing seminars on personal finance for radiology residents and fellows to promote their financial and personal wellness, both in training and as they transition into their careers. He was approached by UWSMPH medical student Chris Sweeney, who was searching for a financial literacy course at the medical school and had heard about the work Dr. Avey did with residents. The culmination of their collaborative efforts was an elective created to help fourth-year medical students gain more in-depth knowledge about student loans, investing, insurance, and planning for their financial future. His work on this elective course led to Dr. Avey’s nomination for the White Coat Investor Financial Educator of the Year award in 2020, where he was one of eleven finalists.
Given the diverse topics, the elective course relies on a team of content experts in each individual area. “We have a core team that helped us get this course running and ensured that we have enough experience and a broad exposure to topics. Specifically, I want to thank Chris Sweeney; Emma Crawford, Manager of SMPH Financial Aid and Financial Wellness; Associate Professor Cliff Robb, PhD, in the Consumer Science Department at the UW School of Human Ecology (SOHE); and Brianne Camacho, Financial Aid and Financial Wellness Advisor, for the hard work they have put in to help set-up this course,” says Dr. Avey.
For example, the team brings in experts – financial planners, insurance experts, student loan experts, and more – to provide up-to-date teachings within their respective fields. Despite this use of financial experts, the course is not focused on speculating which stocks will rise or listing the best investments on the market. “The class is designed to give students the opportunity to consider what is important to them and their career arc. When people look at their priorities for the future, there are natural financial and wellness decisions that flow from that knowledge,” says Dr. Avey. With this focus, the course helps students create individualized plans based on their priorities and goals with support from a variety of financial experts.
The course content is tailored towards medical students on the verge of graduation, and high student loan debt is a key concern among these students. The current median debt among medical school graduates is $241,600 (Hanson, 2020), but new physicians graduating from residency with $350,000 to $500,000 in debt is not uncommon. The course aims to provide students with the knowledge and financial tools to manage their loans and make well-informed decisions about their future. In addition to loans, the course compares the pros and cons of renting or buying housing during residency. It also addresses saving for retirement, budgeting, investing, insurance, and more.
One of the most important aspects of the course is the physician lens through which it is taught. “What makes this course different from other financial courses is the emphasis on the physician point of view on finances. Physicians are in a unique position because they start with so much debt and yet have the high potential for income. Presenting information from a physician’s perspective is necessary, as it allows instructors to empathize with the students and understand both their opportunities and challenges,” says Dr. Avey.
Now in only its second year, the elective has already become a popular course. When it was first offered in spring 2020, about one-fourth of the medical class enrolled in the course. Now the course is at capacity, with about half of the current graduating class enrolled. “We are excited about the response we are getting from medical students. They are ecstatic about the course, giving it glowing reviews and stating how applicable the content is to their lives,” Dr. Avey mentions.
With the initial positive feedback on the course, Dr. Avey’s team is excited for the grant and the approval to start their financial wellness education research. “We were very pleased. Not many medical schools have a program similar to this. We were glad to get this support because it is a novel program, and we hope to better understand its impact on students,” he says.
In the course, students take pre- and post- surveys to determine how much their views on financial topics have changed, and to see if the course is having a positive impact on their knowledge of and feelings on financial wellness. The grant Dr. Avey received will help as he continues to study the short and long-term effects of financial wellness education and how the course impacts physicians throughout their careers.
In terms of future plans, the vision for this course and the related research is to take the teachings to a broader audience. “We want to help students become highly effective physicians that achieve success in every area of their lives, and we believe reducing financial stress can help our students attain this goal,” says Dr. Avey. He hopes to help create similar courses for other medical schools and find ways to disseminate knowledge further using publications and other resources.
While the plans for this project are ambitious, the course’s initial success and the potential to improve the lives of physicians make it an exciting prospect. “We have been excited about the positive feedback we’ve gotten so far. It is gratifying to do this in the first place, because I think we will have a significant impact on a huge class of physicians as they move forward. We are hoping that they will have less stress and lower rates of burnout as they embark on their careers,” says Dr. Avey.
Hanson, M. (2020, September 08). Average Medical School Debt. Retrieved from https://educationdata.org/average-medical-school-debt
Neuroradiology Section Chief and Associate Professor Tabby Kennedy, MD has been awarded the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) 2021 Outstanding Contributions in Neuroradiology Education Award. Dr. Kennedy is passionate about teaching and wants to increase learner engagement. Since starting at UW, she has spent considerable time creating educational tools and resources on complex radiology topics. She developed two websites – one on Neuroradiology and the other on Head and Neck Radiology – to facilitate the learning and growth of medical students and residents worldwide. The websites have amassed over a million views.
“I am honored and humbled by this award. There are so many respected educators in ASNR, so to have been nominated and actually selected as one of the inaugural recipients is overwhelming. I am grateful to all of my mentors and sponsors who have opened doors and given me an opportunity to excel,” she says.