Interview Series

Interview With Dr. Christine "Cooky" Menias

By Leila Jamal, University of Arizona College of Medicine MS4

Dr. Christine O. Menias is a Professor of Radiology in the Abdominal Radiology division of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Arizona, and currently serves as the first female Editor-in-Chief of RadioGraphics. Check out Dr. Menias @CasesCookyJar for educational content! 

What was the most challenging obstacle you faced in your journey to become a radiologist? 

In retrospect, the most challenging obstacle I faced as a trainee was my own lack of confidence in envisioning myself as a successful radiologist which further fueled the imposter syndrome created from training within a sea of greatness. Striving for excellence and investing substantial effort into my work, particularly knowing that I was contributing to the well-being of patients, was my motivation. However, it became paradoxical; the very significance of the task at hand, while inspiring, also weighed heavily on my perception of my abilities. This self-doubt hindered my ability to embrace opportunities to lead. Overcoming this hurdle required self-reflection and an acknowledgment of my accomplishments and hard work. Resilience, dedication, and a commitment to providing the best possible care for patients were qualities that contributed to my advancement in the radiology field.

What was the most supportive aspect of your journey in radiology?

In essence, the most supportive aspect of my journey was the convergence of support from multiple avenues. Socially, my family and the chairman and vice chairman at Washington University in St. Louis. 

What are some resources and advice you have for trainees experiencing imposter syndrome?

For trainees grappling with imposter syndrome, there are several empowering resources and pieces of advice that can help navigate this challenging mindset and foster personal and professional growth:

More about Dr. Christine O. Menias

Dr. Christine O. Menias is a Professor of Radiology in the Abdominal Radiology division of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Arizona. She joined Mayo Clinic in 2013, is a consultant in the Department of Radiology and Department of Surgery, and is the former Chair of the Division of Abdominal Imaging, Mayo Clinic-Arizona. Prior to this she was Professor of Radiology at Washington University, and co-director of Body CT and Emergency Radiology, in addition to being the Assistant Program Director of the radiology residency at Washington University. Check out Dr. Menias @CasesCookyJar for educational content! Dr. Menias is a recognized leader in the field of Abdominal Imaging, with special interests in oncologic, transplant, gynecologic and emergency radiology. She is an active member in many prestigious radiology societies and consistently invited to lecture at numerous national and international esteemed radiology conferences, including the Radiological Society of North America, American Roentgen Ray Society, American Society of Emergency Radiology, and many international societies. She was selected as the 2016-2017 Igor Laufer Visiting Professor of the Society of Abdominal Radiology (SAR), allowing her to lecture to over 20 national and international radiology institutions. Dr. Menias is a Diplomate in Radiology for the National Board of Medical Examiners, was an examiner for the American Board of Radiology from 2003-2021, and has published seven books, multiple book chapters, and over 320 peer-reviewed manuscripts. 

Dr. Menias prides herself most in being an educator and has received numerous teaching awards from residents and fellows, including multiple “Teacher of the Year'' honors, both at Washington University and at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Menias received the American Roentgen Ray Society Educator of the Year Award in 2019 and was awarded the most effective radiology educator by in 2022. Cooky received the Lifetime Honored Educator Award Recipient by the Radiological Society of North America in 2022. Dr. Menias’ clinical focus has been geared toward patient-centered care and her clinical expertise has been recognized by Mayo Clinic, having received the honor of Mayo Clinic Arizona Distinguished Clinician of the Year in 2018, an honor rarely given to a radiologist, and the award of which she is most proud. In 2020, she received the Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University, and was named an Evens Scholar, as one of six distinguished alumni of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in 2022, and was most recently awarded the Society of Abdominal Radiology Gold Medal for 2023, which is the highest recognition given by the Society. Dr. Menias currently serves as the first female Editor-in-Chief of RadioGraphics, our leading educational journal for Diagnostic Radiology, and splits her time between Mayo Clinic and the journal. 

Interview With Dr. Haley Foster

By Jina Lee, Georgetown University School of Medicine MS3

Dr. Haley Foster is currently a PGY-6 in the Integrated Interventional Radiology Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC

How has your experience been as a female IR physician? Have you faced any difficulties being in a traditionally male-dominated field? 

My experience as a female in interventional radiology has been very positive so far. I am lucky to have had several strong, female role models within the field, who support me and whom I continue to strive to be like every day. In my particular program, there is a large female predominance, both in the interventional and diagnostic radiology subspecialties, so my view may be slightly skewed compared to other practices.

How have you been able to juggle your responsibilities of being a resident and supporting your family? 

I think the most important thing to try and master while supporting both your family relationships and residency is time management. Trying to get my academic duties completed in an efficient and timely manner so that I can dedicate undivided attention to my family is extremely important to me.

Is there an ideal time during residency to start a family? 

The advice that I was given was that there is never a good time to start a family while in residency- and I definitely think that holds true. Depending on what both you and your partner do, one of you will likely always have a reason why it might be better next year or down the line. With both my partner and I being in residency, it was our opinion that if we waited for all of the stars to align for both of us then we would be waiting for quite a long time. Starting a family during residency has a few benefits, such as guaranteed paid family leave, that impacted our decision to start a family sooner rather than later. One specific factor that I kept in mind as an interventional radiology resident was the amount of radiation I was getting exposed to year by year which seems to reach a maximum during my final/fellowship year. As such, being pregnant when I had more diagnostic and clinical rotations was a better fit from that perspective.

What do you enjoy most about being an IR physician? 

My favorite part about being in interventional radiology is the huge breadth of pathology that we get to interact with on a day-to-day. It feels like the diseases that we can help diagnose, manage, or treat are limitless in that there isn’t a problem in the hospital that we can’t help find a solution for.

Do you have any advice on how to avoid physician burnout? 

Burn out is a huge issue in all specialties, especially during residency when it can feel like your time is not your own. I think this impacts people differently, and, as such, every one’s solution is different. I personally think that taking time to do things outside of studying or working, like exercising or developing some kind of hobby. Doing something for yourself that brings you joy allows you to feel like there is some degree of control in your day to day that you may not get at work.