Rouzbeh Mashayekhi, MD, Third-Year Radiology Resident
As a resident on overnight call, you really see your impact when you make a diagnosis and that patient ends up going to the operating room within hours.
Rouzbeh Mashayekhi is using his residency to explore radiology from all angles. He is vice president of the resident/fellow section of the American College of Radiology (ACR) New York State Radiology Society, where he works on issues relevant to residency training and advocacy. He is involved in research projects that involve collaborations with faculty in the Department of Ophthalmology. He gives lectures to medical students. And that's all in addition to exploring radiology subspecialties through his clinical rotations.
He loves it all. "I chose radiology because I love how diverse it is, meaning it applies to every part of the body, from head to toes, and to every kind of patient, from the neonates to the elderly," Mashayekhi says. "And it has such a big impact at the population level as well, whether through screening or research."
Born in Iran, Mashayekhi is a third-generation physician—the grandson of one of the country's leading pediatricians and the son of an ophthalmologist who specializes in eye cancer. When Mashayekhi was eleven, his family immigrated to the United States. He started sixth grade one week after he arrived in Philadelphia, speaking hardly any English.
Challenging as it was, Mashayekhi says the experience shaped him. "I learned to adapt quickly to new environments and to communicate with people from different backgrounds," he says, adding that these skills were important when he started his residency, during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
From there, Mashayekhi went on to get an undergraduate degree from NYU, a medical degree from Johns Hopkins, and a masters of public health from Harvard University. He chose Columbia for his residency because it offered the kind of complex and interesting cases he was hoping to learn from. "I also like that we work in one medical center and get to know the faculty and my co-residents really well," he says. "I knew I would become a strong and well-rounded radiologist here."
As a specialty, radiology has lived up to Mashayekhi's hopes and expectations. "I've been amazed by the amount of knowledge radiologists have and the critical role we play in patient care," he says. "As a resident on overnight call, you really see your impact when you make a diagnosis and that patient ends up going to the operating room within hours."
Mashayekhi feels particularly drawn to the work he has done with the ACR. "That's been one of the highlights of my residency so far." As vice president of the resident/fellows section, he meets regularly with radiologists from across New York State and helps plan events and workshops. Last year, he was part of a group that advocated for the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which establishes funding and requires other activities to improve mental and behavioral health among health care providers.
He plans to continue to use his leadership position at the ACR to help spread the word about radiology. One of his priorities is finding ways to expose more medical students to the specialty.
"Radiology is such an exciting field to be part of," Mashayekhi says. "I’m excited for the future of the field and the ever increasing critical role of radiology in providing excellent and compassionate patient care."