Stephen Reis, MD, Appointed Program Director of the DR/IR Residency

Dr. Stephen Reis
Dr. Stephen Reis, assistant professor of radiology and program director for the Interventional Radiology Integrated Residency

The Department of Radiology is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Stephen Reis, assistant professor of radiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, as program director for the Interventional Radiology Integrated Residency.

Dr. Reis will develop, oversee, and continue to improve the curriculum and experience of the department's interventional radiology residents and fellows. “I look forward to working with the residents,” he said, “and to receiving mentorship from current residency leadership and learning from their years of experience.” 

Dr. Reis joined the Department of Radiology in 2016 and is a member of the Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology. Prior to his tenure with Columbia, he was on the faculty at University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, where he developed expertise with all interventional aspects of cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as the treatment of pelvic pain related to fibroids and pelvic congestion syndrome.

Dr. Reis has been dedicated to the teaching and mentoring of residents and fellows throughout his time at Columbia.  

Q & A with Dr. Reis

What has been your involvement with education up to this point?

The most important teaching I have done has been at the bedside. I think I've found a good balance between letting residents have the the autonomy to complete a procedure and being there to help them when they need it, rather than just taking over the procedure. Our entire division gives lectures to the residents. Additionally, I mentor fellows and residents with career advice—how to choose a job, how to conduct an interview, and other important aspects of their career.

What makes the Columbia residency stand out?

NewYork-Presbyterian is the fourth best hospital in the country, so outside of radiology—where we have really amazing diagnostic and interventional radiologists—you get to work with and learn from some of the best doctors in the world. We have world class transplant surgeons. We have world class oncologists. Because there is a high demand for these physician’s services, our residents see and interpret imaging that they might not get to do elsewhere. That's probably the biggest advantage of working at a place like Columbia.

For the IR/DR residency in particular, we have Tarrytown and 51st Street, which we call our office-based labs. Our residents and fellows spend about a third of their time at those locations. They get a unique view of how to run an outpatient IR practice, which we believe is the wave of the future and a unique aspect of their education here.

On the hospital side, the integration into the clinical services is a huge strength of our program. Residents rotate through the ICU, oncology, hepatology, and transplant services. We've had a lot of feedback from various services that just having an IR resident on their service opens their eyes as to what interventional radiologists can offer, which leads to better patient care—and more interesting procedures for our trainees.

Within our faculty we have very experienced interventional radiologists, who offer invaluable teaching, combined with younger faculty who are excited about teaching and mentoring and are more familiar with new radiology exams and the current job market. It creates a unique atmosphere and knowledge base.

What plans do you have for the DR/IR residency under your leadership?

One of my goals is to get the DR/IR residents more involved with IR during their first three years of residency—to expose them to the IR side earlier. I'm planning to create a book club, where one resident will present a chapter every other week, and maybe we'll do happy hour at the same time. Also, the IR faculty would like to start an interesting case conference for the residents. I'd also like to help residents work on longitudinal research projects that will be more meaningful than the shorter projects they do now.

We’re working on a business curriculum for the entire residency, which would offer lectures on things like marketing, basic accounting, quality improvement, personal finance, and billing and coding. I think will be valuable to the residents and unique to our program.

Finally, I'd like to create a more organized mentorship program. I think the incoming residents are really looking for guidance, and I think attaching each incoming resident to a senior IR resident and a faculty member would provide a multi-level mentorship structure.

How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the residents' experience?

New York saw the brunt of the pandemic last March and April. We had a huge influx of patients that totally changed the way the hospital worked. After we got through the initial phase, we had the summer months to plan and train and reorient the hospital to a new way of working. And now we're able to function efficiently and at full capacity in this new environment.

In IR, we taken COVID-19 and the implementation of Epic as an opportunity to drive business to our outpatient centers, and I think that's the safest place to do most procedures. Doing these procedures in the ooutpaitent setting will benefit the residents.

What do you love about resident education?

Education is the main reason I stayed in academics rather than choosing private practice for a career. I really enjoy working with the residents, seeing their excitement for learning, and having a fresh way to look at things every year. The camaraderie I have with the residents keeps me coming back to work everyday! I thrive on it.