Welcome from Chiefs

Welcome from the Chiefs

Thank you for your interest in our residency program! As chief residents for the 2018-2019 academic year, we would like to highlight a few distinguishing features of our city and program.

Life in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a revitalized medium sized cosmopolitan city with a vibrant lifestyle for over 2.6 million metropolitan area residents. Located between the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers, Pittsburgh offers affordable living, attractive safe neighborhoods and many indoor and outdoor activities. Pittsburghers are particularly proud of their championship caliber professional sports teams, army of driverless robotic Uber cars, world-class universities and hospitals, restaurants, art, and music scenes.
Several articles have outlined the renaissance of Pittsburgh and have documented the rising profile of our city as both a great place to live and as a destination for travelers:

#3 - 10 Insanely Affordable Summer Destinations for 2017 – USA Today
#4 - The 17 Best Places to Travel in 2017 – Harper’s Bazaar
#1 - Most Livable City in the Continental US - The Economist
#1 in Northeast - The 5 Best Big Cities - Time Magazine
#1 of 17 - America's Best Food City - Zagat
#1 - National Geographic link
National Geographic listed Pittsburgh among 30 of the Best Cities in the United States based on unconventional metrics believed to lead to happiness, including: green spaces, galleries, coffee shops, breweries, music venues, "Instagrammable" moments, and more.
Dreaming of Pittsburgh – The Wall Street Journal
From Steel to Tech, Pittsburgh Transforms Itself - NPR - All Things Considered
Living Well, On Location - Huffington Post

Pittsburgh is divided into distinct neighborhoods, each with their own character. The most popular with our residents over the years have been Lawrenceville, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, the Strip District, Mt. Washington, Downtown, East Liberty and the South Side. Each have distinct nightlife options, breweries, distilleries, festivals, farmer’s markets, restaurants and personality. Only a short drive from the city, the suburbs of Pittsburgh including the North Hills, Fox Chapel, Sewickley and Mount Lebanon offer top-rated schools and further entertainment options. Living a good life in Pittsburgh on a resident salary is possible for both single residents and those with families!

Case Volume/Diversity/Complexity:

The UPMC system is comprised of more than twenty-five hospitals with greater than 5,000 licensed beds in western and central Pennsylvania. As residents, we physically rotate at six hospitals (all within a 4-mile radius). While we are certainly a large academic program with rotations at multiple quaternary referral centers, reading studies remotely from smaller community hospitals within the UPMC system provides an excellent case mix of both extremely rare and high level as well as common pathologies.
At our main academic site, UPMC Presbyterian, we see complex pathology, rare surgical pathologies, complex interventional radiology cases, level 1 trauma and multivisceral transplants. In addition, we are fortunate to rotate frequently at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, ranked amongst the best children’s hospitals in the country by US News and World Report. This diverse case mix combined with attendings’ willingness to teach allowed our program to win the “Most Best Case Submissions” award at the American Institute of Radiology and Pathology course in Washington, DC in 2016 and 2017!
We truly feel that the education at UPMC rivals any program in the country. Our volume is extraordinarily high and we are a “resident-driven” as opposed to “fellow-centric” department. You will work hard here and as a result, you will become an excellent radiologist. Due to our reputation, volume, and case complexity, as well as our extensive alumni network, our residents are highly sought after by private practice groups and major academic institutions around the country. In fact, many current and past academic chairs as well as those in leadership positions in national radiology organizations have trained at UPMC.

New Radiology Department:

We are not in the basement! Completed in April 2015, the nearly $50 million renovation to the Department of Radiology places us in the main lobby of UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Our central location allows for a more patient-centered imaging experience and is more conducive to collaboration with clinical colleagues. Our new department is equipped with a beautiful resident lounge with attached call-room, state-of-the art conference room, ergonomic reading rooms and four new angio suites. Our outreach extends even to the point of having various reading rooms embedded in the hospital clinics, for example ENT and Neurology. This fosters intense clinical collaboration with our colleagues and provides opportunities to correlate our imaging findings in real life alongside our surgeons and patients.

Clinical Radiology:

The spirit of traditional “Radiology Rounds” by referring clinicians lives on here at UPMC. While our medical and surgical colleagues are frequent guests in the reading room, we have also instituted a program in which residents can volunteer to meet with the Internal Medicine housestaff teams on the floors to review imaging and teach their colleagues about the indications, utility, and findings on radiology studies. Beyond that, we have a dedicated R3 elective in which residents participate on rounds discussing imaging findings with our ICU teams. Our physical presence on the floors and in the clinics emphasizes the added value of our radiologists and provides a prime educational opportunity for developing important skills as an imaging consultant. We are also proud to play an active role in medical student education for the University of Pittsburgh with multiple lectures, USMLE board reviews, and hands-on medical student events throughout the academic year. If the idea of being an actively engaged, clinically-oriented radiologist appeals to you, know that UPMC radiology is committed to supporting this model of practice.


The responsibilities of first year residents outside of the normal work day are minimal, allowing them to focus on reading and learning the fundamentals of radiology. R2 residents carry more of the call-burden as the R3 residents are excused from all call responsibilities after February for board studying. R4 residents essentially design their own schedules, allowing them to complete focused training in their areas of interest. We utilize a night float system with three residents working on any given night; responsibilities consist of preliminary interpretations of STAT in-patient cross-sectional studies.


The UPMC Department of Radiology is one of the largest in the country, with over 200 clinical and research faculty. We currently rank among the top with respect to NIH research funding and several residents were awarded 2018 RSNA research grants. In the 2017-2018 academic year, 79% of our residents were involved in at least one research project; our cumulative tally over the last 12 months was 17 publications, 34 national/regional presentations and 13 book chapters. We also have one of the first well-established 3D Printing laboratories in the country which is used for teaching, research and clinical applications. Although we have many research-minded residents in our program, no one feels obligated to participate. Many residents participate in educational activities such as lecturing for medical and physician assistant students or teaching point-of-care ultrasound skills to global health residents. In addition, there are many opportunities for quality improvement and administrative roles including safety and graduate medical education committees.


We have six UPMC affiliated moonlighting sites throughout the city and local suburbs. Approximately 30 weekly shifts are assigned to R2-R4 residents. Moonlighting responsibilities are freely traded among residents and are not mandatory, though they are highly coveted. Two of our sites, the UPMC center for Sports Medicine and the Lemieux Sports Complex, house practice facilities for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Clinical Informatics:

We have a fantastic Informatics program, headed by Dr. Chris Deible, one of our academic cardiac radiologists. UPMC is currently collaborating with GE Healthcare for a new, state-of-the-art PACS system designed "by radiologists, for radiologists.” This is coined Next Generation Imaging (NGI). GE software developers shadow our attendings and residents, giving input regarding interface and usability preferences. The PACS that we help to develop will be rolled out nation-wide as part of GEs NGI initiative.

We wish you all the best and thank you for your interest!

Yasmin Akbari, MD
Alex El-Ali, MD
Andrew Klobuka, MD
2018-2019 Chief Residents