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Interventional Radiology

Christine K. Chen, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Radiology (Preferred method of contact)

Christine K. Chen, M.D.

Secondary Contact

Marcin Kolber, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Radiology

About the Specialty

Interventional Radiologists are physicians who specialize in minimally invasive image-guided procedures. Interventional radiologists use a problem solving skill set that combines clinical, procedural, and imaging expertise to treat patients. They often utilize cutting edge technology in medicine and sometimes even become involved in the medical device and innovation process. They are not defined by organ system or pathology and work with many different types of physicians in the hospital. Interventional radiologists can also find themselves involved in the care of a patient who is too sick for any other therapy, requiring them to rely upon their innovative problem-solving skills to save the patient. – Society of Interventional Radiology

Answers to Common Questions

  • Attributes of a Competitive Student

    What factors typically make a student competitive for this specialty?

    As with all specialties, doing well with honors in both pre-clinical and clinical rotations, high test scores, and research help to make students competitive for IR. Additionally, shadowing and/or rotating through IR will allow them to demonstrate interest, insight into the specialty, and hands-on ability.

  • Research

    How important is research experience in your specialty? If important, does it need to be in the specialty itself?

    Any research experience is helpful, as it shows dedication to a project in whatever you were interested at the time. Of course, research in IR is helpful because it establishes interest in our field specifically.

  • Shadowing

    How can students identify opportunities for shadowing?

    Contact the Student Interest Group student leaders for information on shadowing.

  • Electives

    What electives would you recommend to a student who is interested in pursuing your specialty?

    Diagnostic Radiology elective, Interventional Radiology elective

    Based on your experience, what tips do you have for students to shine on your electives?

    Look up cases ahead of time and read about the procedure first. Scrub into cases to get hands-on experience handling the tools of the procedure. Follow up patients clinically after the procedure.

  • Away Rotations

    Does your specialty recommend doing away rotations?

    If you are interested in a specific institution or region, doing away rotations can be helpful. They are opportunities for people there to get to know you, your personality, and your work ethic. If you don’t have a specific region or program in mind, an away rotation would only help if you got a really stellar recommendation letter out of it.

    If your specialty recommends doing away rotations, how many “aways” do you recommend?


    If away rotations are necessary, when should they apply and when should they be completed?


  • Interview Timing

    Which month do you recommend taking off to interview?


  • Letters of Recommendation

    How many letters of recommendation are needed to apply to your specialty?

    A minimum of three letters is required.

    Does your specialty recommend that all letters of recommendation be written by members of your specialty?


    If letters can come from other disciplines, do you have a recommendation as to which disciplines are more highly valued?


    Does the academic rank of the letter writer matter?


    Does your specialty require a letter from the chairman?



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