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7 Quick Questions with Pediatric Radiologist Reza Daugherty, MD

pediatric radiologist Reza Daugherty

Pediatric radiologists work with children who need imaging services, such as X-rays, ultrasounds or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These can include kids with:

Pediatric radiologist Reza Daugherty, MD, is a former pediatric emergency room doctor. He loves helping kids and their families, making sure that they understand what to expect.  

Meet Pediatric Radiologist Reza Daugherty

We asked Daugherty to answer our 7 Quick Questions.

1. Why did you become a doctor?

I grew up surrounded by a family of physicians. All of my maternal uncles, most of my aunts, and many of my older cousins were physicians. They played an important role in my upbringing, and as a child I wanted to emulate them. As I grew older I realized that it was in fact a great match for me, both personally and professionally.

2. Why pediatric radiology?

I took a rather circuitous route to pediatric radiology. I initially did a residency in general pediatrics because I have always felt a need to help and protect those who could not do so for themselves. As an aside, I am a strong animal rights advocate for the same reason.

I went on to complete a three year fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) and practiced for several years. But many things regarding the practice of PEM were not a good match for me, and I felt I wanted something different from my career.

So I made the very difficult decision to go back and do a diagnostic radiology residency later in life. I had always liked how medical imaging plays such an important role in patient care and the relationships built with referring providers.

Going on to do a fellowship in pediatric radiology after my residency seemed only natural. Though the road was long and winding, I believe it has made me a better pediatric radiologist. I have experiences and insights into my field that many of my colleagues do not.

3. What’s one thing about your specialty that might surprise people?

We are not constantly struggling to stay awake in the dark!

Pediatric radiology is the most intellectually demanding and rewarding thing I have done in my medical career. Each study I read is a real patient “sitting” before me. I owe it to them to give my full attention every single time.

Additionally, we have a continuous stream of referring providers coming into the reading room for consultation or with whom we are in multidisciplinary conferences. The reading room is an active and stimulating environment.

4. What’s the most exciting research happening in your field right now?

Most aspects of medical imaging are at the forefront of medicine. In large part this is due to the fact that we are so technology-dependent, and technology is constantly changing and improving.

One of the most exciting for me personally is the use of ultrasound contrast agents. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound allows us to see and diagnose so many things more accurately than we have ever been able to before. All without the use of ionizing radiation, a fact particularly important in children.

5. Where did you grow up?

My dad was an American soldier stationed in Iran during a time when relations between the two countries were excellent. He met my mom, fell in love with both her and the country, and planned to raise a family there.

I was born there a few years prior to the revolution, and my family was forced to leave as a result. We moved to the U.S. and I grew up just outside Philadelphia. I spent most of my life there before moving here to Charlottesville 2 years ago.

Imaging Services for Kids

Our pediatric radiology team is specially trained to provide safe care while calming your child's anxiety.

6.  Who is your inspiration or hero?

So many people have played an important role in who I am today. From my family growing up, to teachers in school, to faculty mentors during my training — they have all shaped who I am as a physician.

One of the greatest influences on who I am as a person is professor Peter Singer. His writings, in particular "Animal Liberation," have played a key role in developing my moral philosophy.

7. What’s your favorite thing about working at UVA?

The pediatric subspecialists. I have worked at other children’s hospitals and I have never had the privilege to work alongside a more caring, intellectually curious and just plain fun group of people! Working with them and helping the children of our community make my job an absolute joy.

View Transcript
Transcript: I'm Reza Daugherty. I'm the Chief of Pediatric Medical Imaging here at University of Virginia. As a pediatric radiologist, we take care of all facets of children, including abdominal problems, neurologic problems. Anything that affects kids spanning the entire age spectrum. I was a pediatric ER doctor for almost a decade. Because of my many years of clinical experience caring for patients directly, not just indirectly via diagnostic imaging, I think it's offered a lot of opportunities for me. I was able to understand on a first-hand experience what the patients go through, what it's like for them to try and navigate the medical system. How difficult it can be for the kids and their parents. And it helps me understand what the clinicians are looking for, and what questions they really need to be answered from us.

I'm passionate about helping kids and making sure that they are getting the optimal treatment that they deserve. Also making sure that the families are comfortable and understand what to expect, and what it means for their diagnosis that we give them, and to try and help them to the best of our abilities.

At UVA hospital, we care for our patients with the newest technology, and the best-trained physicians, and we do it from a family-centered care approach. Meaning we don't just take care of the children, we take care of their parents and extended family to the best of our ability.

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