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Meet Tom Cullen, MD: pediatric radiologist

19 Feb 2017

We enjoy introducing new providers who bring advanced expertise to our community. Meet Tom Cullen, who joined Salem Radiology Consultants in August 2016.

Specialty: Pediatric Radiology

Medical school: Louisiana State University at New Orleans School of Medicinecullen

Internship: Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans

Residency: Norwalk Hospital (Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital)

Fellowship: Stanford University School of Medicine

What is your background and education? 

I grew up in New England near Boston. After my under graduate work, I served in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa. Shortly thereafter, I volunteered in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. I met my wife there, and attended medical school at LSU in New Orleans. I returned to New England for residency at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut, followed by a fellowship in pediatric radiology at Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. 

Why did you choose the pediatric imaging specialty?

Pediatric radiology was a perfect way of combing my strongest interests in medicine. As a radiology resident, my most rewarding experiences were working closely with pediatric patients, their caregivers, and the referring pediatricians. I was able to witness the profound impact that pediatric radiologists could have on the early diagnosis and treatment of diseases unique to childhood. The potential for improving the quality of life for these patients and their families was why I entered the medical field. 

What’s your schedule? 

I spend a majority of my time between Salem and West Valley Hospital. I also rotate through Salem Clinic and Salem Radiology Consultants outpatient offices. I read both adult and peds imaging; most of my radiology training was in adult imaging, so I’m very comfortable with that.

What advantages to you bring to Salem Health?

My hope is that I will contribute to the excellent care that pediatrics patients receive here in Salem. I would like to serve as a resource to referring clinicians and provide additional skills and knowledge to our imaging services with the goal of improving and widening the scope of diagnostic and treatment services here. Recently, I was able to utilize my training in the diagnosis and treatment of a newborn with a bowel obstruction, and a young child with a bowel intussusception. The child with intussusception was able to avoid surgery as a result. I look forward to growing this capacity here to better serve our pediatric patients locally.

Why is your background important to local pediatrics?

My fellowship training allowed me to strengthen my knowledge of pediatric disease processes, as well as to hone my skills to in diagnostic imaging. Particularly, fluoroscopic and ultrasound exams, which are used extensively in pediatric imaging. We have an expression in pediatrics you’ve probably heard – kids are not tiny adults! They pose a different set of appearances, conditions and pathologies.

I look forward to getting to know our pediatricians and caregivers in Salem, as well as reaching out to clinicians coming here from the new OHSU Pediatric Specialty Clinic. We would like to provide imaging services to patients in this area who have previously had to travel outside of Salem for these examinations. 

What do you find the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of my job is having a positive direct impact on a child’s medical care and outcome. I also find great pleasure and satisfaction from communicating directly with a child’s family regarding the nature of an imaging test or diagnosis. As a parent, I understand the stress and uncertainty of having a sick child, and strive to help increase understanding and reduce anxiety for family members.

What are your outside interests? 

Exploring our new community and state! My wife is originally from Klamath Falls and was very glad to return home. We’re excited to raise our family here. Timothy is almost five, Eleanor is one and a half. We love spending time together outdoors —hiking and gardening in particular!