Alumni Spotlight: Spring/Summer 2023

We recently caught up with three members of MIR’s 2011 residency class: Calvin L.T. Barnes, MD, a musculoskeletal radiologist at Coastal Imaging and Globis: Global Imaging Solutions in Savannah; Jessica Porembka (née Huang), MD, associate professor of radiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; and Vilaas S. Shetty, MD, a neuroradiologist at Mercy in St. Louis. We talked about why they chose MIR, the impact it had on their careers, and what they’re up to now.

Why did you choose MIR for your residency training?

Shetty credits his love of teaching, working with residents and aiding referring clinicians to his time and experience at MIR.

Barnes: When I went to MIR for my interview, there was such a palpable warmth among the faculty, and I could tell they were trying to probe not just my intelligence, but my character. It was a singular experience, and my other radiology interviews paled in comparison. My choice was obvious.

Porembka: MIR was the best fit for me given the strong clinical training and mentorship. I also chose MIR for its commitment to excellence in all aspects of radiology, including the clinical mission, education and research. 

Shetty: I was finishing up an internal medicine residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, so staying on was natural. I already knew that MIR was incredible, having ordered radiologic studies and procedures as an internal medicine resident and experienced the clinical product, and that I would come out well-trained. 

How would you describe your time at MIR? 

Porembka: The relationships I formed during my residency and fellowship have lasted through the years. 

Shetty: They were some of the best years of my life. I loved everything about the experience: the people, the work, the great cases and the conferences. 

Did any faculty members leave a particularly strong impression on you?

Porembka credits Barbara Monsees, MD, as one of the reasons she went into breast imaging

Barnes: A faculty member I think of often is Dr. Franz Wippold. No matter how many complex cases he read during the day, he would treat the last case as if it were the first, with a fresh mind (and wearing a bright, starched white coat daily!). I reflect on that often, and it drives me to make sure I am doing the same in my practice. 

Porembka: Barbara Monsees, Cooky Menias and Sanjeev Bhalla. Barbara Monsees was one of the reasons I went into breast imaging. 

What are some highlights about your specific residency class (Class of 2011)?

Barnes: The fondest memories of my co-residents are of board review. During that time, we really had a chance to hang out, share meals, talk about life and study like fiends. I was able to enjoy the sheer brilliance of my classmates and learn from our diversity in thought processes. 

Barnes (right), pictured here with wife, Ramona, and son, Rumi, says MIR was the clear frontrunner during residency interviews. 

Shetty: Board review (it was oral boards back then) definitely stands out. Our class spent so much time together that you really got to know everything about each other, especially what they were like under pressure. I spent so much time with my board review partners, Martin Reis and Srini Peddi, that they were like family. 

In what way did your training at MIR prepare you for your career path? 

Barnes: MIR didn’t coddle residents. We often had more hands-on experience in procedures than fellows coming from different institutions. The days spent in those reading rooms and interventional suites built a mental fortitude that has been invaluable, and I am eternally grateful for the education I received. 

Porembka and her family — husband, Matt, daughter, Lillian, and son, Christopher — enjoy spending their time traveling, as seen here on a recent trip to Alaska.

Porembka: I did both my residency and breast imaging fellowship at MIR. The breast imaging training I received was top-notch. It prepared me to directly enter private practice and start a breast imaging program coming out of fellowship. 

Shetty: The volume, variety of cases and autonomy are everything one would want in a residency program to become an accurate, independent and fast radiologist. My love of teaching, working with residents and aiding referring clinicians all came from my time at MIR. 

What are some of your interests beyond radiology? 

Shetty says he formed strong bonds with his co-residents, such as Vincent Mellnick, MD, and Rex Parker, MD, pictured here at the 2016 American Society of Emergency Radiology meeting in San Francisco.

Barnes: I am a professional jazz musician and when I am not in the reading room, I am often playing on a stage somewhere in the Savannah/Hilton Head region, saxophone in tow. 

Porembka: Traveling, spending time with family, hiking and reading. 

Shetty: I like trying new foods and restaurants (I am part of a dinner group with a few faculty from MIR that have become close friends) and playing board games. 

Published in Focal Spot Spring/Summer 2023 Issue