Welcome from the Diagnostic Radiology Chief Resident

Thank you for your interest in Southern Illinois University School of Medicine's Diagnostic Radiology residency program! Our residency offers an exciting and collegial environment to develop strong diagnostic/procedural skills, with research support through the dedicated SIU Center for Clinical Research. The program continues to evolve with the recent addition of a 4th residency slot as well as the inclusion of an early specialization in interventional radiology (ESIR) track, demonstrating our dedication to continuously evaluating and improving upon the modern DR residency experience and demands. Our residency stands out as a hybrid system, exposing the resident to a private practice setting surrounded by academia. Within these environments, one observes contrasting styles of practice, working with different mentors in fully staffed subspecialties, and gains experience with different PACS/dictation systems enabling technical versatility. Our well-trained attending physicians specifically volunteer for academic involvement, making clear their dedication to your education with a robust series of evolving, rotating lectures with a revamped focus on ABR CORE topics as well as daily one-on-one in-person checkouts. Many attending physicians share similar stories of their attraction to our institution or return to SIU due to their exceptional experiences (often as medical students or residents) with the people, health system, and education they received. SIU has great networking to renowned institutions; alma mater institutions of faculty and residents include Massachusetts General, Beth Israel Deaconess, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, University of California San Francisco, University of California San Diego, Emory, University of Michigan, Indiana University, Northwestern, Mallinckrodt (Washington University), Duke, Yale, et cetera with an exceptional list of fellowship placements.

While residents benefit from the attributes of our small-to-medium community setting in Springfield, the residency does not fall short on procedural experience, diagnostic examinations, library resources, or research opportunities. The primary hospitals in our program are Springfield Memorial Hospital (SMH) and HSHS St. John's Hospital(SJH). SMH is a 500-bed facility offering a comprehensive stroke care center, level 1 adult trauma, level 2 perinatal care, adult and pediatric emergency services, regional burn center, and a kidney transplant center. SJH is a 460-bed facility offering an emergency department capable of pediatric care/critical care, level 1 adult trauma, level 2 pediatric trauma, extensive cardiovascular services, primary stroke services, level 3 perinatal care, and a new dedicated women's and children's center. Our rotations are structured to take advantage of each unique healthcare system’s opportunities, to provide residents with a well-rounded and exceptional experience in diagnostic studies and procedures, as well as to set the individual for success on their board examination, fellowship, and eventual career path.

As one gains knowledge, experience, and confidence, the teaching process adapts to meet your needs in a process of graduated independence with procedural autonomy among our program highlights. Residents are the first to participate in dictating exams, performing procedures, or direct instruction from faculty without radiology fellows with whom to compete. These rotations often leave our residents far surpassing the minimum expectations set by the ACGME. Our Midwest interpersonal charm, low cost of living, and small-town benefits attract strong resident and attending physicians alike. Beyond gaining the necessary career skills, wonderful advocates and mentors to your education are plentiful and are invested in your success, including but not limited to Drs. Long, Zata, Baima, and Blitstein among many others.  

Open feedback is vital to our system and allowed to flourish with continuous, honest communication between residents and attendings to foster improvements in the resident experience, learning environment, needed resources, or even life advice. Resident wellness has been at the forefront of our program for years in keeping with the (finally) increased recognition of the consequences of ignored resident mental health/burnout. Iterative steps are actively made to improve residents’ lives and maintain work-life balance with assigned volunteer wellness coaches/mentors and the inclusion/active monitoring of Maslach burnout inventory scores, going beyond simple assigned wellness modules or vacuous wellness programs. 

In closing, our residency program offers a unique flexibility and opportunity during an unavoidably stressful residency training period. I cannot say enough positive things about my residency experience and how I will be forever grateful for the opportunities and education SIU has provided me as both an individual and as a radiologist. Even among the resident group, close bonds develop and result in lifelong friendships and professional contacts. Our camaraderie, mentorship, and diligence toward patient care drive resident satisfaction and career success. I can honestly say that these factors made the experience so much more enjoyable, and my time here is something I can positively reflect upon as a wonderful chapter of my education. We hope you consider our program during your interview season, wish you the best of luck, and remind you to enjoy the experience of residency! 

Please feel free to reach out to myself or the program director if you have any questions, and thank you for reading. 

Thomas Massutti, MD
Chief Resident 2023-2024
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program