Kristen at McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
Kristen at McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

Kristen Yeom MD
Professional Title: Associate Professor of Radiology
Locale: Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Fellowships: Neuroradiology
ASPNR member since 2010

ASPNR: What attracted you to pediatric neuroradiology?
Kristen Yeom: Our Stanford pediatric team- radiologists, technologists, nurses, and our amazing clinicians at Stanford. Everyone works hard not because they have to, but they are inspired together to fight disease and help our children get better.

ASPNR: Do you have a colleague or mentor that inspired you in your career?
KY: I’ve been lucky with mentors. Tom Carey, my lab PI at the University of Michigan, showed me that creative ideas abound inside us and can empower. Maybe his words worked like magic because I ended up doing all kinds of guinea pig work throughout my internship despite having no interest in basic science as a future career. Scott Atlas, my former boss, told me with absolute clarity that the best field in radiology is pediatric neuroradiology (and of course, he was right) and strangely believed in me when I had no idea what I was doing. Mike Edwards, our peds neurosurgeon, showed me how peds neuroradiology can truly change children’s lives. Thanks to Mike, I got to see all sorts of surgical videos and learned about perilous-sounding surgical techniques, occasionally finding myself in the OR scrubbed in, then panicking over cases piling up in the reading room. Now my students are my mentors because they are way smarter than me.

ASPNR: What is your favorite part of your job?
KY: I love hanging out with our peds clinicians. I get antsy when they don’t come to visit. I used to entice them to visit with chocolates and tea. I figured if my consult service didn’t work out, at least food will do the trick. They’ve taught me everything about peds neuroradiology that I know today. It’s also possible I’m finally learning on the job having done absolutely no reading during the fellowship. Another best thing about my job is the students. They teach me everything- I even get homework assignments from my students- for real.

ASPNR: What is the biggest challenge of your job?
KY: One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with our peds neuro specialists- whether it’s clinical volume or knowledge. We have over 30 child neurologists who are subspecialized in their own subfields, a growing group of subspecialty ENT surgeons and neurosurgeons, and other peds subspecialists, despite there being only a few of us in peds neurorads. I’m hoping AI will come and rescue me.

ASPNR: What is the most interesting project you are working on right now?
KY: Like I said, I really hope this AI thing works out to help us. Right now, I’ve dug deep into computer vision- spanning all neuroradiology and neurosurgical topics, including tumors, vascular, stroke/HIE, development and aging, fetal brain, and some non-neuro topics.

ASPNR: Name a helpful online resource that your colleagues may not be aware of
KY: (coming soon in 2019!). This one is something I have been working on with my students to foster image-based research in machine learning. I hope to share all sorts of learning models from our lab, so we can all share and learn from each other.

ASPNR: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
KY: I took a personality test one time, and it said my best career fit would be a Forest Ranger. I think the test was spot-on because I always find myself roaming in American National Parks. Two summers ago, I was scared I could be mauled by the Grizzlies in Montana, but luckily, I made it back.

ASPNR: Will you be attending the 2nd ASPNR meeting in January 2020 in Miami?
KY: Yes, most definitely! Miami will be amazing!

January 28th, 2019