Dr. Kristen Pope always knew that she wanted to be a doctor. Even at a young age, she found herself fascinated by the human body and how it works. She was able to pursue her passion and attended medical school at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Dr. Pope found herself interested in many different specialties, but was fortunate enough to eventually “stumble” upon radiology. She found it fascinating due to the complexity and often challenging problem-solving involved. She completed her residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center and then went on to complete a fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco.
Now, as a board-certified radiologist with the University of Kansas Medical Center, she believes that radiology is crucial to patient care because it helps to determine diagnosis and disease management. On a typical day, she finds herself in front of multiple monitors, usually four to be exact, filled with patient charts, X-ray images, CT scans and more. She then dictates her imaging findings in a report for the patient’s physician, other members of the medical team, and the electronic chart. She highlights what is normal and abnormal on the imaging, and provides a diagnosis when possible — fibrosis, cancer, or any other number of diagnoses. Physicians then use her findings and reports to guide patient management.
She also participates in a weekly interstitial lung disease conference which is a meeting of pulmonologists, pathologists, rheumatologists, and other allied healthcare professionals about various cases. Together, they review the patient’s imaging, as well as patient history, laboratory results, and pathology, and collaborate to decide on the most likely diagnosis and appropriate therapy.
Dr. Pope enjoys the challenges of radiology and finds herself continually learning. She likes teaching and working with the University of Kansas’s radiology residents and medical students. She often comes across other physicians in the reading room and uses the opportunity to discuss and review different cases.
Her hope for the pulmonary fibrosis community is for greater disease awareness and earlier detection. She wants to help educate both the general public and primary care physicians about this disease. When she’s not at work, you can find Dr. Pope with her husband and two children, who are 11 and 13 years old. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and unwinding with yoga or reading fiction novels instead of diagnostic imaging.