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New Radiologist at Northumberland Hills Hospital Brings Expertise in Women’s Health

What began as a chance encounter at a conference in Toronto has led to a new radiologist joining the team and growing the depth of expertise at Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH). In September of 2019, Dr. Sepideh (Sarah) Karkhanechi, who specializes in women’s health, officially became the fifth radiologist to join NHH’s Diagnostic Imaging (DI) team.

In addition to Dr. Karkhanechi, NHH’s radiologists are Dr. Matthew Vaughan, who also serves as Chief of Radiology at NHH, Dr. Paul Marrocco, Dr. Joseph Parravano, and Dr. Frank Marrocco. All five bring their own unique expertise and experience to diagnose and treat disease and injury using a range of medical imaging techniques.

“We’re fortunate to have Dr. Karkhanechi join our team,” says Dr. Vaughan. “We all have different strengths, and her focus on women’s health compliments the team well. Having a diverse range of skillsets and being able to consult with one another really strengthens the team and, most importantly, is good for the patients of west Northumberland.”

After studying Internal Medicine, then completing Diagnostic Radiology at McMaster University, Dr. Karkhanechi completed a Clinical Fellowship in Women’s Imaging through the University of Toronto. She first heard about NHH when she met Dr. Parravano at a conference specific to breast imaging, which attracts attendees in medical professions from across Canada. After connecting with Dr. Parravano, she started at NHH in a locum position, working a couple of days a week before officially signing on this past fall and becoming the Medical Director of Mammography/Ontario Breast Screening Program and Ultrasound at NHH.

When asked why she chose to practice at NHH, Dr. Karkhanechi highlights both the atmosphere, which she describes as filled with friendly and helpful staff, physicians, and volunteers, as well as the advanced technology and equipment, such as the new fluoroscopy unit and the new mammography unit in the Clay & Elaine Elliott Women’s Health Centre.

“I feel lucky to have been welcomed into this group,” shares Dr. Karkhanechi, who also took on the role of Vice President of NHH’s Medical Staff Association shortly after joining the team. “It’s great to work in such a collegial and supportive environment, where we can draw on each other’s strengths and areas of expertise.”

“Everyone in Diagnostic Imaging – from the radiologists, to technologists, sonographers, clerical staff, and volunteers – works closely with one another with the goal of providing the best care possible in a timely manner,” shares Ian Moffat, Director of Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory Services at NHH.

The radiologists are all trained to read a variety of medical imaging scans, and the group consists of an array of knowledge, sub-specialties, and areas of interest. Dr. Vaughan has been the Chief of Radiology at NHH for 10 years, with expertise in body imaging through computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Dr. Frank Marrocco is the Medical Director for CT, starting at Cobourg District and General Hospital (CDGH) in 1993 and working out of NHH since its inception, with expertise in CT imaging. Dr. Paul Marrocco also worked out of CDGH before NHH, starting in 1995, and serves as the Quality Control Officer with expertise in interventional radiology and women’s health. Finally, Dr. Parravano is the Medical Director for MRI and has worked at NHH for 11 years, with expertise in MRI and chest imaging.

When asked about the addition of Dr. Karkhanechi to the group, all noted the great working relationship and benefits of having additional expertise, diverse experiences, and new perspectives. The importance of staying current with equipment to attract newer medical professionals like Dr. Karkhanechi, as well as the benefits of having this mix of experience levels – where longer-practicing and newer professionals can learn from each other – were also stressed.

It’s reasons such as this that the NHH Foundation will soon launch a capital campaign to revitalize Diagnostic Imaging equipment and ensure NHH can continue to offer the best care to patients while also attracting talented medical expertise to the community of west Northumberland.

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