By Aine Cryts

Greg Grimaldi, MD, director of oncologic imaging at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y., explains that, as a diagnostic radiologist who specializes in body imaging, he reads cases “pretty much from the diaphragm to the pubic bone.” Body-imaging radiologists typically look at solid organs and the bowels, he says, adding that much of this work is heavily oncologic-driven.

Grimaldi is board certified in diagnostic radiology. He earned a medical degree at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College in Philadelphia. In addition to residencies at North Shore University Hospital (now a part of Northwell Health) and St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York, he did a fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.

Upon his arrival at North Shore Hospital, which combined with Long Island Jewish Health System in 1997, as an attending radiologist, he was one of the founding members of the nonprofit, integrated health network’s hepatobiliary tumor board. In that capacity, he works alongside a hematologist and an interventional radiologist on cases that are associated with the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts.

Multidisciplinary Care Teams

Northwell Health, which rebranded in 2016 after the merger in 1997, is now home to a liver transplant center. Grimaldi and his colleagues screen patients to monitor their response to treatment. About a year ago, the Northwell Health Cancer Institute was formed, he tells AXIS Imaging News. Northwell Health Cancer Institute is headed up by Richard Barakat, MD, physician-in-chief, who brought in heads of surgical oncology and medical oncology from other institutions, according to Grimaldi.

In his role as director of oncologic imaging, Grimaldi represents radiology at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute. He highlights work on developing disease management programs for pancreas, hepatobiliary, and rectal cancers, for example. Creating teams of radiologists to serve on these multidisciplinary care teams is part of Grimaldi’s current role at the cancer institute.

Using “soft skills” to connect with patients and team members

He credits “soft skills” that help him connect with his patients and team members. For example, radiologists need to work in concert with surgeons, so it can be helpful “to think like a surgeon,” says Grimaldi. He sees part of his role as helping guide clinicians on this team on the next step for a patient care’s trajectory.

In Grimaldi’s leadership role at Northwell Health Cancer Institute, he’s a liaison between radiology and cancer specialists. The most rewarding aspect of this work is feeling that he brings value and engages in continuous learning—far more than he “could ever read in journal articles—every day, he tells AXIS.

“This higher level of engagement means a lot of feedback, which is satisfying,” says Grimaldi, who’s also assistant professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead and chief of the division of body imaging at Northwell Health.

“At the end of the day, I’m part of a multidisciplinary care team where we’re providing better care. Frankly, this is why we went to medical school–because of patients,” he adds.

Featured image: Greg Grimaldi, MD, director of oncologic imaging at Northwell Health.