Mehran K. Elly,MD, PhD, Chair of Eisenhower Medical Center’s Radiology Department, takes very little for granted.Dr. Elly came to the United States from Iran at the age of 18.He worked his first job at a gas station; his second, at a restaurant, until he saved enough money to go to school. His third job…he is proud to say…was as a doctor.
While he always knew he wanted to be a radiologist, Dr. Elly wasn’t sure of his true calling.“I got accepted into the Medical Scientist Program at University of California, Irvine and wanted to do academic work…research,” says Dr. Elly. Then, during a surgical rotation in his last year of medical school he noticed something.“I started really enjoying working with my hands, doing procedures and taking care of patients. It was very gratifying.”
One night while on surgical rotation, an interventional radiologist came in to help out the surgical team.“That interventionalist changed everything for me,” shares Dr. Elly.“He was a surgeon initially, but didn’t like the demanding lifestyle and had decided to go into interventional radiology.He said that if I liked physics, physiology, electronics and computers that I would like radiology. From that day forward, radiology just felt right.”
From there,Dr. Elly went on to do his radiology residency and interventional fellowship at University of California, Los Angeles. Things were falling into place, including meeting his soon-to-be-wife, Kristeen.“Wemet toward the end of my residency,” smiles Elly.“She worked as a nurse in pediatric oncology.We had a lot in common. It sounds silly, but I knew I was going to marry her on the first date.”
Kristeen was instrumental in Dr. Elly landing his first radiology job.“I had a great job offer in Indiana, and Kristeen did not want to go,” recalls Elly.“She found out about a job at Eisenhower Medical Center and became determined for me to interview.”At the time,Dr. Elly had no more time to take off work, so Kristeen called his supervisor and pleaded for just a couple of days off so he could visit Eisenhower and tour the facility.“The minute I walked in, I saw Brian Herman, MD and Jim Cohn,MD, two familiar faces from my days at UC Irvine,” says Dr. Elly. “Brian shared with me his dreams for Eisenhower’s new radiology department… and I was hooked! I went back and told Kristeen we were going to Palm Springs. It turned out to be one of the best things we’ve done.”
Ten years later,Dr. Elly and Kristeen are settling in nicely both at work and at home. They have a 5-year-old daughter, Juliana who loves tennis, golf and drawing, and eight-month-old twin boys, Ryan and Matthew.“I love hanging out with them,” shares Elly.“Words cannot express how much I adore them.”When he is not at work,Dr. Elly and family can be found lounging at home, cooking together, at Lake Arrowhead learning to water ski, or escaping the desert heat traveling in their motorhome to coastal areas.
Dr. Elly is very proud of his work with Eisenhower Medical Center and wants to help continue Eisenhower’s standard of excellence.“Eisenhower is a hospital that doesn’t run by the bottom line alone.You have to be fiscally responsible, but people matter here,” says Dr. Elly.“It’s a family at home and a family at work.”