Meet the Radiologists: Dr. Sitarik and Dr. Turner of RAPA


Radiology Associates, P.A., (RAPA) is a Little Rock-based medical practice that provides Arkansas patients with a wide range of diagnostic and treatment services. The practice serves communities throughout the state with on-site and teleradiology coverage. RAPA’s physicians are highly trained and skilled in all radiological disciplines. Dr. Kathleen Sitarik (left) and Dr. Shannon Turner (right) are heavily involved in the St. Vincent Breast Center and the Searcy Breast Center. Both have a sub-specialty in abdominal imaging. Read on to learn more about the doctors and what they do at RAPA.

Dr. Kathleen Sitarik

AY: What is your background? Where did you study?
KS: I was born and raised by a single mom in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From my earliest memory my mom instilled that there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish. She raised us to be respectful and gracious to everyone. I graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. I graduated from Hahnemann Medical School with honors, did a transitional year at Crozer Chester Medical Center outside Philadelphia before completing my residency and fellowship at Duke University in North Carolina.

AY: What made you decide to be a radiologist?
KS: Radiologists play a pivotal role in aiding our referents in accurate diagnosis through imaging and minimally invasive procedures. I was intrigued with the combination of patient care, advanced technology and direct physician contact provided by my specialty.

AY: How did you come to work at RAPA?
KS: I was recruited by a partner of Radiology Associates who was a Duke alumnus. We actually had no intentions of looking at positions in Arkansas. Neither my husband nor I have any connection to Arkansas and in fact had never been to the state. I thought I would use my interview as a “test” interview and I fell in love with the practice, the state and the genuine Southern hospitality. Over 18 years later, I love my job and we have raised four children in this state.

AY: What do you like most about your job?
KS: The favorite part of my job is taking care of patients and interacting with the referring clinicians. Women’s imaging is by far my favorite aspect of my job. I find my position in the various breast centers most rewarding.

AY: How do you help patients?
KS: I am able to provide patients with minimally invasive image guided procedures. I assist the primary doctor in diagnosis so they can plan appropriate treatment and in follow up, I can inform their doctor if treatment has been effective. I am able to reassure patients we have excellent doctors in the community to address their specific issue.

AY: What’s the hardest part of your job?
KS: While I dread giving patients the news that their biopsy tested positive for cancer, I know the delivery of this news is crucial to how they process the information. They need compassionate care, encouragement and guidance. During my tenure at RAPA I have given news of breast cancer to an array of women: young women in their 20s and 30s, pregnant patients and ladies in their 90s. It’s imperative these patients know breast cancer is not a death sentence. I want them to know they are not alone in their journey. It is a process, but most women come through their treatment and go on to encourage others.

AY: What do you want people to know about radiology?
KS: Radiologists are physicians that have undergone extensive post-graduate training in all areas of medicine. We use X-rays and advanced technology such as CT, MRI, nuclear medicine and ultrasound to detect abnormalities and provide the clinicians with possible causes. Using these modalities, we can provide guidance and perform minimally invasive procedures of the lungs, abdominal organs, breasts, bones, etc. Patients don’t need anesthesia and we can provide quick answers at a lower cost and risk.

AY: What do you want people to know about cancer and the other diseases you diagnose?
KS: Radiology Associates stands behind the ACR recommendation for breast cancer. Unless at elevated risk, start annual mammograms at 40. If you have a first-degree relative you should start 10 years prior to their diagnosis or at 40, whichever is earlier. I know firsthand the difference a few years can make, and I know how quickly things change. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve patients in our community. I look forward to advances in diagnosis and, ultimately, a cure!

Dr. Shannon Turner

AY: What is your background? Where did you study?
ST: I went to UAMS for medical school. I did a year of internship in Internal Medicine at UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Then I did my radiology residency and abdominal imaging fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

AY: Where are you from originally?
ST: I was born and raised in Fort Smith.

AY: How did you come to work at RAPA?
ST: After living in North Carolina for six years, I was ready to move back to Arkansas. Kathie Sitarik and I did our residency together at Duke, and she was a couple of years ahead of me. She joined RAPA first and convinced me this was the best radiology practice in the area. I joined RAPA 14 years ago.

AY: What made you decide to be a radiologist?
ST: Radiology exams are like puzzles or mysteries to me, which I enjoy solving. We get a little bit of the patient’s history with the radiology exam, and we look at all of the information and then give a diagnosis or list of possible diagnoses.

AY: What’s the most important part of your job?
ST: The most important part of my job is helping people. For example, when I work in the breast center reading mammograms or performing biopsies, I feel like I am helping fight cancer with early detection and diagnosis.

AY: What’s the hardest part of your job?
ST: The most challenging part of radiology is having a broad knowledge base that involves all specialties of medicine to be able to read and diagnosis diseases and conditions. We have to have a knowledge base of many fields, including orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, etc.

AY: What’s the biggest challenge for you when working in such a difficult field?
ST: Another challenge in radiology is keeping up with the ever-changing and improving technology. Since I have graduated medical school, I have seen the transition from plain X-ray film to digital exams and from transcriptionists to voice recognition dictation systems, not to mention all the improvements in MRI, CT, and ultrasound. Most recently we have had an addition of 3-D tomosynthesis mammography.

AY: What do you like most about your job?
ST: I really enjoy reading different kinds of exams for the variety. It’s never boring. I also enjoy doing procedures that help people. We do procedures that need radiology guidance, such as biopsies, lumbar punctures, myelograms, thoracentesis, paracentesis, arthrograms and joint injections, just to name a few.

RAPA | 500 South University, Little Rock | 501-664-3914 |

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