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Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Marshalleck rises from humble beginnings to a leader in his field

Jan. 23, 2014

From humble beginnings in Central America, Francis Marshalleck, M.D., has risen to become the director of pediatric interventional radiology at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health -- as well as the only fellowship-trained pediatric interventional radiologist in Indiana.

Francis Marshalleck

Francis Marshalleck, M.D.

A native of Belize, Dr. Marshalleck, assistant professor of clinical radiology at the IU School of Medicine, attributes his work ethic to his mother, a seamstress.

“You do it until the job is done -- give your best effort with what you have,” said Dr. Marshalleck, whose early struggles were rewarded with scholarships. “I see myself as blessed.”

A graduate of the Regis University in Denver and the University of the West Indies, Dr. Marshalleck returned to Belize for two years after medical school in Jamaica to work as an emergency room physician, a requirement of his scholarship. He wasn't able to return to practice in the United States, however, until the radiology fellowship director at the University of Texas at Houston -- whose father spent time as a missionary in Belize -- recognized his talent and enthusiasm amidst harsh circumstances, selecting him to join the program.

After a transitional year in pediatrics at University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, Dr. Marshalleck completed the residency in Houston, followed by interventional radiologist fellowships in adult and pediatric subspecialties in Indiana and Toronto, respectively. Two years ago, he attained U.S. citizenship. 

Professionally, Dr. Marshalleck has seen the number of pediatric interventional radiology, or "IR," procedures increase from several per week to 40 cases per week at Riley over the past 10 years. One of the country's few specialists in this area, he said previous lack of interest in pediatric IR was likely due to "lack of comfort working on very small patients, and using small devices."

"I had to overcome obstacles from hospitals and doctors; they didn’t realize what were my skill sets," said Dr. Marshalleck, whose career at the hospital began "literally in a closet." "I had to start from scratch, but it’s really exploded."

Today, he directs a full-fledged pediatric interventional radiology department at Riley, including a physician's assistant, four technologists, several nurses, a scheduler, a patient service assistant and an anesthesia team. Soon, the department is expanding to two suites in the new Simon Family Tower at Riley.

Riley also has the only comprehensive vascular anomalies clinic in Indiana in which interventional radiology plays an integral role along with other specialties, such as dermatology and surgery, to provide the highest level of care. Dr. Marshalleck is most excited about vascular therapies, including sclerotherapy and embolization of vascular anomalies. Recently, he performed a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, or "TIPS," procedure on a two-year-old patient, creating new connections between blood vessels in the liver.

The smallest patients bring him the most joy in his work, he added, pointing out the “Super Doc” t-shirt made for him by a young patient proudly displayed in his office.

"You try to make [the patients] comfortable," he said. "The families are very appreciative; they keep in touch with you.”

In addition to his clinical work serving patients, Dr. Marshalleck feels strongly about giving back to the profession, serving on a committee that writes standards for pediatric IR procedures through the Society of Pediatric Interventional Radiology. He is also the co-editor of the the first book on pediatric IR, "A Handbook in Pediatric Radiology," to be published by Springer in 2014.

In addition, Dr. Marshalleck credits several mentors at the IU School of Medicine for helping him develop as a physician: Matthew Johnson, M.D.; Himanshu Shah, M.D.;Thomas Casciani, M.D.; and David Agarwal, M.D.

When not working, Dr. Marshalleck -- the father of three children, ages 8, 12 and 15, who coaches his son’s basketball team, as well as soccer -- values family above all else.

"When I go home, its family time,” he said. "I make the weekends count."

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