Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, Dr. Daryle L. Darden, a board-certified, fellowship-trained neuro-radiologist at Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg (RAF), knew he wanted to be a physician. The question was what kind of physician. He shadowed doctors in high school and explored a variety of specialties while in medical school at the University of Pittsburgh before settling on radiology.
“I’ve always been interested in technology and what it can do for patients,” he said. “Radiology brought it all together for me.”
After receiving his medical degree, he moved to Houston, TX, and completed his internship in general surgery at Christus St. Joseph Hospital, his radiology residency at University of Texas Health Science Center, and his fellowship in neuroradiology at Baylor College of Medicine. From there, he interviewed for jobs in Texas before deciding to return to the Northeast, exploring opportunities in the Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Virginia Beach areas.
“Somewhere along the way, I found out RAF was interviewing,” he said. “My wife Nimali and I were invited to dinner with the group and met several physicians and their spouses. That night, I said, ‘This is it.’ And it was. I’ve been with RAF for 11 years, and I’m still certain I made the right decision.”
Today, Dr. Darden specializes in neuroradiology, head and neck imaging, and cardiac imaging. He has also been instrumental in developing and championing a Level II Trauma Center at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, one of only three trauma centers in Virginia certified by the America College of Surgeons. From 2008 to 2012, he served as RAF’s physician director of trauma imaging studies, working as part of a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive trauma care to patients with life-threatening injuries.
Along with his own robust medical practice, Dr. Darden supports his wife, Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH, a pediatrician, in her career. Their paths first intersected when they were students at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.
“We were friends from the moment we met, which was literally, the first day of school,” he said. The two were married in 1999. They have two sons, Zane, 13, and Asa, 9, along with cats Lucky and Gizmo.
Today, Dr. Fernando heads the Doctor Yum Project (http://www.doctoryum.org), a nonprofit organization she launched with Dr. Darden. The program is devoted to helping families understand the connection between food and overall health and empowering them with the tools to live healthy lives. In 2013, the two bought and renovated a building in Spotsylvania, and Dr. Fernando began a solo private practice there.
“Half of the time she practices medicine; the other half, she takes off her white coat and puts on an apron to demonstrate healthy cooking for families,” Dr. Darden explained. Her practice features a teaching kitchen, instructional garden, and hands-on learning curricula.
Dr. Darden complements her efforts in the Dr. Yum Project by assisting with accounting, website design, and videography. Meanwhile, he strives to “walk the walk” by downing green smoothies and platefuls of vegetables. The diet keeps energy at its peak for his three life priorities: family, work, and an occasional swoop down the ski slopes, wherever he can find snow.