Medical Physics Residency Training Program
Description of the Program
The medical physics residency program is designed in accordance with the essentials and guidelines of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). It provides two years of structured training covering all areas of radiation oncology physics for the residents to:
- acquire necessary knowledge and skills to practice clinical radiation oncology physics safely and competently,
- develop independent problem-solving skills and confidence in making clinical decisions.
Upon completion of the program, the residents should be eligible to take the American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification examination in Therapeutic Medical Physics.
The training program normally starts on July 1. Upon entering the program, the first-year residents will participate in a four-week orientation. The orientation helps the residents to become familiar with the equipment, treatment techniques, and clinical procedures of the Department of Therapeutic Radiology. During this time the resident should develop an overall understanding of the medical physicist's role in the clinic. Starting with the fall quarter, newly admitted physics residents will receive didactic instruction in Physics of Radiation Therapy, Radiation Biology, and Clinical Radiation Oncology offered in the Department of Therapeutic Radiology, and Physics of Diagnostic Radiology offered in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine. In parallel to the didactic course work, the residents will be assigned to faculty members of the training program (nine board-certified medical physicists covering a wide range of clinical expertise and research interests) by rotation to perform clinical tasks under his/her supervision. At the end of each rotation (e.g. 3 months), the faculty supervisor will hold a review session with the resident. Duties associated with clinical service rotations during the first year of residency will be under close supervision. Duties performed for clinical service rotations during the second year of residency will be under reduced supervision but all tasks must be approved by faculty supervisor. A major goal for the resident during the second year is to develop independent thinking and confidence in making clinical decisions. Additional literature reading assignments may be given at this time to strengthen theoretical understanding of various clinical procedures.
During the residency, the trainees will be exposed to a full range of clinical services offered at Yale-New Haven Medical Center:
- from conventional radiation therapy to special procedures such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), total body irradiation (TBI), and total skin electron therapy (TSET) using state of the art linear accelerators with onboard kV-, MV-, and cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)- imaging;
- cranial stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) using the latest Gamma Knife Perfexion unit;
- and a full suite of low dose-rate (LDR) and high dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy.
The department and its affiliates currently houses 9 linear accelerators from two different vendors, 4 CT simulators, 2 HDR afterloaders, 4 types of major treatment planning systems (Eclipse, iPlan, GammaPlan, and Pinnacle), as well as fully networked Aria and Mosaic information management systems. The Radiation Physics Division has wide array radiation detection and measurement equipment for acceptance testing, commissioning, special radiation dosimetry, and on-going quality assurance checks.
While the Program is intended primarily for hands-on training in clinical medical physics practice, exceptional residents who quickly master the clinical training subjects can participate in on-going clinical research/development projects within the Division of Radiation Physics. These activities are encouraged as they will help residents deepen their understanding of the basic principles of medical physics and sharpen their critical thinking skills that are necessary to become an excellent clinical medical physicist and clinician-scientist. For these residents, an optional third year devoted primarily to clinical research may be arranged to take advantage our department’s programs in basic and translational research in radiation physics, cancer biology and clinical radiation oncology.