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Medical Physics Residency Training Program

The medical physics residency training program in the Department of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale-New Haven Medical Center and Yale University School of Medicine was established in 2011. It is intended for candidates with an advanced degree in medical physics, physics, or a closely related field who are interested in pursuing careers as clinical Medical Physicists in Radiation Oncology. The program takes advantage of the strengths and resources of Yale University School of Medicine, the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, the state-of-the-art Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, and the Smilow Cancer Network to provide comprehensive clinical training experience for selected residents. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP) since 2014.

Description of the Program

The program is designed in accordance with the CAMPEP Standards of Radiation Oncology Residency Education. It provides two years of structured clinical training that covers all areas of radiation oncology physics plus an optional year in clinical research and development. Upon completion of the program, the residents are eligible to take part 2 of the American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification examination in Therapeutic Medical Physics.

The training program normally begins on July 1st and ends in June three years later. It consists of four main required components: attendance of radiation oncology related conferences, seminars, and didactic courses; hands-on training and service in structured clinical rotations; seminar presentations; and participation in clinical research and development projects.

Upon entering the program, the residents will participate in a four-week orientation designed to help them get acquainted with the normal department operation, the requirements and expectations of the residency program, hospital policy and procedures on patient care and professional conduct, and safety practice on working with radiation producing equipment among other related topics. During this time, the resident should develop an overall understanding of the medical physicist's role in the clinic.

Following orientation, the residents will attend the didactic courses offered in our department (Radiation Oncology Physics and Radiation Biology in year one, Clinical Radiation Oncology in year two) as well as the weekly departmental chart rounds, grand rounds, medical physics lecture series, and other relevant clinical and research seminars.

In parallel to didactic activities, the residents will receive structured clinical training by going through 9 clinical rotations. Each rotation is led by one (or more) Rotation Adviser(s). The residents will be working with the Rotation Adviser(s) and/or board certified medical physicists assigned by the Rotation Adviser(s) to learn specific training topics and perform clinical tasks under their supervision. At the end of each rotation, the Rotation Adviser(s), in consultation with the supervising physicists, will provide a formal evaluation of the resident's performance in meeting the specific training objectives. The topic(s) and starting time for clinical research and development are determined on a case-by-case basis by the Program Director in consultation with the resident and prospective faculty advisers, taking into account the resident's clinical background, research interest and expertise, and the scope of the project(s).

The duties associated with the clinical services during the first year of the residency will be performed under close supervision. Duties performed for the clinical services in the second and third year (if applicable) of residency will be under reduced supervision but all clinical tasks must be approved by a board-certified supervising physicist or Rotation Adviser. A major goal for the resident during the later stage of residency is to develop independent clinical and critical thinking skills as well as confidence in making clinical decisions. Additional literature reading and topical report assignments may be given during this time to strengthen theoretical understanding of various clinical procedures.

During the residency, the residents will be exposed to a full range of clinical services offered at Yale-New Haven Health: 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® ICON unit; low dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy procedures for ocular and coronary artery lesions, and a full suite of high dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy procedures.

The department and its affiliates currently houses 12 linear accelerators from two major vendors, 1 Gamma Knife® ICON, 1 orthovoltage therapy unit, 7 CT simulators, 3 HDR afterloaders, 4 different types of major treatment planning systems (Eclipse, Monaco, iPlan, and GammaPlan), as well as Mosaiq patient management system. The Radiation Physics Division has a wide array radiation detection and measurement equipment for acceptance testing, commissioning, special radiation dosimetry and on-going quality assurance checks.

Residency Program Statistics

Destination of Graduates

Graduation Year Number of Applications Number Offered Admission Number Enrolled in Program Number Completing Program Clinical Industry Academic Still Seeking Position Other
2012 26 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
2013 No Opening* 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2014 62 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
2015 195 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
2016 95 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
2017 No Opening* 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018 92 2 2 2 0 0 1 0 1
2019 55 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020 49 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0

*Our program funded two resident slots from 2012 to 2018. During this period, one of the resident enrolled in 2012 and the resident enrolled in 2015 elected to take on the third-year option offered by the program, resulting in no openings in the 2013 and 2017 academic years and no graduates in the 2013, 2017, and 2019 academic years.

Program Leadership

  • Program Director

    Professor of Therapeutic Radiology; Vice Chair for Physics Research and Education, Therapeutic Radiology; Director, Cesium Irradiation Shared Resource for Yale Cancer Center, Therapeutic Radiology; Smilow Chief Physicist; Director of Medical Physics Residency Program

    Dr. Zhe (Jay) Chen received his B.S. degree in theoretical physics from Fudan University in Shanghai, China in 1982. In the same year, he was selected by Nobel Laureate T.D. Lee's China-US Physics Scholarship program to pursue graduate study in physics in the United States. After receiving a Ph.D. degree in theoretical condensed matter physics from the City University of New York in 1989, he continued postdoctoral research in physics at Brown University from 1989 to 1992. Driven by the desire to put his training in theoretical physics to more practical applications, he joined the Department of Radiation Oncology of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1992. He found the application of radiation physics and radiobiology in radiation therapy not only helpful to cancer patients but also intellectually stimulating and satisfying to a physicist. He became a clinical medical physicist and an assistant professor of research in the Health Science Center and SUNY School of Medicine at Stony Brook. In 1995, he joined the Department of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale University School of Medicine and has stayed here since. In addition to providing clinical medical physics support in daily patient care, he has been actively involved in teaching physics of radiation therapy to radiation oncology and medical physics residents and in conducting original research towards better understanding and effective use of physics in radiation therapy. He has authored and/or coauthored over 100 peer-reviewed research articles, 14 book chapters and reviews, and over 180 published research abstracts. He has been a research investigator on 5 federal government supported research grants and was the principal investigator of a NIH R01 research grant investigating the effects of prostate edema on the treatment of early-stage prostate cancer using permanent interstitial brachytherapy.

  • Associate Program Director

    Professor of Therapeutic Radiology; Associate Director for Physics Research and Education, Therapeutic Radiology

    Dr. Jun Deng is a Professor at the Department of Therapeutic Radiology of Yale University School of Medicine and an ABR board certified medical physicist at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Deng obtained his PhD from University of Virginia in 1998 and finished his postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in 2001. Currently with funding from NIBIB, NSF, NCI, DOE and YCC, Dr. Deng’s research has been focused on artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and medical imaging for early cancer detection, real-time clinical decision support, digital twins of cancer patients, as well as AI-empowered mobile health and smart medicine. Dr. Deng has been serving on the Editorial Board of numerous peer-reviewed journals, on the study sections of NIH, NSF, DOD, ACS, RSNA and ASTRO since 2005, and as scientific reviewer for various science foundations and institutions since 2015. Dr. Deng is an elected fellow of Institute of Physics, AAPM, and ASTRO.