Education & Training

The Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Program Clinical Medical Physics Residency Program is two years in length and includes the following:

  • A maximum of two didactic courses
  • A minimum of 12 rotations
  • Attendance at case conferences
  • Oral examinations
  • Recommended readings
  • Written report assignments

In addition to the experiences from didactic training and clinical rotations, the Medical Physics residents receive clinical training through their participation in monthly and annual quality assurance on the linear accelerators, perform patient-specific IMRT quality assurance measurements with a gantry-mounted diode array and/or with film and ionization chambers, and perform electron cutout measurements.

The resident will become familiar with all aspects of treatment planning (from manual calculation to computer-assisted planning) for both electron and phone clinical cases. As the resident progresses through the clinical rotations, they begin to participate in post-planning and weekly chart review, high dose rate brachytherapy quality assurance and assist the “physicist of the day,” providing first response physics support to all activities within the clinic.

Requirements for Successful Program Completion

Attendance in required courses (if any) and required number conferences (75 percent attendance) is mandatory. The resident is expected to participate in research studies and publish in scientific conferences/meetings such as American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) as well as in journals. The resident must follow the department policy and behave as per clinical, departmental and institutional norms. The progression of the resident through these clinical responsibilities is evaluated and discussed with the resident during regular weekly meetings with the program directors. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss with the residents their progression through the program, including:

  • General performance within the department
  • Participation in conferences and courses
  • Successful completion of each rotation
  • Their evolution in QA participation

These meetings also provide the residents an opportunity to voice any concerns they may have about the learning environment. Minutes of the meetings are taken and stored on the L-drive of a server computer which is accessible to department staffs and residents.

Comprehensive Clinical and Didactic Rotations

A new resident starts with a two-week-long formal rotation in the department and facilities to become familiar with the department and staff as well as to become comfortable in the work environment. A senior medical physicist (normally the director or associate director of the program) is in charge of this orientation.

Medical physics residents are trained by rotating through a minimum of 12 (core) out of 14 possible comprehensive clinical and didactic rotations. Each rotation has an evaluation for the resident’s performance at the end of the rotation. Written acceptance of the Clinic Module and/or graded Radiation Laboratory is administered and reviewed following each clinical rotation. All core rotations (total 12) must be completed for the resident to be eligible for completion of the program requirements. However, the resident is encouraged to complete all 14 rotations. The evaluation is specified either as a written “Clinical Competency” or graded “Radiation Laboratory” review of the rotation subspecialty.

Evaluation of the Curriculum Content and Faculty Mentor

The mentor responsible for a given rotation proposes the creation or modification of the rotation’s design and content. At the end of each rotation, the resident is also given the evaluation form for evaluating the content of the clinical rotation and the faculty mentor. The resident submits the evaluation form and suggestions to the program director. Additionally, at the end of the residency program, the resident is asked to evaluate the entire program and make suggestions for improvement. The proposal by the mentor and the comments by the residents are then reviewed by the program director and associate directors for approval and implementation.

Suggestions about content, effectiveness and areas of improvement of the program from each of the mentors of the rotations and the residents are reviewed and compiled by the program director and associate directors. The compiled review report is then presented to the CMPRP Education Committee for further discussion and implementation. The clinical rotation contents and the residency program curriculum are revised as per any modifications approved by the program director and/or the CMPRP Education Committee. Then the modifications are informed to the residents in writing. Any substantial modifications are implemented in such a way so that they do not affect the current residents adversely.