Department of Radiation Oncology
2012-2013 Residency Training Program

The Keck School of Medicine of USC Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program is located on the USC Health Sciences Campus near metropolitan Los Angeles. The campus provides a bustling and stimulating environment comprised of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the USC School of Pharmacy and a number of public and private hospitals. The presence of the recently opened, state-of-the art, $1 billion LAC+USC Medical Center, Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital here on campus provides USC radiation oncology residents with a remarkably rich and diverse training environment.

Research1

The Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program is a four-year (48-month) training program which is accredited by the ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.) The program’s goals and objectives have been designed and structured to meet the specific educational criteria designated by the ACGME’s Common Program, Institutional, and RRC Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Radiation Oncology.

There are two spaces available for the 2013 Match.  New residents will start the program as a PGY-2 on July 1, 2014 after completing a PGY-1 year in internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery or surgical specialties, pediatrics, or a transitional-year program.

All applications must be submitted through ERAS (the Electronic Residency Application Service). Applications must be received by October 31st, 2012, and interviews will begin in late November. As with all programs using ERAS, application materials will be distributed by your medical school dean’s office. The program selects its PGY-2 (first program year) positions through the NRMP (National Resident Matching Program).

For more information on the application process, click here.

Program Goals

The five main goals of the Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program are to:

  • Ensure that the resident acquires the necessary skills to practice medicine independently and competently at the end of his or her training.

  • Educate the resident to provide patients and their families with compassionate, comprehensive, and quality medical care while demonstrating a responsiveness to the patient’s needs that supersedes self-interest.

  • Provide an environment for the resident that recognizes, encourages and facilitates multidisciplinary collaboration as a critical component of professional development and clinical excellence.

  • Evaluate the competency of the resident through formative and summative methods that provide the opportunity for continuous performance improvement.

  • Maintain an academic curriculum and learning environment that prepares the resident to become certified by the American Board of Radiology (ABR).

Affiliated and Participating Sites

Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center (LAC + USC) is the primary training site for the USC Radiation Oncology Residency Program. A designated Level I Trauma Center, it is one of the country's largest clinical teaching hospitals and is the largest single provider of health services in Los Angeles County. The hospital supplies the region’s medically underserved with critical access to health care, and is staffed by USC faculty physicians from 24 academic departments. USC physicians provide patient care, engage in clinical research, and oversee the training of more than 1,000 medical residents and students each year. Since radiation oncology is an inherently multidisciplinary specialty, the program resident will work and collaborate with a large number of physicians, oncologists, surgeons, and specialists from many departments.

In 2010, LAC + USC had over 493,000 outpatient visits, 90,000 emergency room visits, and admitted over 35,000 patients. The large patient population provides USC radiation oncology program residents with a unique opportunity to learn, evaluate, and gain a proficient understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of head and neck, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, breast, gynecologic, lung, central nervous system, bone, skin, and soft tissue cancers, as well as lymphomas and leukemias.

LAC + USC Medical Center is the only major public hospital in northeastern Los Angeles County with cancer patient management capabilities, and the medically indigent population it serves receives some of the best cancer care available in the United States.

The Department of Radiation Oncology at LAC + USC is extensively equipped with Varian linear accelerators (21EXs) with EPID (MV Imagers). There are Eclipse planning stations, contouring planning systems, and a Varian Acuity verification simulator. Also, a GE CT Light Speed Scanner, VarSource (Varian HDR), and an ARIA Record & Verify System. Residents at LAC + USC will be trained in IMRT techniques, 3-D conformal radiotherapy, and clinical brachytherapy utilizing both low dose-rate (LDR) and high dose-rate (HDR).

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Cancer Center and USC Norris Cancer Hospital are part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and are major regional and national resources for cancer research, treatment, prevention and education. They are located just a short walk from LAC + USC Medical Center.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center as one of the nation's 40 comprehensive cancer centers, a select group of institutions providing leadership in cancer treatment, research, prevention and education.

 

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center physicians and scientists seek a broad understanding and synthesis of all the fundamental aspects of cancer. They research and study the abnormal cell growth associated with different cancers to determine both the cause, and how the process can be altered. Their mission is to rapidly translate their findings into effective treatment protocols and prevention strategies.

Over the years of its history, USC Norris Cancer Center has made numerous pioneering and innovative contributions to cancer treatment and research, including the development of a major classification scheme for lymphoma, the discovery of the jun oncogene, the elucidation of links between steroid hormones and breast and prostate cancer, the development of surgical techniques for orthotopic bladder reconstruction, the establishment of the relationships between DNA methylation and cancer, the roles of glucose regulated proteins in cancer, the development of molecular markers for neuroblastoma, bladder cancer and GI cancers, 8q24’s link to prostate and colon cancer, and the identification of a key genetic mutation in lymphoma development.

The USC Department of Radiation Oncology at USC Norris Cancer Hospital is one of the most modern in Southern California, operating a state-of the-art Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, capable of Intensity Modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) with respiratory gating, Cone-Beam CT, and Rapid Arc capability. There is also a Varian Clinac 2300C/D linear accelerator with IMRT capability.

USC Norris Cancer Hospital also houses the Accuray Cyberknife® Radiosurgical System which is used for stereotactic body radiotherapy and radiosurgery for tumors on the brain, spine, lung, liver, and prostate. For radiotherapy simulation, it uses a Philips MRC 800 Big Bore CT scanner.  The hospital also employs a Varian VariSource high dose-rate brachytherapy unit. A variety of highly advanced treatment planning computer systems are used, including the ADAC Pinnacle 3-D planning system, the Varian Eclipse planning system, and others which are a direct outgrowth of the pioneering clinical and physics research efforts of the USC Radiation Oncology Faculty. True 3-D virtual simulation and isodose planning, allowing for 3-D conformal radiotherapy and intensity modulated radiotherapy treatments, are routinely employed. The department also has the BSD 2000 Sigma-60 hyperthermia device, in addition to other, specialized treatment devices manufactured in-house.

The USC Department of Radiation Oncology continues to maintain its leadership position through timely additions and updates to its technology.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) is recognized for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. It has grown into one of the world’s finest pediatric academic medical centers, due in large part to its 75-year association with the Keck School of Medicine of USC. CHLA is the region’s largest referral center for children in critical condition who need life-saving care.

 

Although separately governed, there is active cooperation and collaboration between CHLA and the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The leaders of both institutions recognize that the next wave of medical advances will require a multidisciplinary alliance of traditional medicine in conjunction with physics, mathematics, engineering, information technology and many other disciplines. 

Both organizations work together to launch groundbreaking programs that benefit both the Southern California community and pediatric medicine at large. CHLA is included in the Best Children's Hospitals Honor Roll for 2012-2013 by U.S. News & World Report.

On July 17, 2011, CHLA officially opened the new Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion, a 317-bed, seven-story patient-care facility. The $636 million, 460,000-square-foot structure is designed to provide a family-centered care environment, and nearly all patient rooms are private.

Program residents will receive their training in pediatric radiation oncology at CHLA.

Electronic Medical Records

Los Angeles County Medical Center, USC Norris Cancer Hospital, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have all implemented paperless, electronic medical record systems (EMR). Electronic charting provides residents and interdisciplinary physician teams with seamless and convenient access to their patient’s medical records. EMR can decrease charting time and charting errors, and is intended to improve the quality of care and patient safety.

Program Overview

Residents will complete five major clinical rotations in each academic year of the four-year program, with each rotation lasting approximately 10 weeks. The major rotations are as follows:

  • Head and Neck/Genitourinary

  • Gastrointestinal/Central Nervous System/Skin

  • Gynecologic Oncology/Lung/Hematology USC-Pituitary Cyberknife

  • Breast/Sarcoma

  • Norris Radiation Oncology

Residents may also be assigned to an “elective” rotation, during which time he or she may choose to participate in academic research, or fulfill the mandatory ACGME educational requirements in:

  • Pediatric Radiation Oncology

  • Medical Oncology

  • Oncologic Pathology
  • Diagnostic Imaging

The resident's training in pediatric radiation oncology will take place at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a rotation which lasts approximately two months (to be completed prior to the end of the fourth year.) The resident may fulfill the educational requirement in medical oncology by completing a two-month clinical rotation, or by documented attendance at regularly-scheduled multidisciplinary conferences.

The pathology and diagnostic imaging requirements may be satisfied through one-month clinical rotations, or by documented attendance at multidisciplinary conferences if pathology and imaging material for both pediatric and adult patients are shown and discussed.

ACGME Core Compenecies

Residents will be regularly evaluated on the following six core competencies designated by the ACGME, which have been incorporated into the program’s curriculum:

    1. Patient Care

    Residents must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

    2. Medical Knowledge

    Residents must demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, and social/behavioral sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care.

    3. Practice-based Learning and Improvement

    Residents must demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and life-long learning. Residents are expected to develop skills and habits to be able to meet the following goals:

    a) identify strengths, deficiencies, and limits in one’s knowledge and expertise;

    b) set learning and improvement goals;

    c) identify and perform appropriate learning activities;

    d) systematically analyze practice using quality improvement methods, and implement changes with the goal of practice improvement;

    e) incorporate formative evaluation feedback into daily practice;

    f) locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients’ health problems;

    g) use information technology to optimize learning; and,

    h) participate in the education of patients, families, students, residents and other health professionals.

    4. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

    Residents must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals. Residents are expected to:

    a) communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public, as appropriate, across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds;

    b) communicate effectively with physicians, other health professionals, and health related agencies;

    c) work effectively as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group;

    d) act in a consultative role to other physicians and health professionals; and,

    e) maintain comprehensive, timely, and legible medical records, if applicable.

    5. Professionalism

    Residents must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles. Residents are expected to demonstrate:

    a) compassion, integrity, and respect for others;

    b) responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest;

    c) respect for patient privacy and autonomy;

    d) accountability to patients, society and the profession; and,

    e) sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in gender, age, culture, race, religion, disabilities, and sexual orientation.

    6. Systems-based Practice

    Residents must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care. Residents are expected to:

    a) work effectively in various health care delivery settings and systems relevant to their clinical specialty;

    b) coordinate patient care within the health care system relevant to their clinical specialty;

    c) incorporate considerations of cost awareness and risk-benefit analysis in patient and/or population-based care as appropriate;

    d) advocate for quality patient care and optimal patient care systems;

    e) work in interprofessional teams to enhance patient safety and improve patient care quality; and,

    f) participate in identifying system errors and implementing potential systems solutions.

    For additional information or questions regarding the Radiation Oncology Residency Program, please contact Laura Navarette (Program Coordinator) at navarett@med.usc.edu.

                         


     

     

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