Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Program Overview

The training program follows the “Essentials and Guidelines for Hospital Based Medical Physics Residency Training Programs” as outlined in AAPM Report #36.  It is also a goal of the program for the resident to demonstrate understanding of the topics from the study guides of the American Board of Medical Physics and the American Board of Radiology.

Clinical Training

Incoming residents will participate in a two week orientation program which includes rotations with the attending physicians, nurses, CT Simulation, dosimetry, physics, a full day of radiation safety, and time at each of the major treatment machines. This will serve to familiarize them with the equipment, techniques, and safety procedures for the operation of the clinic. The residents will then have a three month orientation/rotation to learn basic physics clinical competencies.

After orientation, the resident will work closely with faculty and staff medical physicists responsible for clinical tasks. The Associate Residency Director will have the responsibility of assigning rotations and mentors which will be added as a comment on the rotation schedule and emailed to the Residency Program Director for review prior to a rotation starting. The resident is given the Goals and Objectives of at the start of each rotation. There is a chief mentor assigned for each rotation, who has expertise in the clinical procedures for that rotation. Sub-mentors are assigned for specific tasks, and coordinate activities through the chief mentor. The sub-mentor will have daily contact with the resident to ensure that there is good progression with the rotation objectives. The resident will discuss relevant task group reports with the sub-mentor. Additional reading assignments may be given to strengthen theoretical understanding of various clinical procedures. The resident will keep a daily log documenting their participation in all clinical activities. This log will be reviewed and initialed by the sub-mentor and the Residency Program Director on a monthly basis, and progress will be discussed. The resident will be assigned a topic relevant to the rotation for an oral presentation, which is open to the entire department. The Residency Program Director, or Associate Residency Director, and the resident will meet at the end the oral presentation to informally test the knowledge gained during the rotation.  Each resident will be reviewed for performance and knowledge for each rotation by use of an evaluation form. These documents will become part of the resident's file.

Throughout the residency program, the residents maintain shared clinical responsibilities for all IMRT QA, HDR morning QA, completion of rotating monthly QA of all department linacs, attendance at four annual machine QAs for training and alternating responsibility of running annual machine QA following training. By completion of the program each resident will have completed a minimum of 8 annual QAs, 32 monthly QAs and 50 HDR morning QA checks. After completion of the Orientation, Dosimetry I, Dosimetry II, Physics rotations, and with the approval of the Program Director, the residents may have initial and weekly chart checking responsibilities.

Conference/Seminar Attendance

Jefferson offers a variety of departmental and divisional conferences that take place on a regular basis. These will help the resident to develop an in-depth understanding of the clinical problems associated with the practice of medical physics in radiation oncology. Conferences and seminars include:

  • Departmental QA chart rounds twice a week and bi-weekly clinical physics meetings
  • Jefferson Anatomical site-specific oncology seminars
  • Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Grand Rounds
  • Three named lectures in radiation oncology (the Simon Kramer Lecturer Series), medical physics (the Suntharalingam Lecturer Series), and radiobiology (the Virginia Logan Lecturer Series) given annually by prominent international scholars/clinicians
  • Jefferson Medical or Physics Journal club once a month
  • Jefferson Dosimetry "Lunch and Learn" presentation semi-annually
  • Radiation Oncology medical resident presentations twice a month

There are also several opportunities to attend conferences outside of the department. The resident has opportunity to attend at least one annual meeting during the two-year period. The resident will be expected to give a report to physics staff about highlights of the meeting. Meetings include:

  • American Association of Physicists in Medicine Annual Meeting 
  • Other radiation oncology annual meetings: a resident whose abstract is accepted by ASTRO, ABS or similar annual meetings is provided travel support to present the paper by the Department
  • Delaware Valley Chapter of the AAPM meetings, on a quarterly basis
  • Other local meetings

Didactic Curriculum

Residents will be required to attend courses offered by the Medical Physics program unless there is demonstrated evidence of satisfactory completion of equivalent courses from a prior program.

Determination of the need for additional didactic education is at the discretion of the Medical Physics Residency Program Committee. Remedial medical physics education may also be achieved through an IMRT Treatment Planning program of self-study with appropriate assessment by the Medical Physics Residency Program Committee. The medical physics resident who lacks two of any of the courses specified in AAPM Task Group 197S will be required to complete them during their residency but not during the hours of clinical training. Courses will be the responsibility of the resident to enroll and finance.  Residents will have the following courses available to bolster their academic knowledge at the Jefferson campus:

  • Radiation Physics
  • Radiation Biology
  • Anatomy and Physiology

Residents will complete:

  • 5 Prostate IMRT cases with use of the XIO and PTI planning systems
  • 5 Head and Neck IMRT cases with use of XIO
  • 1 Other site with the use of XIO
  • Will learn OAR/PTV critical structures, fluence, segmention, power and weight tools for planning
  • Will use all fusion tools available on XIO and MIM
  • Will explore the specifications of PET and MRI

Requirements for program completion

  1. Demonstration of adequate medical physics education (equivalent to a graduate degree in medical physics).
  2. Demonstration of clinical competency in all clinical training rotations including presentation on an assigned topic as documented in the rotation evaluation form, completed by the chief mentor and the Residency Program Director.
  3. Competency and shared responsibility of clinical physics duties such as initial calculation checks, chart checks, and weekly chart checks.  These tasks will be assigned to the resident after competency has been demonstrated by completion of the Dosimetry rotations, a Physics rotation, and three staff members signing off that the resident is capable of independently managing these clinical duties. 
  4. Presentation of at least one medical physics presentation during each rotation block.
  5. Attendance at the majority of the required clinical and medical physics seminars and conferences including medical physics seminars, dosimetry presentations, and morning chart rounds/QA conferences.
  6. Satisfactory assessment of progress as determined by means of an oral examination at the end of each rotation, conducted by the Medical Physics Residency Program Committee.

Department of
Radiation Oncology

111 South 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Dr. Harrison

Letter from Amy Harrison, PhD, FAAPM
Acting Director, Division of Medical Physics

Associate Program Director, Division of Medical Physics Residency

Karen Mooney, PhD

Karen Mooney, PhD
Clinical Instructor, Department of Radiation Oncology

Program Director, Division of Medical Physics Residency

Firas Mourtada, PhD

Firas Mourtada, PhD
Adjunct Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology

Associate Residency Director, Christiana Care Health System

Marlene Kushner, C-TAGME
Program Coordinator, Medical Physics Residency

Read More