Curriculum

Radiation Oncology Residency Overview
 

Residents treat patients at the Duke Cancer Center, on the main Duke Medical Center campus, and at the Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center, which is within walking distance.

  • Radiation Oncology allows Residents a chance to really get to know their patients. They will follow the same patient from initial consult, therapy planning, and through several weeks of daily treatments.
  • Current complement of residents is 12 residents.
  • To meet recent ACGME requirements, each resident is required to develop a patient-safety initiative.

Rotations

Rotations are in 3-month blocks.  At the Duke Cancer Center, there are 6 different radiation oncology services dedicated to specific cancer types. Residents will rotate one or more times in each of the 6 clinical services.  While the radiation oncology clinic at the Durham V.A. is generalized, the majority of cases are cancers of the lung and prostate.  Residents will rotate at the V.A. 3 or more times, at successive levels in the program.  Clinical services with small clinic load, such as GYN and Sarcoma, are combined into a joint-service rotation.

  • Breast Cancer Service (Breast)

  • Central Nervous System/Pediatrics Service (CNS/Peds)

  • Gastrointestinal Service (GI)

  • Gynecology Service/Sarcoma Service (GYN/Sarc)

  • Head and Neck Service (H&N)

  • Lung/Lymphoma (L/L)

Residents are assigned to research rotations in their 3rd or 4th year.  The length of the research rotation, 4 to 12 months, depends on the resident’s research project and the clinical coverage needs at the time.

Typically in each rotation, there is 1 Resident assigned to each of the 6 clinical services, 3 Residents assigned to the V.A., and 3 residents assigned to Research.   The order of assignments to clinical services will vary for each resident.

Sample Schedule

Program Year
Rotation 1
Rotation 2
Rotation 3
Rotation 4
1

Breast Service
with
Drs. Janet Horton
& Rachel Blitzblau

 

Lung/Lymphoma
with
Drs. Christopher Kelsey
& David Yoo
 
 

V.A.
with
Drs. Joseph Salama,
Manisha Palta,
David Yoo
& W. Robert Lee

GYN/Sarcoma
with
Drs. Junzo Chino,
David Kirsch
& Nicole Larrier

2

CNS/Peds
with
Drs. John Kirkpatrick,
Grace Kim,
Scott Floyd
& Nicole Larrier

V.A.
with
Drs. Joseph Salama,
Manisha Palta,
David Yoo
& W. Robert Lee

Head & Neck
with
Drs. David Brizel
& David Yoo

 

GI
with
Drs. Christopher Willett,
Brian Czito
& Manisha Palta

3

 

Research

 

Research

 

Research

 

Research

4

V.A.
with
Drs. Joseph Salama,
Manisha Palta,
David Yoo
& W. Robert Lee

Resident Elective

V.A.
with
Drs. Joseph Salama,
Manisha Palta,
David Yoo
& W. Robert Lee

Resident Elective

Didactic Learning

Residents must complete formal courses in Medical Physics and Cancer Biology. These courses alternate each year and are taught from September through April, from 4:30 to 6:00 PM.  Topics in each course are updated to meet the training requirements set by the American Board of Radiology.

Medical Physics Faculty:

  • Fang-Fang Yin, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Division
  • Jing Cai, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Division
  • Devon Godrey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Division
  • Oana Craciunescu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Division
  • Selected topics taught by other faculty of the Medical Physics Division

Cancer Biology Faculty:

  • Elaine Zeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UNC Department of Radiation Oncology
  • David Kirsch, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
  • Selected topics taught by other faculty of the Duke University Medical Center

Evidence Based Medicine and Medical Ethics are taught as short courses during Morning Conference time.

Morning Conferences

The Department of Radiation Oncology holds educational activities every weekday morning from 8:00 to 9:00 AM.   Residents direct the educational content themselves, and the Chief Residents schedules speakers and topics.  Chief Residents are encouraged to develop their own program of Morning Conference topics to meet the clinical learning needs of the residents.

  • Resident Report – Resident leads practice-based sessions on specific types of cancer and the most current guidelines for treatment
  • Journal Club – Resident leads discussion of articles from leading cancer journals, especially “The Red Journal”
  • Mortality/Morbidity (M&M) – Residents leads review of specific cases where significant toxicities occurred
  • Faculty Lectures - Department faculty present a series of interative lectures focusing on their cancer specialty (e.g., GYN cancers, CNS, Breast, etc.)
  • Tumor Boards/Chart Rounds – the pathology and treatment regimen of current cases are discussed at multimodality conferences in other departments such as GU, H&N, Sarcoma, and the V.A.
  • Grand Rounds – eminent faculty in Radiation Oncology are invited to visit Duke
  • Oncoanatomy – unique program at Duke Radiation Oncology. First, a Resident leads a didactic session on the types of cancers that invade particular anatomic sites. A following session is held in the Gross Anatomy Lab.
  • Misc. topics include updates on clinical practices in dosimetry, treatment planning, medical physics, patient safety, etc.

Other Educational Opportunities

  • Visiting Professors – Residents discuss cases with eminent radiation oncologists invited to Duke, plus attend dinner and lunch with the invited speaker.
  • Chairman’s Rounds – Residents meet with the Radiation Oncology Department Chairman to discuss cases and the clinical application of current research
  • Retreats – annual conferences with specific focus such as cancer biology research, medical physics research, or patient safety improvement.
  • Radiation Oncology and Imaging Program (ROIP): the Duke Cancer Institute hosts a series of special programs on current advances in imaging for radiation therapy
  • GME Certificate programs – residents may “minor” in several areas of concentration
    • Resident as Teacher
    • Patient Safety & Quality Improvement
    • Law, Ethics & Health Policy
    • Leaders in Medicine
    • Research in Education

Every week, there are numerous presentations, research retreats, and seminars offered throughout Duke University Medical Center and nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In addition, Duke's School of Law and School of Business host special presentations and seminar series addressing legal, ethical, and financial concerns in the field of medicine.

GME

The  Duke Office of Graduate Medical Education ("GME") does much more than ensure continued accreditation of fellowship and residency training programs.  All trainees benefit from the extensive support and unique opportunities that Duke GME provides.

  • Resident participation in Duke committees on medical education and patient safety
  • Programs offering "minors" in 4 areas of concentration
  • The annual Snyderman Award for resident research
  • "The Bunker" --a residents-only facility with exercise equipment, sleeping/shower accomodations, and lounge area
  • GME Week activities, including chance to win 2 tickets to Duke men's basketball game
  • Financial and student-debt counseling
  • Seed grants for innovation in teaching graduate medical education