Curriculum

The residency will consist of eight different modules over the course of the two-year training period. Each module will last for approximately three months. While effort will be made to present these modules in a logical progression, the program will have the flexibility to adjust the schedule to accommodate unique projects (e.g. equipment commissioning, annual tests, software implementation, etc.) and faculty availability. This will maximize both the resident’s exposure to potential onetime learning experiences in the clinic and their opportunity to directly learn from their mentors during their time at Houston Methodist.

The level of responsibility for each resident will increase as proficiency and experience is gained and then validated. First-year residents will be under direct supervision for all tasks initially with the goal of their independence continually increasing as the first year progresses. Second-year residents acquire even more responsibility as they continue to gain independence with the goal to be functioning as a junior physicist upon graduation.

For each rotation, quality assurance (QA) procedures and training will be a constant throughout the two-year training period. This includes:
  • Patient-specific QA (IMRT QA, in-vivo measurements, etc.)
  • Linear accelerator (therapy and imaging components) and CT simulator daily, monthly, and annual QA
  • New machine and software acceptance, commissioning, and implementation (when available)

In addition, over the course of their two-year training, the resident will:
  • Give 10 to 12 half-hour oral presentations to the physics group at monthly physics meetings on either relevant task group reports or clinical projects currently being conducted
    • Six of these presentations will involve core task group reports such as TG-51, TG-142, TG-43U2, etc. These will generally be done over the first year of residency.
    • Six of these will be on variable topics, which offer timely value to the physics group, or on clinical validation or research projects completed by the resident. These will generally be done over the second year of residency.
  • Pass a written exam closely simulating basic physics subject matter from the ABR Part I General Physics Exam.
  • Sit for, and successfully, pass eight mock oral examinations covering the completed three-month module with the mentor physicists of that rotation asking questions closely simulating the ABR Part III oral exam
  • Be assigned a specific clinical task or procedure for which they will be responsible for learning, implementing, and teaching across the entire hospital system. Examples include refreshing monthly QA protocols for CT, and teaching and implementing new dosimetry software.
  • Submit an abstract to a regional/national conference or first draft to a peer-reviewed publication over a Special Clinical Project (SCP) incorporated at the start of the second year
  • Attend the following conferences/meetings when available:
    • Monthly Physics Meetings
    • Weekly Houston Methodist Hospital Radiation Oncology Peer Review Case Studies
    • In collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center, our residents attend weekly physics conference talks. In addition to being given access to attend in person, there are also capabilities to view these talks remotely.

Residency Program Equipment
Houston Methodist has state-of-the-art dosimetric equipment and phantoms in dedicated physics labs at each facility throughout the system. The department is outfitted with three Varian True Beams, four Varian Clinac 21iXs, two Varian Clinac 21 EXs, one Varian 6EX, one Novalis Stereotactic machine, two Tomotherapy Hi-Art units, and five Philips Brilliance Big Bore CT Scanners with 4DCT capabilities and two Siemens SOMATOM CT scanners with 4DCT capabilities. Additionally, Houston Methodist Hospital has an active and diverse brachytherapy program. This includes four Varian HDR afterloaders for gynecological, breast, and lung cases, a Novoste vascular brachytherapy system, eye plaques, and LDR gynecological and prostate implants.
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