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Curriculum

For information about our  program's curriculum:

Program objectives

Program objectives focus on AGH's three primary areas of excellence:

Patient Care

  • Provide the resident with supervised patient contact and comprehensive teaching in order to achieve proficient, thoughtful, compassionate and high quality care in an environment that encourages practice-based learning and improvement.
  • Encourage development of interpersonal and communication skills that enhance professional interaction with the broad scope of specialists, referring physicians or other professionals related to managing the patient’s care.

Education

  • Provide the resident with training in state-of-the-art radiation oncology, physics and radiation biology/cancer biology to enhance medical knowledge and through which professional expertise can be attained.
  • Utilize opportunities in multi-disciplinary conferences for the resident to present patient cases in an open forum for critical review, discussion and resolution.
  • Train the resident in the use of modern radiation therapy equipment, including Elekta Unity MRI linear accelerator, Elekta Versa HD linear accelerators, Gammapod and Gamma Knife® Icon that allows for frameless SRS treatment.  We also have a robust gynecologic brachytherapy rotation at Western Pennsylvania Hospital.  

Research

Organize clinical research opportunities for the resident through participation in approved clinical trials, development of phase I/II clinical trials and/or review and presentation/publication of retrospective analyses of patient data.

A basic science experience is necessary to ensure continued development of new technologies for the advancement of patient care.  A multidisciplinary approach with the staff, AHNCI, Cancer Biologist, Department of Pathology, and director of Cancer Cell Biology and Genetics emphasize translation of basic science work to the clinical care of patients.  Exciting opportunities include instruction in oncogene expression, as well as tumor evolution.  The residency program is affiliated with the Alleghney-Singer Research Institute.

The National Surgical Adjuvant Bowel and Breast Project, one of the largest cancer study groups in the United States, is headquarted at AGH and collaborates wiht us and provides unique opportunities for instruction and participation in national multicenter cooperative trials.

Clinical rotations

Residents must be primarily involved in the care of 150-250 patients per year, a minimum of 450 patients in 4 years. Clinical experiences are scheduled in interdepartmental clinics, pediatric radiation oncology, and radiation physics.

Pediatric Radiation Oncology

The Department of Radiation Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, offers an excellent one-month rotation in pediatric radiation oncology for Allegheny General Hospital radiation oncology residents at the PGY 4
level. The program introduces residents to the major pediatric cancers
reviewing in both clinical and didactic sessions the clinical aspects of
childhood cancer.  Residents have the unique experience of getting to work with proton therapy during their rotation which has important implications in avoiding critical normal structures while delivering radiotherapy in the pediatric population.  

Techniques specific to treating all common pediatric neoplasms are reviewed during the rotation with residents actively participating both in patient evaluation and treatment planning under the close supervision of the radiation oncology faculty. Residents also have the opportunity to monitor patients under treatment, participate in both short- and long-term follow-up, participate in national pediatric oncologic protocols and attend weekly tumor boards related to leukemia, solid tumors and brain tumors. This experience is an unparalleled unique opportunity which has become a favorite of the residents.

Clinical areas of focus include childhood leukemia, tumors of the central nervous
system, pediatric sarcoma (Ewing's sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and other less common types of soft tissue and bone sarcomas) neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, Hodgkin disease, malignant lymphoma and other less common childhood cancers.

Allegheny General Hospital assumes full financial responsibility for travel and lodging expenses.

An additional 1 month rotation in Pediatric Radiation Oncology is performed at Childrens Hospital Pittsburgh of UPMC during the PGY5 year.

Radiation Physics

Residents also spend a one-month clinical rotation in medical physics/dosimetry
to gain hands-on experience with the practical aspects of treatment planning, computerized dosimetry, and machine calibration and operation. During the
course of the training program, residents also are encouraged and given
opportunities to participate in basic laboratory or clinical physics research.

Rotation schedule

The Radiation Oncology rotations consist of:

PGY2

  • Breast, CNS, Sarcoma, GYN  (3 months)
  • GI, SBRT, Head & Neck (3 months)
  • Lung, Head & Neck (3 months)
  • GU, CNS, Skin (3 months)

PGY3

  • Breast, CNS, Sarcoma, GYN (3 months)
  • GI, SBRT, Head & Neck (3 months)
  • Lung,  Head & Neck (3 months)
  • WPH – GynOnc/Lymphoma (3 months)

PGY4

  • Pediatric Oncology (Penn CHOP) (1 month)
  • Research (2 months)
  • AVH – integrated satellite (3 months)
  • GU, CNS, Skin (3 months)
  • GI, SBRT, Head & Neck (2 months)
  • Physics/Dosimetry (1 month)

PGY5

  • Pediatric Oncology (UPMC CHP) (1 month)
  • Lung, Head & Neck (2 months)
  • GI, SBRT, Head & Neck (3 months)
  • Breast, GYN, CNS, Sarcoma (3 months)
  • GU, CNS, Skin (2 months)
  • Radiology Elective (1 month)

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