The Radiation Physics Residency program at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH) is structured as a two-year clinical training program for individuals who intend to work in Radiation Oncology Physics.
The goal of our physics residency program is to educate and train physics residents to gain professional knowledge and practice skills in clinical radiation oncology physics for working independently in either academic or community practice settings. The primary training site, MGUH, includes a wide range of state-of-the-art radiation oncology technologies and modalities, for instance, the world’s first Mevion HYPERSCAN pencil beam scanning proton therapy system. Residents will be provided broad-based, in-depth training and participate in the breadth of routine clinical duties under the close supervision of experienced medical physicists. Upon completion of the program, residents will demonstrate competencies in routine clinical practice and will be prepared for the professional examination and licensure process in the specialty of Therapeutic Medical Physics.
Our Radiation Physics Residency Program has been granted provisional accreditation of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) in July of 2021. We recruited our first resident in October of 2021 and will admit at least one resident in July for coming years.
Program staff members at MGUH include 8 physicists and 5 dosimetrists possessing a variety of expertise in conventional linac external beam radiation therapy, HDR/LDR brachytherapy, CyberKnife/ZAP stereotactic radiosurgery, proton therapy, and radiation safety and protection. Among 8 physicists are Dalong Pang, Ph.D., Chief of Physics, Yu Chen, Ph.D., Program Director, and Mr. Matthew Williams, Radiation Safety Officer.
The sponsoring institution for the Radiation Physics Residency is the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH), a member hospital of MedStar Health, with over 600 beds located in the historic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. MGUH is an academic partner with Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and the Georgetown University School of Medicine. GUMC receives over $100 million in annual research funding and is home to numerous world class cancer researchers. The Department of Radiation Medicine is a central component of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC), a National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1974, and Washington D.C.’s only comprehensive cancer center. The LCCC is a leader in cancer research, education, treatment, and community service.
The Department of Radiation Medicine was established at Georgetown University Hospital in 1979. In 2000 Georgetown University Hospital became part of MedStar Health, an integrated healthcare system with multiple hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region, and was renamed MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH). Current treatment technology in the Department includes two modern Varian linear accelerators, two Accuray CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery systems, one ZAP-X stereotactic radiosurgery system, one Mevion HYPERSCAN PBS proton beam therapy system, one Carl Zeiss Intrabeam system and one IntraOp Mobetron system for intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), one Varian GammaMedplus iX remote afterloader system for HDR brachytherapy, one Varian VariSeed prostate seed implant system, and one Siemens SOMATOM Definition Edge dual energy large bore CT simulator with 4D and gated CT capability together with Varian respiratory gating for scanners (RGSC) system. MGUH was one of the first hospitals to establish a CyberKnife program with two CyberKnives and was the world’s first hospital to install the Mevion S250i HYPERSCAN proton system and the first proton facility in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Furthermore, MGUH was also the second hospital in the US and the first on the east coast to install the cutting-edge ZAP-X radiosurgical system for stereotactic treatment of brain lesions. Treatment planning systems include Varian Eclipse and BrachyVision, Accuray Precision, RaySearch RayStation, and ZAP-X treatment planning systems. Brachytherapy procedures include permanent prostate seed implants and HDR gynecological procedures. Special programs include total body irradiation, liver Yttrium-90 microspheres, intraoperative X-ray irradiation of breast surgical bed, and intraoperative electron beam irradiation of surgical bed of gastrointestinal cancers.
Life in the Nation’s Capital
As the Nation’s Capital, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area has many attractions including museums, parks, performing arts venues as well as an active nightlife. The Georgetown neighborhood is particularly known for its restaurants and shops both on M Street and on the waterfront. Washington D.C. is located between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, and it offers diverse opportunities for outdoor recreation. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 best city to find a job, it is an important center for health care where far-reaching policy decisions are made. The Washington D.C. metropolitan area is home to the National Institutes of Health, which comprises of 27 separate institutes and centers of different biomedical disciplines, including the National Cancer Institute, and many other federal government agencies, such as the FDA and NIST.
There are eight clinical rotations each occurring in three-month block for physics residents during two-year training. The clinical rotations cover the following topics:
- Operation of linacs in clinical and service modes for plan and radiation delivery; Use of physics and service mode for problem resolution
- Daily, monthly, and annual QA of linacs; Output, dose rate, energy, and profile adjustments
- IMRT and VMAT QA, use of 2D array and portal imager for radiation measurements and analyses; Use of specialty software for data analyses
- Linac acceptance and commissioning
- Commissioning of treatment planning system
- Treatment planning: hand calc, computer aided 3DCRT, IMRT, VMAT
- Plan and chart checks, special physics consultation
- Design and fabrication of treatment aids
- Linac-based SRS, SRT, and SBRT
- IGRT, Use of KV, MV, and CBCT for image acquisition and calibration of the imagers
CT and CT simulation
- Operation of CT for 3D and 4D-CT acquisition
- Monthly and annual calibration of CT
- CT simulation for treatment planning for different radiation delivery modalities
CyberKnife and ZAP Radiotherapy
- Use of CyberKnife and ZAP for treatment delivery
- Use of different tracking modes for target tracking
- Daily, monthly, and annual calibration of CyberKnife and ZAP
- Treatment planning for CyberKnife and ZAP
- Operation of the Mevion HYPERSCAN proton system in clinical, physics, and service modes
- Daily, monthly, and annual calibration of the HYPERSCAN
- Proton treatment planning using RayStation
- Use of specific radiation measurement devices for proton beam characterization
- Varian HDR pre-treatment, quarterly and annual QA, source exchange calibration
- HDR treatment planning using BrachyVision
- Ultrasound guided prostate seed implant procedure
- Calibration of seeds
- Treatment planning using VariSeed
- SirSphere and TeraSphere procedure
- Carl Zeiss Intrabeam for breast lumpectomy cavity irradiation
- IntraOp Mobetron for intraoperative GI cancer bed irradiation, commissioning
- Total Body Irradiation, commissioning and procedure, in vivo dosimetry, use of TLD, film, and other applicable dosimeters
Radiation shielding and safety considerations
- Shielding design of linac vaults
- Radiation surveys, leakage testing, and other requirements of regulatory agencies
- NRC-Mandated Quality Management Program: review of QMP document, implementation, and audit.
A resident candidate should have completed most didactic courses required for this program in his/her Ph.D. or M.S. studies. Further education can be acquired through attendance of weekly medical resident lectures, department chart round and proton round throughout the year. When necessary, a physics resident may take a relevant physics course offered through the M.S. Health Physics Program at Georgetown University School of Medicine or physics and radiobiology lectures offered to the medical residents by the faculty at the Department of Radiation Medicine.
Participation in clinical and translational research are strongly encouraged of the physics residents. The department supports resident’s travel for presentation of abstracts at international professional meetings and attendance of local AAPM chapter meetings.
Applicant Information & Financial Support
The admission to the MGUH Radiation Physics Residency Program is in compliance with the CAMPEP standards. 1) Applicants should possess a Ph.D. or M.S. degree in Medical Physics graduated from a CAMPEP accredited Medical Physics Graduate Program; 2) Applicants with a Ph.D. degree in physics or relevant fields should complete a CAMPEP accredited Certificate Program. Alternately, those with a Ph.D. degree in physics or relevant fields and completed the graduate coursework in the following six subjects may apply. Six subjects are:
- Radiological Physics and Dosimetry
- Radiation Protection and Radiation Safety
- Fundamentals of Imaging in Medicine
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Radiation Therapy Physics
After our admissions committee has reviewed your application, you will receive an email or phone call informing you of the status of your application. All interviews are by invitation only.
Our radiation physics residency program will participate in the AAPM Residency Common Application System for resident candidate’s application in 2023. Applicants must submit their applications through AAPM MP-RAP.
For additional information about our program, please contact our program director and/or program coordinator.
Statistics of Radiation Physics Residents
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Michael Shang, Ph.D.
Michael Shang received the Ph.D. degree in Medical Physics from University of Florida in 2019. During his Ph.D. studies he incorporated novel LITT technology from Monteris, Inc. to the University of Florida, bridging wide gaps between the technology and the clinic, particularly in the useability for physicians. In October of 2021, he was admitted into our program. He is fully appreciative of Georgetown’s ample latitude of technologies and diverse employee workforce and enjoys a comprehensive academic and clinical experience.
Boran Zhou, Ph.D.
Boran Zhou received the B.S. degree from Harbin Institute of Technology in China in 2009, and the Ph.D. degree from the Biomedical Engineering program in University of South Carolina in 2014. In 2016, he joined the Mayo Clinic as a senior research fellow in the Department of Radiology. In 2020, he joined the Emory University as a research scientist in the Department of Radiation Oncology. His research interests include quantitative ultrasound imaging for assessing tissue toxicity, ultrasound elastography, soft tissue computational and experimental modeling, biomedical engineering, instrumentation, and clinical translational research.
Physics residents in this program are supported by funds from the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH) and the Department of Radiation Medicine. Yearly stipends are similar to those for medical residents as outlined by the office of MedStar Graduate Medical Education (GME). Benefits include comprehensive health and supplemental dental and vision benefits, retirement benefits and savings plan, life and disability insurance, paid time off, etc. Further information can be obtained on the GME website under Salary and Benefits.
Please contact our residency coordinator or program director for any additional information.
Yu Chen, Ph.D.