Department of Radiation Oncology

Physics Residency Program Overview

History:

The Medical University of South Carolina has served the citizens of South Carolina since 1824.  It expanded from a small private college for the training of physicians to a state university with a medical center and six colleges for the education of a broad range of health professionals, biomedical scientists and other health related personnel. When the Medical College of South Carolina was chartered by the South Carolina legislature on December 20, 1823 it became the tenth medical school in the United States and the first in the Deep South.   The first board certified radiation oncologist came to MUSC in 1968 and in 1976 the first radiation oncology medical resident began his training.    In 2007, MUHA was awarded a $10,000 start-up grant for a medical physics residency program in radiation oncology.   This grant was the catalyst for the efforts of the radiation oncology department chairman, Joseph M. Jenrette, MD, and the director of medical physics, Kenneth N. Vanek, PhD, to create a physics residency program and add a dynamic synergy between physics residents and medical residents.  The Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program is funded by the Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA) and funding is authorized by the Hospital CEO for one resident per year.  The first resident began this two year program on July 1, 2008.

Basic Structure:

The Radiation Oncology Medical Physics residency program is a part of the Department of Radiation Oncology in the College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and the Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA).   The program currently accepts one resident per year for the two year program.   MUHA is responsible for the clinical support of radiation oncology including the facility, equipment, and technical staff (radiation therapists, dosimetrists, nurses, and hospital clerical staff).  The professional and academic components are under MUSC.  The Department’s six radiation oncologists, one radiobiologist, and six medical physicists are on the faculty of the Medical School.  MUHA and the Department of Radiation Oncology provides the funding for all radiation oncology residencies including the two physics positions in this program.   The Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Residency is a companion program to the Radiation Oncology Medical Residency directed by David T. Marshall, MD.  Currently, the medical residency program is approved for six total positions.   The physics residents also interface with the Department of Radiology physics faculty and the Radiation Safety Office.   The physics residents attend didactic lectures with medical residents in radiobiology, radiation oncology physics, and imaging physics. 

The Department of Radiation Oncology is a part of the interdepartmental collaborative oncology group within the Hollings Cancer Center which obtained recognition as a National Cancer Center Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center in March, 2009.  The physics residents attend various multi-disciplinary tumor boards at Hollings Cancer Center such as Head and Neck, Lung, Neuro Oncology, GYN, and Urology and therefore have ample opportunity for direct interaction with neurosurgeons, urologists, and other medical specialists.

A.    Physics Faculty Structure

The Radiation Oncology Medical Physics section includes the Director of Medical Physics plus five additional physics faculty members.  Four of the physicists have Doctorate degrees and two have Masters degrees.  In addition, G. Donald Frey, PhD serves as a physics advisor and lecturer to the program.  The Director of Medical Physics is also responsible for the technical direction of the five medical dosimetrists who are employees of the Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA).  The Program Director is Kenneth N. Vanek, PhD who also serves as the Director of Medical Physics and New Technology for the Department of Radiation Oncology.  Dr. Vanek has been appointed by the Radiation Oncology Department Chairman to create, develop, and direct the radiation oncology physics residency program. 

B.    Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program Committee

A Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program Committee (aka the Program Committee) has been established for the Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program.  This committee consists of the radiation oncology physics faculty, a certified medical dosimetrist, and a radiation oncologist who also serves as the medical advisor to the program.   The committee evaluates the program on an annual basis, approves any significant changes in curriculum or procedures, reviews and addresses, as needed, any resident performance issues, and serves as the selection committee along with the Radiation Oncology Department Chairman.  Minutes of the Committee meeting are kept on file.