Didactics and Curriculum
The radiation oncology residency training program at KU is structured to create a collaborative and engaging environment for trainees. Clinical rotations are scheduled in two-month blocks, emphasizing 1:1 training with attendings and focused on a single or limited number of disease sites. During this time, residents are responsible for seeing all new patient consultations, follow-up visits, and on-treatment visits, and are also responsible for contouring cases and evaluating radiation plans. A dedicated, six-month research block is undertaken during the PGY-4 year, along with a physics and dosimetry rotation performed at the end of PGY-4 year.
In addition to clinical duties, there are a number of educational didactic sessions that constitute protected time for the residents, during which they are not responsible for clinical coverage. All lectures are available through telemedicine to all KU sites to ensure robust participation by faculty and staff.
This curriculum has been supplemented with weekly quality meetings as well as regular lectures on:
Clinical Didactic Lectures: Every Monday and Wednesday morning, the residents attend didactic lectures. The lecture series is organized into 6-8 week blocks by disease site (e.g., breast, GU, head and neck). A number of teaching formats are used including traditional lectures, flipped classroom models, case reviews, journal clubs, and debate style lectures on controversial topics. Attending physician participation in resident conferences is required, and the participation of guest lecturers from other departments such as pathology, surgery, radiology and medical oncology is an expected component of each lecture series, which helps to round out the academic depth for each topic.
Physics and Radiation Biology: Physics and radiobiology lectures are given on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our radiation biology course is directed by Dr. Bruce Kimler. Departmental faculty include two Ph.D. radiation biologists and three physician scientists, all of whom actively participate in radiation biology lectures covering their areas of clinical and research expertise. Our radiation physics course is directed by our chief of medical physics, Dr. Habeeb Saleh, and consists of a combination of hands and didactic lectures with active participation from all or our clinical radiation physicists.
Quality Assurance Sessions: Each Wednesday at noon, the residents attend QA sessions that focus on improving the safety and quality of clinical care. The focus of the sessions rotates weekly between the topics of mortality and morbidity, patient safety and patient experience. The residency program is heavily focused on clinical quality improvement, and trainees have developed initiatives to promote safety in the workplace through tools as root cause analysis and failure mode and effect analysis.
Weekly Department Chart Rounds: All cases that are starting treatment in the department are prospectively reviewed at the weekly department chart rounds on Thursdays. Residents actively participate in prospective chart rounds, which are integrated across all KU sites via telemedicine and typically consists of the presentation of 50-100 "new starts" weekly. The emphasis is always on collegiality and camaraderie.
Multidisciplinary Tumor Boards: Residents attend weekly multidisciplinary tumor boards relevant to their rotation.
Visiting Professorship Series: Visiting professors who are considered experts in the field are brought in to spend a day with residents on a quarterly basis. During this time, residents will review patient cases, journal articles and research protocols with the selected specialist.