Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncology – School of Medical Dosimetry

The Profession

A medical dosimetrist is a member of the radiation oncology team who has knowledge of the overall characteristics and clinical relevance of radiation oncology treatment and planning equipment, is cognizant of procedures commonly used in brachytherapy and has the education and expertise necessary to generate radiation dose distributions and dose calculations. It is imperative that medical dosimetrists actively and openly communicate with radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists, and nurses, among other members of the team, to enable and ensure that appropriate transfer of information occurs. A medical dosimetrist must demonstrate an understanding of topics including, but not limited to, cancer, radiation biology, radiation therapy techniques, radiation oncology physics, equipment technology, radiation safety and protection, anatomy, physiology, mathematics, and psychosocial aspects of cancer.

The Program

CTRC offers a one-year training certificate program in Medical Dosimetry beginning the 3rd week of August. This Program is structured to include clinical as well as didactic training in all aspects of Medical Dosimetry. Our Program is one of the few nationally-accredited schools in Medical Dosimetry by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Further information regarding the program can be found on the JRCERT website.

Mission Statement & Goals

To provide students with the necessary knowledge and training required by the Profession so that on completion of the program they will be able to function independently, confidently and effectively as an entry-level medical dosimetrist in a clinical setting with minimal outside assistance.


Goal – Students will understand didactic dosimetry knowledge.

Student Learning Outcome:

  • Students will demonstrate a firm understanding of radiation physics and radiation biology.
  • Graduates will express knowledge of medical dosimetry concepts competently.

Goal – Students will develop critical thinking skills.

Student Learning Outcome:

  • Students will analyze and demonstrate sound problem solving techniques in correcting unacceptable treatment plans.
  • Graduates will be adequately prepared in critical-thinking and problem solving.

Goal - Students will demonstrate clinical competence in medical dosimetry.

Student Learning Outcome:

  • Students will develop a treatment plan that provides target coverage and normal tissues sparing.
  • Graduates will indicate that they were prepared to perform medical procedures competently.

Goal - Students will demonstrate communication skills.

Student Learning Outcome:

  • Students will demonstrate effective oral communication skills.
  • Students will demonstrate effective written communication skills.

Goal – Students will gain professional development and growth skill in medical dosimetry.

Student Learning Outcome:

  • Students will demonstrate the importance of continued professional development.
  • Students will understand their professional obligation to medical dosimetry profession.

Program Effectiveness Data

The performance of the Program is reflected through program effectiveness data (PED) as defined by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Program effectiveness data includes the program completion rate, MDCB credentialing examination pass rate and job placement rate. Explanations of these measures and program data that correspond with the annual report most recently submitted to the JRCERT are noted below.

 

 

Annual Results (#)

5-yr. Average Results (#)

MDCB First-Time Pass Rate

80% (5)

78% (26)

Job Placement Rate

100% (4)

88% (26)

Program Completion Rate

100% (4)

100% (26)

*Updated 1/1/2014

Admissions Criteria

Admission requirements:

  • Individuals who hold a bachelor degree in Radiation Therapy (BSRT)
  • Individuals who hold a bachelor degree in a physical science

Applicants must have completed the following prerequisites prior to enrolling:

  • Two semesters of algebra-based physics
  • Two semesters of algebra (preferably calculus)
  • A semester of medical terminology
  • A semester of human gross anatomy and/or human physiology

It is the policy of the school and its sponsor to admit students without regard to race, sex, religion, national origin or handicap, unless the handicap would prevent the student from fulfilling clinical requirements.

Application Process

Applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted by March 1. The application form may be downloaded here. A personal telephone interview from admissions committee will be conducted for selected candidates.

Student Selection

During March, the admissions committee will review all completed applications. The committee may select some candidates for a personal telephone interview based on academic achievements, GPA, prior training, and personal references. A strong math background is highly recommended. If you are asked to come to the facility for an interview, out-of-town applicants are responsible for their transportation and all costs associated with the interview.

Professional Certification

Graduates of the program are eligible to apply to the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB) for the certification examination once they fulfill the MDCB requirements. This examination is designed to improve the practice of medical dosimetry by voluntary testing of the candidate's competency. For more information, please visit http://www.mdcb.org.

Curriculum

The training consists of 1364 hours of clinical training and 396 hours of formal classroom, laboratory exercises or modules. The curriculum is based on the AAMD curricular guide for training medical dosimetrists. The curriculum consists of 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, of integrated classroom and clinical instruction. Classes and clinical rotations are held within the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at UTHSCSA. Primary faculty for the school consists of board certified Radiation Oncologists, board certified Medical Physicists, and certified Medical Dosimetrists. The annual program is divided into three semesters as follows:


Fall

DOS 100 – Clinical Radiation Physics
DOS 101 – Principles of Treatment Planning I
DOS 102 – Treatment Planning Practicum I
DOS 103 – Whole Body Cross-sectional Anatomy

Spring

DOS 200 – Radiation Therapy
DOS 201 – Radiation Biology
DOS 202 – Treatment Planning Practicum II
DOS 203 – Dosimetry Research
DOS 204 – Clinical Dosimetry Practice I

Summer

DOS 300 – Clinical Dosimetry Practice II
DOS 301 – Dosimetry Research II

Academic Calendar

The Medical Dosimetry Program follows the Academic Calendar set forth by the Registrar Office of the School of Medicine. Current academic calendar can be found here. All Holidays will be observed accordingly.

Program Policies

The Medical Dosimetry Program has established program policies to ensure the successful training of students. Program policies can be found here.

Costs

A $12,500 fee for the one-year certificate program (subject to change without notification). Of this, $500 is paid as a non-refundable deposit upon acceptance into the program. Remaining balance is divided into two equal payments due September 1st and February 1st. There is non-refundable $50 application fee. Please make check or money order payable to: "UTHSCSA Radiation Oncology." CTRC does not provide health insurance for students. Students assume the cost of books, meals, housing, transportation, parking, and supplies.

Financial Assistance

The medical dosimetry program does not qualify for federally sponsored or subsidized loans as this is a certificate program. Unsecured loans may be available through some banks. Merit-based scholarships, sponsored by the AAMD, are also available to students at the AAMD Foundation Scholarship Award website.

Housing

No on-site residential accommodations are available. CTRC is located in the San Antonio Medical Center, very closely situated to many apartment complexes. Homes are also available for rent or purchase.

Facility

CTRC is an outpatient facility located in the San Antonio Medical Center area. The radiation therapy department treats about one hundred patients per day.

Imaging modalities

2 GE LightSpeed™ CT scanners
Linear accelerators
1 Varian 600C®
2 Varian 2100C/D® (80 and 120 Leaf MLC)
2 Varian 23EX® (80 Leaf MLC)
1 TomoTherapy® Hi-Art™
1 NovalisTx™ Stereotactic unit with robotic capabilities
Record and verify system
Impac® Mosaic™ Multi-Access Software
External Beam Treatment Planning
Virtual simulation using AcQ3™
3D external beam treatment planning using Philips® Pinnacle3 treatment planning system (TPS)
Nomos® Corvus™ planning station and MiMiC™ binary collimated delivery system
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) planning using the Pinnacle3 TPS
TomoTherapy® Adaptive radiotherapy™
Eclipse™ 3D, IMRT, and RapidArc™ planning
iPlan™ from BrainLab® for SRS and SBRT planning
Brachytherapy Treatment Planning
High dose rate brachytherapy using the Nucletron® Oncentra™ TPS
CT guided brachytherapy
Transrectal ultrasound prostate seed implants (TRUS) using the Prowess™ TPS
Low dose rate brachytherapy using Pinnacle3 TPS
Special Procedures
Total body photon irradiation (TBI)
Total skin electron irradiation (TSE)
Intravascular brachytherapy

Who To Contact

Please address inquiries and applications to:


Alicia Jimenez
Dosimetry School Program Coordinator
Division of Medical Physics
Cancer Therapy and Research Center at
University of Texas Health Science Center
7979 Wurzbach Rd, MC 7889
San Antonio, TX 78229-4427
Phone: (210) 450-5664
Fax: (210) 450-1076
jimeneza3@uthscsa.edu