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Radiation Oncology Physics
Program Director P. H. McGinley, PhD should include competence with differential
Medical Director L. W. Davis, MD equations and differentiation and integration of
Professors L. W. Davis, MD; P. H. McGinley, PhD; functions of several variables. One year of general
P. Sprawls, Jr., PhD college level physics and a course in nuclear physics
Assistant Professors A. H. Dhaba’an, PhD; E. S. Elder, are required for admission. Knowledge of computer
PhD programming and electronics is also recommended.
Instructor E. K. Butker, MS 2. A combined score of at least 1800 on the verbal,
quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE
(institutional code 5196).
Master of Medical Science Degree 3. Three letters of recommendations, one of which
The Radiation Oncology Physicist
should be from an undergraduate adviser or an
The radiation oncology physicist is trained in the use of instructor in the student’s major.
radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The 4. Personal interview, after an initial screening, with
training includes a strong clinical component and a two members of the admissions committee.
well-balanced collection of academic courses that cover 5. Approval of admission by the admissions
nuclear physics, radiation physics, radiation protection, committee.
and the treatment planning methods. He or she also
should have a basic knowledge of human anatomy and
physiology. Technical Standards
As a consultant to the radiation oncologist, the radi- Students enrolled in the master of medical science pro-
ation oncology physicist or medical physicist is responsi- gram in radiation oncology physics should have the
ble for treatment planning, dosimetry, health physics, physical, mental, and emotional skills outlined below:
and all aspects of irradiation techniques. Medical physi-
cists also may be involved in training, research, and I. The student must develop the ability to deal with
developments related to radiation therapy. In addition, patients and professional staff. The student must be
they interact with other physicians developing and pro- able to:
viding clinical care. A. Communicate effectively with patients and
The Emory radiation oncology program is a five- professional staff.
semester, post-baccalaureate program leading to a master B. Effectively employ the instruments used to
of medical science degree. obtain patient data for planning treatment.
The first three semesters of the program consist of C. Instruct and inform staff members, patients,
lecture and laboratory courses. The second year of the and family regarding radiation safety
curriculum provides clinical training in radiation oncol- procedures.
ogy physics. During the second year, the student, work-
ing both alone and as a part of a team, gains experience II. Participate in physical activities in the radiation
in managing the various physics problems encountered treatment facility and in the patients hospital room.
in treating patients with radiation. As a result, the stu- These activities include:
dent will acquire a high level of proficiency in dealing A. Lift, move, and position dosimetry equipment
with the medical physics needs of patients under the used to calibrate and perform quality control
care of a radiation oncologist. measurements for external beam and
Information on application procedures and applica- brachytherapy treatment units.
tion forms may be obtained by writing to Dr. P. H. B. Recognize colors used to code various brachy-
McGinley, The Emory Clinic, Department of Radiation therapy sources and instrument leads.
Oncology, 1365 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30322. C. Move quickly and accurately when working
with brachytherapy sources.
D. Hear radiation treatment device alarms
Admission Requirements and signals.
1. Admission of students to the radiation oncology
physics program is based on an adequate training III. Successfully participate in all aspects of the educa-
in the physical sciences. Applicants must possess tional program, including lectures, laboratory exercises,
a bachelor’s degree in physics, chemistry, or and clinical activities.
engineering or a degree in the biological sciences
with a strong background in physics and IV. Demonstrate good judgment, honesty, and reliability
mathematics. The mathematics background in dealing with other students, the staff, and patients.
62 Radiation Oncology Physics
The director of the radiation oncology physics pro- TLD systems, scintillation crystals, pulse height analyzer,
gram welcomes questions or inquiries from individuals and solid state detectors.
with disabilities regarding the standards and their appli-
cation to each individuals unique situation. In each case, 525. Radiological Health Physics
a determination will be made as to whether the individ- Summer. Credit, three hours. Biological effects of radia-
ual is qualified for admission to the program and if rea- tion, protection standards, dosimetry of internal and
sonable accommodations can be made. While the radia- external radiation, and health physics control programs.
tion oncology physics program is prohibited by federal
law from making inquiries about specific disabilities prior 530. Physics of Radiation Oncology
to admission, applicants who are selected for admission Spring. Credit, four hours. Introduction to the physics
must be prepared to meet the performance standards in of radiation therapy. Allows the student to gain medical
order to complete the program. physics experience in a clinical or hospital setting. Basic
radiation-producing devices are described. This is fol-
lowed by a discussion of calibration protocols.
Degree Requirements Techniques used for patient treatment planning are pre-
Students must complete required courses and the clinical sented. Approximately 25 percent of the lecture time is
internship (sixty-seven semester hours) with a grade of C devoted to brachytherapy.
or better and have an overall average of B or better. The
required courses include a two-semester clinical residen- 535. Diagnostic Imaging
cy. Permission to begin the internship and residency will Spring. Credit, four hours. Characteristics of imaging
be based on an evaluation of the student by the progress systems, quality control, health physics, computer
committee. A comprehensive examination (oral and tomography, MAI, and ultrasound.
written) must be completed during the last semester of
the residency. 540. Medical Terminology
Spring. Credit, one hour. Introduction to medical termi-
nology required for radiation therapy.
BASIC ALLIED HEALTH SCIENCES 545. Radiation Oncology
500. Anatomy Summer. Credit, three hours. Presentation of the
Fall. Credit, four hours. Basic developmental micro- sequence of steps carried out for cancer patients from the
scopic and gross anatomy of the human body systems. diagnosis of disease to patient treatment. The following
Anatomical terms, structures, and relationships, parts of the treatment chain are covered: patient work-
emphasizing functional significance in problem-solving up, staging, overall treatment plan, isodose production,
situations. dosimetry, patient set-up, and treatment. Extensive
hands-on use of the treatment- planning computer basic
RADIATION ONCOLOGY PHYSICS dosimetry equipment and patient setup aids is required of
505. Nuclear Physics each student.
Fall. Credit, three hours. Atomic theory, X-rays, atomic
structure, basic properties of the nucleus, radioactivity, 550. Medical Physics Internship
nuclear disintegration, neutron physics, absorption of Summer. Credit, four hours. Each student is required to
radiation, and accelerators. spend eighteen hours per week in a clinical environment
at one of several hospitals in the Atlanta area. The pur-
510. Radiation Dosimetry pose of the internship is to gain practical experience in a
Fall. Credit, three hours. A comprehensive survey of radiation therapy department. The students activities are
fundamental principles of the dosimetry of ionizing radi- supervised by the medical physicist associated with each
ation is presented. In addition, the basic concepts of hospital, and the overall responsibility for the course
microdosimetry, interface dosimetry, and LET measure- rests with the medical physics program director.
ments are introduced.
555. Radiation Biology
515. Electronics and Radiation Detection Instruments Spring. Credit, three hours. The effects of ionizing radia-
Fall. Credit, three hours. AC and DC circuits, semicon- tion on biological systems, including cells, organs, tis-
ductor devices, and digital electronics. Physical princi- sues, and organisms; late effects including mutation and
pals of various radiation detection and measurement carcinogenesis; methods of protection; and modification.
devices. Geiger Muller counter, proportional counter,
64 Radiation Oncology Physics
560. Radiation Shielding
Summer. Credit, two hours. Shielding techniques for
medical accelerators, cobalt units, high dose rate after-
loaders, diagnostic radiology X-ray units, nuclear medi-
cine, and brachytherapy.
665. Physics of Nuclear Medicine
Fall. Credit, three hours. Characteristics of nuclear
medicine imaging systems, assay, calibration, quality
assurance, patient dose estimation, and health physics.
670. Residency in Radiation Therapy I
Fall. Credit, fourteen hours. Practical experience in all
areas of radiation therapy. Each student will be assigned
to a physicist but will also interact with therapists and
675. Residency in Radiation Therapy II
Spring. Credit, fourteen hours. A continuation of 670.
697r. Independent Study
Each semester. Variable credit. Individualized study
designed by the student and his/her faculty adviser.
Specialized learning experience, related to student’s
program, not available through formal course offerings.