Radiation Oncology Physics


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Radiation Oncology Physics

  1. 1. 61 Program Director P. H. McGinley, PhD Medical Director L. W. Davis, MD Professors L. W. Davis, MD; P. H. McGinley, PhD; P. Sprawls, Jr., PhD Assistant Professors A. H. Dhaba’an, PhD; E. S. Elder, PhD Instructor E. K. Butker, MS Master of Medical Science Degree The Radiation Oncology Physicist The radiation oncology physicist is trained in the use of radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The training includes a strong clinical component and a well-balanced collection of academic courses that cover nuclear physics, radiation physics, radiation protection, and the treatment planning methods. He or she also should have a basic knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. As a consultant to the radiation oncologist, the radi- ation oncology physicist or medical physicist is responsi- ble for treatment planning, dosimetry, health physics, and all aspects of irradiation techniques. Medical physi- cists also may be involved in training, research, and developments related to radiation therapy. In addition, they interact with other physicians developing and pro- viding clinical care. The Emory radiation oncology program is a five- semester, post-baccalaureate program leading to a master of medical science degree. The first three semesters of the program consist of lecture and laboratory courses. The second year of the curriculum provides clinical training in radiation oncol- ogy physics. During the second year, the student, work- ing both alone and as a part of a team, gains experience in managing the various physics problems encountered in treating patients with radiation. As a result, the stu- dent will acquire a high level of proficiency in dealing with the medical physics needs of patients under the care of a radiation oncologist. Information on application procedures and applica- tion forms may be obtained by writing to Dr. P. H. McGinley, The Emory Clinic, Department of Radiation Oncology, 1365 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30322. Admission Requirements 1. Admission of students to the radiation oncology physics program is based on an adequate training in the physical sciences. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in physics, chemistry, or engineering or a degree in the biological sciences with a strong background in physics and mathematics. The mathematics background should include competence with differential equations and differentiation and integration of functions of several variables. One year of general college level physics and a course in nuclear physics are required for admission. Knowledge of computer programming and electronics is also recommended. 2. A combined score of at least 1800 on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE (institutional code 5196). 3. Three letters of recommendations, one of which should be from an undergraduate adviser or an instructor in the student’s major. 4. Personal interview, after an initial screening, with two members of the admissions committee. 5. Approval of admission by the admissions committee. Technical Standards Students enrolled in the master of medical science pro- gram in radiation oncology physics should have the physical, mental, and emotional skills outlined below: I. The student must develop the ability to deal with patients and professional staff. The student must be able to: A. Communicate effectively with patients and professional staff. B. Effectively employ the instruments used to obtain patient data for planning treatment. C. Instruct and inform staff members, patients, and family regarding radiation safety procedures. II. Participate in physical activities in the radiation treatment facility and in the patients hospital room. These activities include: A. Lift, move, and position dosimetry equipment used to calibrate and perform quality control measurements for external beam and brachytherapy treatment units. B. Recognize colors used to code various brachy- therapy sources and instrument leads. C. Move quickly and accurately when working with brachytherapy sources. D. Hear radiation treatment device alarms and signals. III. Successfully participate in all aspects of the educa- tional program, including lectures, laboratory exercises, and clinical activities. IV. Demonstrate good judgment, honesty, and reliability in dealing with other students, the staff, and patients. Radiation Oncology Physics
  2. 2. 62 Radiation Oncology Physics The director of the radiation oncology physics pro- gram welcomes questions or inquiries from individuals with disabilities regarding the standards and their appli- cation to each individuals unique situation. In each case, a determination will be made as to whether the individ- ual is qualified for admission to the program and if rea- sonable accommodations can be made. While the radia- tion oncology physics program is prohibited by federal law from making inquiries about specific disabilities prior to admission, applicants who are selected for admission must be prepared to meet the performance standards in order to complete the program. Degree Requirements Students must complete required courses and the clinical internship (sixty-seven semester hours) with a grade of C or better and have an overall average of B or better. The required courses include a two-semester clinical residen- cy. Permission to begin the internship and residency will be based on an evaluation of the student by the progress committee. A comprehensive examination (oral and written) must be completed during the last semester of the residency. Required Courses BASIC ALLIED HEALTH SCIENCES 500. Anatomy Fall. Credit, four hours. Basic developmental micro- scopic and gross anatomy of the human body systems. Anatomical terms, structures, and relationships, emphasizing functional significance in problem-solving situations. RADIATION ONCOLOGY PHYSICS 505. Nuclear Physics Fall. Credit, three hours. Atomic theory, X-rays, atomic structure, basic properties of the nucleus, radioactivity, nuclear disintegration, neutron physics, absorption of radiation, and accelerators. 510. Radiation Dosimetry Fall. Credit, three hours. A comprehensive survey of fundamental principles of the dosimetry of ionizing radi- ation is presented. In addition, the basic concepts of microdosimetry, interface dosimetry, and LET measure- ments are introduced. 515. Electronics and Radiation Detection Instruments Fall. Credit, three hours. AC and DC circuits, semicon- ductor devices, and digital electronics. Physical princi- pals of various radiation detection and measurement devices. Geiger Muller counter, proportional counter, TLD systems, scintillation crystals, pulse height analyzer, and solid state detectors. 525. Radiological Health Physics Summer. Credit, three hours. Biological effects of radia- tion, protection standards, dosimetry of internal and external radiation, and health physics control programs. 530. Physics of Radiation Oncology Spring. Credit, four hours. Introduction to the physics of radiation therapy. Allows the student to gain medical physics experience in a clinical or hospital setting. Basic radiation-producing devices are described. This is fol- lowed by a discussion of calibration protocols. Techniques used for patient treatment planning are pre- sented. Approximately 25 percent of the lecture time is devoted to brachytherapy. 535. Diagnostic Imaging Spring. Credit, four hours. Characteristics of imaging systems, quality control, health physics, computer tomography, MAI, and ultrasound. 540. Medical Terminology Spring. Credit, one hour. Introduction to medical termi- nology required for radiation therapy. 545. Radiation Oncology Summer. Credit, three hours. Presentation of the sequence of steps carried out for cancer patients from the diagnosis of disease to patient treatment. The following parts of the treatment chain are covered: patient work- up, staging, overall treatment plan, isodose production, dosimetry, patient set-up, and treatment. Extensive hands-on use of the treatment- planning computer basic dosimetry equipment and patient setup aids is required of each student. 550. Medical Physics Internship Summer. Credit, four hours. Each student is required to spend eighteen hours per week in a clinical environment at one of several hospitals in the Atlanta area. The pur- pose of the internship is to gain practical experience in a radiation therapy department. The students activities are supervised by the medical physicist associated with each hospital, and the overall responsibility for the course rests with the medical physics program director. 555. Radiation Biology Spring. Credit, three hours. The effects of ionizing radia- tion on biological systems, including cells, organs, tis- sues, and organisms; late effects including mutation and carcinogenesis; methods of protection; and modification.
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  4. 4. 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 clinicians. 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.