Therapeutic Radiological Physics Residency Program

A message from the Program Director

The Health Quest Medical Physics Residency Program at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, established in 2009, offers a two-year training for therapeutic medical physicists and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) (2012).

Health Quest medical physics residents have a unique opportunity to work in a completely clinical environment. The program is organized as an apprenticeship with residents acquiring hands-on experience in all physics procedures performed in hospital-based clinics. The program does not, with few exceptions, offer formal time-limited rotations; on the contrary, residents will experience and practice clinical skills in all competencies throughout the two-year period. Residents’ routine workday is similar to that of a staff physicist; hence, residents graduate well prepared for their future work in hospital professional settings.

One of the keys to the success of this program model is our residents’ professional career begins on day one of residency, not on day 730. To date, all of our graduates have been successful in finding their first job after graduation and most are already board certified.

We strongly encourage you to apply if you are a motivated medical physics graduate who desires a challenging, rewarding opportunity to provide clinical service for diverse cases in local communities.

Serguei Kriminski, PhD
Program Director, Vassar Brothers Medical Center Therapeutic Radiological Physics Residency Program

Download the program statistics.

Program Structure

Clinical Environment

Health Quest has three clinical radiation oncology centers in the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York State. The main, hospital-based Medical Physics Department is at Vassar Brothers Medical Center (VBMC) located in Poughkeepsie, NY. The affiliated centers are located southeast Poughkeepsie in Carmel (Putnam Radiation Oncology Center, PROC) and northwest of Poughkeepsie in Kingston (Ulster Radiation Oncology Center, UROC). Carmel and Kingston, the two most widely separated centers, are approximately 55 miles apart.

The program supports two residents at a time, one at year 1 and the other at year 2. The staffing of all centers is managed centrally, and assignments of personnel to clinics remain relatively static. This strategy affords stability and continuity in the practice of each center, providing significant advantages, including built-in peer review, cross-coverage and centralized administrative control.

The medical physics team consists of three full-time licensed medical physicists, one junior physicist and two medical physics residents. One of the staff medical physicists, whose base office is at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, serves as Director of the Medical Physics Residency Program. The dosimetry section consists of four Certified Medical Dosimetrists (CMDs), including one Chief Dosimetrist. The therapists report to a radiation oncology manager.

Health Quest radiation oncology consists of an ongoing program of quality management and peer review to maintain consistent practices across the three centers. Both clinical and administrative meetings are routinely attended by staff from all centers using teleconferencing. The enterprise shares a single treatment planning database server for external beam treatment planning systems, and a single MOSAIQ database so all records are viewable from all sites at any time. The entire clinical practice is fully electronic within MOSAIQ EMR. Physics documents and other machine-related records have migrated to shared electronic storage.

Program Objectives

The goal of the Health Quest Medical Physics Residency Program in therapeutic radiological physics is to prepare new medical physics graduates to independently perform the diverse duties of a radiation oncology physicist in a typical practice.

We believe the individuals who choose clinical medical physics as their profession must have:

  • Strong basic medical skills
  • Sound clinical judgment, including the ability to recognize the edges of their own competencies
  • Diverse expertise in various procedures
  • Developed responsibility and independence to serve as a source of expertise in a healthcare organization
  • A strong professional work ethic
  • Soft skills

Therefore, the program’s teaching objectives include:

  • Understanding the role of radiation oncology in healthcare
  • Defining the role of the professional medical physicist in radiation oncology
  • Acquiring specific knowledge and skills required to perform the medical physicist’s work in clinical procedures typical for radiation oncology
  • Developing a sense of professional identity and professionalism in their work, including soft skills
  • Reinforcing habits of critical thinking, problem recognition, problem solving and attention to detail
  • Mastering the principles of the safe use of radiation in medicine
  • Dissecting issues of apprehension or harm to patients arising through error or omission, and the critical role of the medical physicist in enssuring patient safety
  • Learning skills required to accept, commission and monitor performance of the major equipment used in radiation oncology
  • Selecting and using correct instrumentation to make clinically significant radiation measurements
  • Preparing residents for ABR certification exams, and enabling them to distinguish themselves as outstanding candidates for future employment
  • Providing materials for self-study
  • Download self-study materials.

Program Competencies

Residents will be examined on 16 core competencies. They will be expected to demonstrate mastery of at least 12 of the 16 (eight of them considered mandatory), and to be conversant in the others. Mastery is defined as the ability to independently perform the work completely and accurately in a timely fashion. A resident will be judged to be conversant if he/she can communicate clearly the important concepts and cite the relevant source of authority for an area of competence, even if he/she has not yet demonstrated the ability to perform the work independently.

Mastery in any competency is judged by a combination of:

  1. Performance evaluations (P) by clinical supervisors during rotation, meaning direct observation of each task as it is being performed
  2. A written report created by the resident
  3. Performance of a skill and/or in an oral exam (O). The oral exam should be structured similarly to ABR, with a debrief of the examiners and feedback to the resident. Questions are to be saved as a part of documentation.

The core competencies are:

  • Clinical patient management
  • External beam delivery
  • External beam treatment planning
  • Brachytherapy commissioning and QA
  • Brachytherapy treatment planning
  • Brachytherapy delivery
  • Instrumentation and dosimetry protocols
  • Patient specific physics services
  • Information systems/EMR
  • Administrative and professional responsibilities
  • Clinical program management
  • Special procedures treatment planning
  • Special procedures delivery
  • Radiation safety and regulatory

How to Apply

  • Residency applicants will be screened according to predefined criteria to ensure that selection is on the basis of applicant preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity.
  • Applications are accepted only through the Medical Physics Residency Application Program (MP-RAP)
  • We participate in the MedPhys Match program by National Matching Services, Inc.
  • Program start date: June 17
  • Number of positions: 1
  • Application deadline: December 24

Health Quest Residency Interviews

  • Phone interviews take place around early to mid-January. Several candidates are offered on-site interviews.
  • The residency accepts only applicants who completed a CAMPEP-accredited graduate program. Since Vassar Brothers Medical Center is a community practice, we are not able to and do not intend to offer remedial coursework in adjunct to the residency.

Current Residents

* Expected graduation in 2019 – Ryan Joseph

Ryan received his MS from Columbia University in 2017.