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Crouching Physics, Hidden Bio: Incorporating Physics and Radiobiology Education Into the Context of Clinical Radiation Oncology

J Burmeister1,2*, M Joiner1 , M Crosby1 , M Dominello1 , (1) Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, (2) Karmanos Cancer Center, Detroit, MI


(Sunday, 7/29/2018) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: To improve radiation oncologists’ appreciation, understanding, and application of radiological physics and radiobiology principles by incorporating them into examples of clinical radiation oncology practice.

Methods: Radiation oncology is an exceptionally multidisciplinary medical specialty. Accordingly, radiation oncology residency training includes didactic education in radiological physics and radiobiology, and the American Board of Radiology radiation oncology certification examination includes both components. Recommended didactic curricula exist, however, such compartmentalized curricula do not facilitate an appreciation of the practical application and clinical implications of these concepts in radiation oncology. We have created an educational instrument which mirrors the multidisciplinary nature of clinical radiation oncology practice.

Results: We have completed a set of 10 example clinical radiation oncology modules which require the trainee to evaluate various aspects of a clinical scenario and test their understanding of underlying physics and radiobiology principles as they apply to each clinical scenario. Each module contains 10-20 questions distributed between physics and radiobiology. Teaching points are provided within the answer explanation which further elucidate the practical implications of the physics or radiobiology concepts. These modules have been integrated into the training curriculum for PGY-4 radiation oncology residents in our program.

Conclusion: A novel mechanism to incorporate physics and radiobiology education into the context of clinical radiation oncology has been developed and implemented. We anticipate that it will not only serve as a tool to improve the understanding of physics and radiobiology concepts, but also provide clinical relevance to information traditionally taught in isolated, standalone, lecture-based formats. We are currently working to create an online interactive environment that will facilitate and encourage other residents and faculty in radiation oncology to create additional modules. Finally, we hope that our approach will inspire corresponding changes in the certification examination process.


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