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Medical Dosimetry

Medical Dosimetrists work closely with the radiation oncology team: radiation oncologists, medical physicists, and radiation therapists to create customized radiation treatment plans designed to target cancer while sparing normal tissue. Students acquire the professional skills of dose calculation, treatment design and quality assurance through intensive classroom and clinical education.

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Science in Molecular Dosimetry

The program is administered by:

Program Director: Mahsa Dehghanpour, M.S., Ed.D., CMD
Local phone: 713-792-3445
Long distance: 1-800-551-9503
Fax: 713-745-3337
E-mail: mdehghan@mdanderson.org

Education Coordinator: Jamie Baker, M.Ed., Ed.D., CMD

Medical Advisor: Ritsuko Komaki, M.D.

Complete list of MD & SHP faculty

The Program in Medical Dosimetry

Mission

To provide the highest quality of didactic and technologically advanced clinical education in Medical Dosimetry and to graduate professional practitioners who are valued by radiation oncology employers, display precision treatment planning and assessment skills, and remain active in the professional community and learning throughout their careers.

Vision

We shall be the premier educational program in medical dosimetry by providing innovative curricular, clinical and continuing education services to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the State of Texas and the world.

Goals

  • Students will be clinically competent.
  • Students will display critical thinking skills.
  • Students will practice ethically and determine the importance of professional growth.
  • Students will display effective communication skills.
  • The program will provide the community with entry level medical dosimetrists.

Objectives

The Program in Medical Dosimetry is designed to prepare students for the technical, theoretical and psychological aspects of a career in this field. Students acquire the professional skills of dose calculation, treatment design and quality assurance through intensive classroom and clinical education under the supervision of educated, experienced medical dosimetrists, physicists and radiation oncologists.

Selection Process

  • Overall undergraduate GPA
  • Personal qualities such as maturity and professional goals, as well as academic capability as demonstrated in the interview and described in reference letters.
  • Ability to meet the SHP non-academic technical standards.
  • Race, religion, national origin, veteran status, gender, or disability are not factors considered in the selection process

Nonacademic Requirements

For a description of the non-academic technical standards requirements for admission, visit the admission section of the Student Catalog's Policies and Procedures.

Program Admission Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Medical Dosimetry is two-year program with entry at the junior level. Application and supporting documents must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Applicants to the Program in Medical Dosimetry must satisfy the following requirements for admission to the Bachelor of Science degree program:

  • All prerequisite course work must be from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must have satisfactorily completed all prerequisite courses listed prior to graduating. These courses must be lecture and laboratory courses acceptable toward a degree by majors in those fields and cannot be survey courses.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required.
  • Candidates who completed the prerequisite courses seven or more years before the application may be required to update their academic skills. For specific information, contact the program director.
  • Texas Success Initiative (TSI) - All applicants must provide proof of successful assessment of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). Applicants who have graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an accredited Texas College or University are exempt from TSI. Proof of an applicant's readiness to enroll in college level course work will be determined by the Registrar's Office based upon review of official transcripts from previously attended institutions.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Applicants from countries where English is not the native language may be required to take the TOEFL. Internet based TOEFL is now available and a total test score ranging from 74-78 with a minimum score of 18 in each section is required.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites for the two-year program

A minimum of 60 semester credit hours (SCH) including the The Texas Core Curriculum (42 SCH) and an additional 18 SCH.

Within these 60 SCH, the following 22 SCH must be included:

  • Anatomy & Physiology I and II (8 SCH).
  • Physics I and II (8 SCH).
    12 of the above 16 SCH may be satisfied by the Life and Natural Sciences Component of the Texas Core Curriculum
  • Calculus I and II (6 SCH).

About the Texas Core Curriculum

Each institution's Core Curriculum applies to all academic degrees. They range from 42 to 48 credit hours, depending on the college or university. Each Core Curriculum is divided into 8 or 9 categories that are common across the state. If you take the approved Core natural science courses at institution A, they are annotated on your transcript with a Core code by A and must be accepted as fulfilling that portion of the Core at institution B or any other Texas public institution. If Astronomy is a Core natural science at A and is not at B, it must still be accepted at B.

The official site for the Texas Core Curriculum: http://statecore.its.txstate.edu/

Advanced Placement

The School of Health Professions accepts and/or awards credit through the following examination programs:

  • College level examination program of the College Board
  • Comprehensive departmental examinations
  • Regionally accredited military training programs

Recommendations from the School's academic departments are followed with regard to minimum score requirements, level of credit and amount of credit to be awarded. Program faculty are consulted to determine if credit recommendations equate to specific School of Health Professions (SHP) courses. The internal comprehensive departmental examination program provides a local means for establishing knowledge of SHS course content in areas not covered by the above examination program. Programs may elect to administer examinations that cover material specific to SHS courses with the results being reported to the Registrar.

Graduation

Each candidate for a baccalaureate degree must complete a minimum of 130 semester credit hours of course work. Within this requirement, students must complete the following at MD Anderson:

  • At least 40 semester credit hours of advanced (3000/4000) course work
  • At least 25% of the total semester credit hours required must be taken at MD Anderson

If a student has previously taken one or more of the courses in the medical dosimetry curriculum, the student may be exempt from re-taking them in the Medical Dosimetry Program. However, in order to maintain full-time student status in the Medical Dosimetry Program, the student is required to enroll in the offered elective courses at the School of Health Professions.

Graduation occurs in August. Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the national certification exam in Medical Dosimetry given by the: Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB). Please check with the program director for application deadlines and exam dates. Upon passing the exam, the student is considered a Certified Medical Dosimetrist (CMD). The awarding of the degree is not contingent upon a student passing the national certification exam.

Curriculum

This intensive two-year program is composed of a didactic phase followed by directed clinical training at affiliated hospitals and laboratories. During the didactic phase, formal lectures cover dose calculations, treatment design, and quality assurance.  Treatment planning laboratory sessions complement the lecture series.

Current Affiliations

During the clinical phase of instruction, training and supervision are provided in a variety of UT MD Anderson Cancer Center clinical sites at:

  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
  • The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson Main Campus, Houston, TX
  • The MD Anderson Regional Care Center in Nassau Bay, TX
  • The MD Anderson Regional Care Center in Katy, TX
  • The MD Anderson Regional Care Center in Sugar Land, TX
  • The MD Anderson Regional Care Center in the The Woodlands, TX
  • Texas Oncology, Presbyterian Cancer Center, Dallas, TX

Accreditation

The Program is accredited by and has conformed its curriculum to the standards and guidelines published and monitored by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)

Course Listings

The table below represents the Required Professional Courses students must take during the two-year program.

Junior/Senior Year Courses72 SCH
HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics1
HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence1
HS 4300 Pathophysiology for Health Professions3
MD 3201 Introduction to Radiation Treatment2
MD 3302 Introduction to Treatment Planning I3
MD 3303 Introduction to Treatment Planning II3
MD 3304 Introduction to Clinical Medical Dosimetry4
MD 4102 Anatomy for Radiation Oncology1
MD 4104 Aspects of Radiation Oncology1
MD 4210 Radiation Biology2
MD 4211 Clinical Radiation Oncology I2
MD 4212 Clinical Radiation Oncology II2
MD 4300 Introduction to Medical Dosimetry3
MD 4301 Medical Dosimetry Physics I3
MD 4302 Brachytherapy3
MD 4303 Research Design and Statistics I3
>MD 4305 Medical Dosimetry Physics II3
MD 4306 Research Design and Statistics II3
MD 4309 Interstitial and Intracavitary Dosimetry3
MD 4401 Radiation Physics4
MD 4504 Clinical Education I5
MD 4508 External Beam Calculations5
MD 4510 Clinical Education III5
MD 4617 Clinical Education II6
RT 4101 Radiation Safety and Protection1
Required Courses14 SCH
For students who have NOT taken these courses prior to entering the Medical Dosimetry program
D 2108 Physics Lab I for Health Professions1
MD 2109 Physics Lab II for Health Professions1
MD 2310 Calculus I3
MD 2311 Calculus II3
MD 2312 General Physics I for Health Professions3
MD 2313 General Physics II for Health Professions3
Free Elective Courses*14 SCH
For students who have already taken the above required courses prior to entering the program, but who need fulfill the minimum SCH required for graduation from the Medical Dosimetry program
DI 4310 Teaching Strategies in Health Care Education3
DI 4318 Promotional Strategies in Radiologic Sciences3
DI 4320 Current Trends in Health Care Management3
DI 4322 Effective Human Resources Management3
DI 4323 Management Skills for the New Supervisor3
HS 3340 Research Seminar3
HS 3110 Medical Terminology1
HS 4111 Medical Law1
MD 4201 Medical Dosimetry Review2
RT 4199 Special Projects1
RT 4309 Special Applications in Radiation Oncology3


*If a student has taken a required course as a pre-requisite prior to entering the program, then that student will not be required to repeat the course, but must substitute the course with a Free Elective course with equivalent credit hours in order to fulfill the minimum required SCH for graduation from the Medical Dosimetry program.

NOTE: Additional courses may be used as free electives with the approval of the Program Director.

Course Descriptions

DI 4310 Teaching Strategies in Health Care Education (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student how to analyze learning theories with an emphasis on adult learners and the elements of quality education.

DI 4318 Promotional Strategies in Health Management (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student how to develop patient, physician, and community programs to promote health care services.

DI 4320 Current Trends in Health Care Management (3 SCH)
This course will prepare the student to analyze and manage trends in health care management and delivery systems.

DI 4322 Effective Human Resources Management (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student about staff recruitment, retention techniques, and laws related to resource management. Topics include hiring and terminating personnel and issues of harassment and discrimination.

DI 4323 Management Skills for the New Supervisor (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student about transitioning from a Professional Employee to a Supervisor

HS 3110 Medical Terminology (1 semester credit hours)
This course is an introduction to medical terminology. Emphasis is on word roots, prefixes, suffixes, spelling and analysis of unfamiliar terms. Additional background information on the anatomy that relates to various body systems will be discussed. Included is a review of the principles of mathematics and statistics used in clinical laboratories. Course presentation includes introduction to the operation of a laboratory information system. Course delivery is on-line, interactive, self-paced. (Admission to Program)

HS 3340 Research Seminar (3 semester credit hours)
This course will introduce the basic language and concepts of empirical research with emphasis on the applicability of research methodology in the area of clinical laboratory sciences. Students will have opportunity to learn how to search the peer-reviewed journal databases available to them through the Research Library. They will then critique and review their references and learn how to make an outline and write a literature review on their assigned topic. The curriculum will include a blend of lectures, group work, presentations by guest researchers and development of a group research poster. (Admission to Program)

HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics (1 semester credit hour)
This course content is designed to establish a foundation and set parameters of professional practice for health care professionals. The emphasis will be on developing the background for the resolution of ethical dilemmas through ethical reasoning, ethical obligations in health professional-patient relationships and just allocation of scarce health care resources.

HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence (1 semester credit hour)
This course content is designed to create an awareness of ethnocentrism and a beginning understanding of cultural similarities and diversity. It provides the student with knowledge of the concepts of cultural relativity, cultural integration and variation in cultural values, organization and institutions.

HS 4111 Medical Law (1 semester credit hour)
This course introduces the student to medical law and case studies in medical imaging and radiation therapy.

HS 4300 Pathophysiology for Health Professions (3 semester credit hours)
This course is designed to provide basic knowledge in pathophysiology in preparation for professional studies in the health sciences. Topics covered include central concepts of pathophysiology of the cells and tissues and alterations in organs and systems with an emphasis on carcinogenesis. Appropriate diagnostic and treatment procedures are covered.

MD 2108 Physics Lab I for Health Professions (1 semester credit hour)
This course is a laboratory work for the MD2312 which presents methods of experimental and analysis and prepares students for upper level physics courses.

MD 2109 Physics Lab II for Health Professions (1 semester credit hour)
This course is a laboratory work for the MD2313 which presents methods of experimental and analysis and prepares students for upper level physics courses.

MD 2310 Calculus I (3 semester credit hours)
This course presents the concept of limit, derivations, and integrals.

MD 2311 Calculus II (3 semester credit hours)
Pre-requisite to this course is MD 2310. This course is continuation of MD 2310 which includes the study of integration, emphasizing applications and special techniques.

MD 2312 General Physics I for Health Professions (3 semester credit hours)
This course presents fundamental principles of mechanics, including motion, Newton's laws, work, energy, momentum, rotation, and gravity as well as oscillation and mechanical laws.

MD 2313 General Physics II for Health Professions (3 semester credit hours)
This course presents fundamental principles of electricity, magnetism, electromagnetic waves, light, optics, thermodynamics, and topics in modern physics.
Prerequisite Course: MD 2312

MD 3201 Introduction to Radiation Treatment (2 semester credit hours)
This course will introduce students to different aspects of radiation treatment including machine parameters, treatment administration and patient care issues.

MD 3302 Introduction to TX Planning I (3 semester credit hours)
This is a lab based course which provides students with the hands on experiences. In this course, junior students will be taught about the Pinnacle treatment planning system and learn the procedures needed to develop radiation treatment plan for different disease sites.

MD 3303 Introduction to TX Planning II (3 semester credit hours)
This course is a continuation of MD 3302. In this course students learn the procedures to develop more complex treatment planning for different disease sites. Prerequisite Course: MD 3302

MD 3404 Introduction to Clinical Medical Dosimetry (4 semester credit hours)
In this course students learn about different aspects of the medical dosimetry profession including treatment planning, image fusion, verification calculation, and plan presentation. Prerequisite Course: MD 3303

MD 4102 Anatomy for Radiation Oncology (1 semester credit hour)
This course presents each student with an anatomical study of the human body in topographical, sagittal, transverse and coronal planes. Treatment planning techniques for the body sections are discussed.

MD 4104 Aspects of Radiation Oncology (1 semester credit hour)
This course presents the student with psychosocial aspects of oncologic patient care. Topics include: thanatology and bereavement, body image and emotions in illness and treatment. Additionally, students are presented with aspects of dosimetry practice other than treatment planning which include: electronic charting, treatment error corrections, and other professional opportunities.

MD 4201 Medical Dosimetry Review (2 semester credit hours)
In this course students attend a 4 day seminar which review the material needed for preparation to medical dosimetry certification exam. Topics include math review, radiation physics, radiobiology, external beam parameters, external beam properties, electron and proton characteristics, quality assurance, brachytherapy, treatment machines, machine calibration, radiation safety, and treatment planning.

MD 4210 Radiation Biology (2 semester credit hours)
This course presents the students with cellular, subcellular and tissue biology. The course requires the students to discriminate between types of cellular damage caused by ionizing radiation. Additionally, students are exposed to proliferation kinetics, fractionated radiotherapy, acute and chronic effects of radiation on human cells and body systems, principles of linear energy transfer and relative biologic effectiveness and the impact of radiosensitizers and radioprotectors on patient treatment.

MD 4211 Clinical Oncology I (2 semester credit hours)
This course presents an in-depth study of multidisciplinary treatment of the cancer patient from the clinician's viewpoint. Students are required to master concepts specific to site-specific disease including: histopathology, etiologic and epidemiology factors, detection and diagnosis, tumor stage and grade, routes of metastases, dose fractionation and prognostic factors. This course is designed to approach each cancer type by anatomic system, addressing treatment factors with increasing degrees of complexity.

MD 4212 Clinical Oncology II (2 semester credit hours)
This course is a continuation of MD 4211.

MD 4300 Introduction to Medical Dosimetry (3 semester credit hours)
This course is an introduction to medical dosimetry which includes introduction to terms used in radiation oncology, math review, characteristics of radiation used for treatment, SSD and SAD techniques of dose calculation, verification calculation, and treatment planning software training. Students are assigned to work individually on a case study and present their findings to their peers in the classroom setting.

MD 4301 Medical Dosimetry Physics I (3 semester credit hours)
This course teaches basic theories and calculations for radiation oncology including laboratory sessions on radiation measurement.

MD 4302 Brachytherapy Dosimetry (3 semester credit hours)
This course teaches the physics of brachytherapy including source characteristics, dosimetry systems and dose calculations.

MD 4303 Research Design and Statistics I (3 semester credit hours)
This course is an introduction to basic research concepts and statistics. Development of a project begins.

MD 4305 Medical Dosimetry Physics II (3 semester credit hours)
This course is a continuation of MD 4301 that teaches basic theories and calculations for radiation oncology.
Prerequisite Course: MD 4301

MD 4306 Research Design and Statistics II (3 semester credit hours)
This course is a continuation of MD 4303, with projects finalized. Students conduct laboratory experiments to reach a hypothesis of the study at hand.
Prerequisite Course: MD 4303

MD 4309 Interstitial and Intracavitary Dosimetry (3 semester credit hours)
This is a laboratory course that teaches brachytherapy treatment planning techniques.
Prerequisite Course: MD 4302.

MD 4401 Radiation Physics (4 semester credit hours)
In this course, students will learn about applications of radiation in medicine. Radiation measurement, different types of radiation detectors, late effects of radiation, dose to non-target structures, impact of treatment modifiers, fetal dose consideration, electronic risk following pace maker irradiation, and different imaging modalities will be discussed.

MD 4504 Clinical Education I (5 semester credit hours)
In this course students are supervised in a clinical practice setting and learn different aspects of advanced medical dosimetry. Students are involved in hands-on activities in the clinical practice setting.
Prerequisite Course: MD 3404

MD 4508 External Beam Dosimetry (5 semester credit hours)
This is a continuation of MD 4301 and MD 4305 that teaches basic theories and calculations for radiation oncology.
Prerequisite Courses: MD 4301, 4305

MD 4510 Clinical Education III (5 semester credit hours)
In this course students are supervised in a clinical practice setting and learn different aspects of advanced medical dosimetry. Students are involved in hands-on activities in the clinical practice setting.
Prerequisite: MD 4617

MD 4617 Clinical Education II (6 semester credit hours)
In this course students are supervised in a clinical practice setting and learn different aspects of advanced medical dosimetry. Students are involved in hands-on activities in the clinical practice setting.
Prerequisite Course: MD 4504

RT 4101 Radiation Safety and Protection (1 semester credit hour)
This course requires the student to demonstrate a detailed understanding of atomic structure, types of ionizing radiation, radiation detection devices, units of measurement, personal and public radiation safety practices and dose limitations from brachytherapy sources and external beam radiation devices. The course identifies radiation regulatory and advisory agencies and the specific requirements of each.

RT 4199 Special Projects (1 semester credit hour)
This course is designed for individual projects, research, special seminars, or further investigation of topics in radiation oncology.

RT 4309 Special Applications in Radiation Oncology (3 semester credit hours)
This course presents principles of advanced practice, such as fusion imaging, respiratory gating, and stereotactic radiosurgery, as well as current advancements in treatment techniques.


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