The Imaging Physics Residency Program is a two or three-year clinical training program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for medical physicists who intend to work in diagnostic imaging physics. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Program (CAMPEP).
Time in residence in this program may be applied toward the experience required to qualify for examination by the American Board of Radiology (ABR), the American Board of Medical Physics (ABMP), or the American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine (ABSNM).
The majority of the Imaging Physics Residency Program Faculty are located at MD Anderson Cancer Center in the Department of Imaging Physics, with some program faculty located at other hospitals in the prestigious Texas Medical Center.
All of our faculty hold national board certification from the American Board of Radiology, the American Board of Medical Physics, the American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine, or a combination of these certifications.
Our Imaging Physics Residency Program is unique in that, in addition to the core clinical training in radiography, fluoroscopy, angiography, mammography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and imaging informatics, it also provides clinical training in nuclear medicine and PET. Residents can elect to pursue Nuclear Medicine Emphasis in their second year of training.
Our program also offers the Hybrid Pathway, a combined clinical residency/postdoctoral research fellowship program. A Medical Physics Fellow completes clinical residency training while simultaneously pursuing biomedical imaging researches mentored by a faculty member over a period of three years. This fellowship seeks highly qualified applicants who want to continue a research career without compromising clinical training.
Our program was the first one in North America to offer a CAMPEP-accredited Imaging Physics Residency Program in 2000.
The mission of our program is to provide residents with structured training that will prepare them to work in diagnostic imaging as a professional medical physicist. The program offers a two-year clinical residency training or a three-year hybrid residency training (hybrid pathway). The mission of the hybrid pathway is to provide combined clinical and research training to residents who aim to practice professional imaging physics in an academic environment.
The program objectives are consistent with the CAMPEP requirement which includes the development in the resident of:
- an understanding of the role of patient safety in the clinical practice of imaging physics;
- the technical knowledge, skills, and competency required for the safe application of the technologies used in the practice of imaging physics;
- an appreciation of the clinical purpose and applications of sophisticated technologies;
- an understanding of the protocols and practices essential to the employment of technologies to detect, diagnose and treat various illnesses and injuries;
- the ability to use analytical and research methods to solve problems arising in the clinical environment;
- the ability to deploy new strategies within the clinical environment;
- the ability to critically evaluate research and scholarship in medical physics;
- the communication and interpersonal skills that are necessary to function in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment;
- the professional attributes and the ethical conduct and actions that are required of medical physicists; and
- a valuing of career-long continuing education to keep professional knowledge and skills current.
In addition, the objectives of the hybrid pathway are to enhance fellows’ research portfolio and develop them to become a faculty medical physicist in academic settings.
Residents, under the supervision of board-certified medical physicists, will participate in the routine clinical duties of a medical imaging physicist and clinical projects during various clinical rotations. The training program will generally commence on July 1. Incoming residents first participate in a two-month clinical orientation. The purpose of the orientation rotations is to introduce incoming residents to our various imaging modality clinics, clinical operations, and associated imaging physics practice, and to confirm that they have adequate medical physics knowledge required to enter clinical rotations. The primary clinical training in the program comprises clinical rotations in different subjects. Resident take two rounds of clinical rotations in General Radiography, Fluoroscopy/Angiography, CT, Nuclear Medicine, PET, MRI, Ultrasound and Breast Imaging, and one round in Imaging Informatics. At the end of the training program, residents participate in external rotations designed to broaden their perspective on the clinical practice of medical physics. They typically enroll in three 1-month external rotations at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston Methodist Hospital, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, respectively. A typical rotation schedule is listed in this table:
|1||Clinical Orientation||13||Fluoroscopy/Angiography 2|
|2||Clinical Orientation||14||CT 2|
|3||General Radiography 1||15||NM 2|
|4||Fluoroscopy/Angiography 1||16||PET 2|
|5||CT 1||17||MRI 2|
|6||NM 1||18||Ultrasound 2|
|7||Pet 1||19||Breast Imaging 2|
|8||MRI 1||20||Pediatric Radiology (TMC)|
|9||Ultrasound 1||21||Cardiac Imaging (TMC)|
|10||Breast Imaging 1||22||Emergency Medicine (TMC)|
|11||Imaging Informatics||23||Wrap up|
Examples of clinical duties in the clinical rotations include the following:
- evaluation of medical imaging equipment performance
- development of quality control procedures
- estimation of patient radiation dose
- protocol design
- investigation of abnormal radiation exposures
- consultation regarding technical aspects of equipment purchase
- evaluation of image quality and artifacts
- consultation on radiation safety and MRI safety
- in-service instruction on radiation safety and imaging physics
- clinical investigations in medical imaging physics
- facility site planning, shielding design, inspection, and verification
Throughout the program, residents also attend seminars, grand rounds, institutional training courses, and other educational opportunities. Residents are expected to attend and present at national and regional professional society meetings every year. At the conclusion of the program, residents will be expected to demonstrate competence in each subject area. Residents will gain experience with the full range of state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment.
Optional specialization in Nuclear medicine (NM) physics is provided for Residents that express interest in this area of specialization. In this case, Residents must declare their interest by the end of their first round of clinical rotations. The second round is then subsequently adjusted to emphasize the NM and PET rotations of the residency program. This will be achieved by replacing the second round of General Radiography, Angiography/Fluoroscopy, MRI, and Ultrasound rotations by the NM and PET rotation, which will increase the duration of the second rotation of NM and PET from 2 to 6 months.
The additional months of NM/PET training will be dedicated for in-depth experience in the physics of NM/PET fundamentals; image acquisition, reconstruction and post-processing/analysis; radiopharmaceutical biodistribution and dosimetry; radioactive patient release; radionuclide therapy and treatment planning; and NM/PET facility shielding.
In addition, Residents interested in NM specialization must conduct their independent research in an area focused on NM and have an NM faculty member as their research mentor. They will also focus on NM during their external rotations and wrap-up time whenever possible.
All other training requirements for the residency program will remain the same for residents interested in this specialization.
Combined Postdoctoral Research & Residency Training in Imaging Physics
A training opportunity has been created for an outstanding young medical physics graduate to pursue both residency training and research in the Department of Imaging Physics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Over a 3-year period, the successful candidate will spend 1 year equivalent in a mutually agreed upon area of biomedical imaging research and complete 2 year equivalent clinical residency training to meet the clinical experience requirements of the American Board of Radiology for national board certification.
A Ph.D. or equivalent degree from a CAMPEP-accredited graduate program is required. We are looking for highly motivated young scientists that aspire to be among the best of the next generation of academic medical physicists working in the area of medical imaging. The successful candidate will be appointed as a Medical Physics Fellow to recognize the outstanding nature of the individuals and the educational program.
Priority for access to physical resources, including access to imaging and computational systems, and other development support will be provided including travel to scientific meetings and training opportunities.
How do I apply to the Imaging Physics Residency Program at MD Anderson?
The best way to apply for the residency position is to use The Medical Physics Residency Application Program (MP-RAP) administered through the AAPM.
Does our program accept both M.S. and Ph.D. applicants?
Both M.S. and Ph.D. applicants may apply for the 2-year residency position. However, our program currently prioritizes the hybrid fellowship pathway which requires a Ph.D. degree.
How many residents are accepted each year?
Typically two or three residents per year are accepted into the program.
What factors are considered for admission?
- Academic background and performance
- Honors and awards for academic achievement
- Performance in graduate courses
- Current letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
- Expressed commitment to a career involving clinical medical physics
Are applicants invited to interview/visit the program?
Our program requires an interview/on-site or virtual visit before offers of admission are extended to the top applicants or before we rank the applicants when we participate in the National Match system. The purpose of the visit will be to interview with program faculty, provide a scientific presentation, meet with current residents in the program, and tour our clinical facilities.
How successful are your residents in finding employment?
To date, residents who have successfully completed our program have had employment offers to consider before completing.
What if I use tobacco products?
MD Anderson has instituted a tobacco-free hiring process as part of its efforts to achieve these goals. If you are offered an appointment at MD Anderson, you will be subject to a Pre-Employment Drug Screen for tobacco compounds in compliance with applicable state laws. Learn more about MD Anderson's tobacco-free hiring process.