Radiation Oncology Program Overview

The Section of Radiation Oncology is excited to have initiated our residency program, newly approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Review Committee in 2018. Our first excellent resident joined us in July 2020, our second in July 2021. This fall we are accepting applications for 1 advanced position to begin July 2023. Thereafter we anticipate continuing with 1 resident entering the program every year, eventually building to a cohort totaling 4 positions.

The section encompasses a top-caliber faculty who employ state-of-the-art technologies to treat more than 1,000 patients annually, both at its primary site on the Lebanon campus and its satellite facility in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Our section prides itself on setting the pace for cancer care in northern New England.

We offer a full panoply of world-class therapies, including:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery 
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy 
  • Real-time target monitoring 
  • Gated radiation therapy 
  • HDR and LDR applications across various body sites 
  • A variety of treatments utilizing unsealed sources (e.g. Ra-223, I-131, Y-90) 
  • Cutting-edge image-guided radiation therapy technologies, such as conebeam CT treatment imaging
  • VisionRT applications 
  • 4D-simulation scanning 
  • Adaptive radiation treatment planning 

In 2020 the section started treating patients on northern New England’s first MRI-guided, linear accelerator-based radiation therapy unit, a landmark innovation re-defining image-guided radiation oncology for the 21st century.

Beyond these technological resources, the section boasts outstanding people and relationships, both in terms of its core faculty and in terms of its strong affiliations across the Dartmouth campus. Research projects and partnerships extend across the basic sciences at the Medical Center and Dartmouth College, into Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business, and as far as the Dartmouth Institute, the university’s health care policy think-tank.

Curriculum

Our didactic curriculum includes year-long radiologic physics and radiobiology courses integrated into the residents’ teaching. These are designed to prepare the aspiring resident for the Written Boards in the basic sciences of radiation oncology. Similarly, 3 years rotation through the clinical services will prepare the resident for successful completion of the ABR clinical exams, not to mention engagement in lifelong learning in the advancement of highly competent, professional management of cancer patients.

An integrated, additional year of elective work will provide deep background for the resident’s chosen career path, whether into academics, clinical practice, or public health and the policy sciences. In all cases, the curriculum includes outcomes research, literature evaluation, professional ethics, and the economics of radiation oncology. This program forms the basis of our solid commitment to teaching the ACGME General Competencies. Residents' progress will be evaluated annually through nationally administered examinations, including the ACR In-Service Examination, which enables comparison across all radiation oncology residents in the country.

Scheduled activities

Residents’ daily work will integrate hands-on experience, one-on-one teaching, and core curriculum conferences. Multidisciplinary Tumor Boards at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, most of which are held weekly, include faculty representing (for example) General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Urology, Thoracic Surgery, ENT, Gynecology, Pediatric Surgery, Hematology/Oncology, Neurooncology, Pathology, Diagnostic Radiology, Gastroenterology, Pulmonary Medicine, Maternal/Fetal Medicine, Pediatrics, Nutrition, and Social Services.

Also, within our section, residents present periodically at Resident Teaching Conferences, Morbidity and Mortality Conferences, Quality and Safety Rounds, and Journal Clubs. Valuing the advancement of medical knowledge, science, and education, the section participates in the Department of Medicine’s Grand Rounds and Morbidity and Mortality Conferences. Furthermore, our section is integrated into the larger Norris Cotton Cancer Care Pavilion Lebanon, 1 of the 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers across the country.

The Norris Cotton Cancer Care Pavilion Lebanon holds weekly Grand Rounds, in which the section participates, with residents occasionally presenting. As part of the Grand Rounds, a visiting professor program brings diverse ideas to residents and provides them with international leaders as role models.