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Department of Radiation Oncology

Department of Radiation Oncology

Residency Program in Radiation Oncology

Drs. Allen Chen and Sun Yi © UC Regents

The UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology offers a four-year residency training program in clinical radiation oncology. The residency fulfills all requirements of the American Board of Radiology and is fully accredited by the American Medical Association's Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Residents train at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UC Davis Medical Center based in Sacramento, California. As the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center located in the Central Valley region encompassing Sacramento, the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center serves a diverse, high-volume population of various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and captures patients from a large portion of Northern California, Southern Oregon, and Western Nevada.  The Department of Radiation Oncology takes pride in its commitment to cutting-edge patient care, innovative research, clinical trials, and educational opportunities. Prior to starting the radiation oncology residency, candidates must have successfully completed PGY-1 training in internal medicine, general surgery or a comparable field in an ACGME-accredited program.  The residency program at UC Davis is currently approved for 7 permanent resident physicians.

Program Director

Ruben Fragoso, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Mission

The mission of our educational program is to train academic radiation oncologists in a multi-disciplinary, collegial setting. Although we aim to develop academicians, those who decide not to stay in academics will find themselves well-prepared for community practice.  The program is centered on satisfying each of the core competencies as outlined by the ACGME: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice.  Through rigorous hands-on teaching and formal didactic instruction, the program aims to provide trainees with the necessary foundation and confidence for a career of lifelong learning and patient care.

Training overview

Residents are assigned to three-month clinical rotations during the course of training. In each rotation, residents practice under the supervision of one individual, site-specific attending physician in an apprenticeship-like format. These service-focused rotations foster one-on-one teaching and learning. Residents are an essential component of the practice team and work closely with ancillary staff and referring physicians to optimize care. Residents also obtain essential, practical training in an intensive physics/dosimetry/treatment planning rotation.

Our faculty of six radiation oncologists, six medical physicists and three radiobiologists participate in the training and supervision of residents in the classroom, laboratory, and clinic. Residents attend and participate in numerous patient care-related conferences, presentations, and workshops on a weekly basis, typically accompanied by their assigned attending physician. Four mornings a week, residents attend teaching and patient management conferences, at which time treatment-related decisions and radiation planning is discussed in a collegial manner. On Mondays and Wednesdays, a physics faculty member presents physics didactic lectures and on Fridays, a radiobiology faculty member presents a radiobiology lecture. The residents also attend quality assurance reviews, chart rounds, participate on tumor boards and are involved in research meetings. Our residents also have the opportunity to attend and present patients at multidisciplinary clinics, which vary according to the service they are on at the time.  

The clinical core didactic curriculum has consistently been rated by former and existing residents as one of the strengths of the training program.  Lectures are organized into 6 to 8 week didactic blocks focusing on a specific disease-site at a given time.  Each of the 6 faculty members serve as moderators on a rotating basis depending on their area of expertise and are overwhelmingly committed to creating an interactive and educationally stimulating environment for trainees.  Formal activities include instructional  lectures, mock oral boards, case presentations, mortality and morbidity conferences and journal clubs.   In 2011, the department began hosting the Cancer Center-wide “high impact” multidisciplinary journal club (held during lunch on the last Tuesday of each month) during which recently published literature pertaining to the specified disease site is reviewed with experts from other specialties.  Additionally, the curriculum has been recently modified to include lectures on topics such professionalism, bioethics, statistics, physician wellness, and health economics.

As mandated by the University of California, the educational program also places an emphasis on resident involvement in quality improvement and patient safety.   All residents are encouraged to develop initiatives to promote safety in the workplace through designated radiation oncology clinical quality initiative (CQI) projects, formulated in accordance with the program director and the Graduate Medical Education (GME) staff.  Residents have the opportunity to present projects at the annual “Integrating Quality Symposium” held annually.  

Resident projects which are currently ongoing include:

1) development of a formal sign-off (transition of care) template to be used during service changes
2) creation of a procedure for requesting outside patient information/films
3) implementation of a smoking cessation program
4) instillation of a comprehensive method to evaluate patient wait-time in the clinic
5) formulation of an educational pamphlet for patients undergoing gynecologic brachytherapy

Lastly, residents have participated in several past and ongoing Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) projects in the department.

The majority of the present UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center-based training involves state-of-the-art Elekta Synergy-based and Tomotherapy-based image-guided external beam radiotherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy, low- and high-dose rate brachytherapy and stereotactic body radiotherapy, and gamma knife radiosurgery. Opportunities for elective rotations exist within the departments of pediatric oncology, diagnostic radiology, hematology-oncology, nuclear medicine, pathology and surgical oncology. Residents are also afforded the opportunity to complete an elective on the treatment of ocular melanoma at the Crocker Proton Center on the Davis campus. Eventually, our residents will also have the opportunity to gain experience in a broad range of clinical venues through rotations at the university’s outreach cancer centers.

All residents are guaranteed 6 to 12 months of research time during their PGY-4 or PGY-5 year.  The specific length of research time afforded each resident will be based on the nature and quality of the proposed research, as determined in advance by the department’s research committee, headed by the program director and chairman.  Residents have the discretion of tailoring their research in the form of biological laboratory research, clinical research, or medical physics research.  Basic research opportunities will not be limited to radiation research, but will be open to any cancer-related laboratory programs associated with the School of Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory or the campus in Davis. During the allocated research time, residents will specifically be free of all clinical responsibilities and will also not be expected to take call assignments.  To improve research mentorship and access to research support staff, residents are also encouraged to attend the department’s monthly research meeting. To facilitate resident research, analytical databases have recently been devised with the assistance of the medical school’s Information Technology group, and queries are available for residents.  Additionally, residents have access to a full-time, dedicated research coordinator, who is available to residents to provide research support and to assist with regulatory matters such as preparing applications to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Lastly, residents are encouraged to attend the semi-annual meeting of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) to learn more about clinical trial development.

Residents have the opportunity to evaluate the training program on a continual basis through 1) Monthly resident meetings, at which time trainees can voice constructive feedback to the program director, 2) Formal surveys (using the anonymous E-value system) which are administered on an ongoing basis, and 3) Educational retreats at which time review of the curriculum occurs and suggestions for improvement will be documented.  All residents are also encouraged to attend the annual GME resident/fellow retreat held annually in Napa/Sonoma in January for the purpose of learning life skills to improve work-life balance.

Principles of community

The UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology is committed to creating a work environment where each person is treated with respect, courtesy, and sensitivity.  In this regard, the department places an emphasis on adhering to the UC Davis Principles of Community.

The University of California, Davis, is first and foremost an institution of learning and teaching, committed to serving the needs of society. Our campus community reflects and is a part of a society comprising all races, creeds and social circumstances. The successful conduct of the university's affairs requires that every member of the university community acknowledge and practice the following basic principles:

  • We affirm the inherent dignity in all of us, and we strive to maintain a climate of justice marked by respect for each other. We acknowledge that our society carries within it historical and deep-rooted misunderstandings and biases, and therefore we will endeavor to foster mutual understanding among the many parts of our whole.
  • We affirm the right of freedom of expression within our community and affirm our commitment to the highest standards of civility and decency towards all. We recognize the right of every individual to think and speak as dictated by personal belief, to express any idea, and to disagree with or counter another's point of view, limited only by university regulations governing time, place and manner. We promote open expression of our individuality and our diversity within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect.
  • We confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, status within or outside the university, or any of the other differences among people which have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension or hatred. We recognize and cherish the richness contributed to our lives by our diversity. We take pride in our various achievements, and we celebrate our differences.
  • We recognize that each of us has an obligation to the community of which we have chosen to be a part. We will strive to build a true community of spirit and purpose based on mutual respect and caring.

Applying to the program

Thank you for your interest in the UC Davis Radiation Oncology Residency Training program. We believe our department’s  dedication to top-notch patient care, state-of-the-art technology, innovative research and medical education contribute to an ideal setting for post-graduate education. The department’s faculty take pride in their approachability, accessibility and are committed to creating a training environment characterized by collegiality and camaraderie.  We welcome your application and invite you to learn more about our program.

To apply, you should first contact your medical school Dean’s office to access the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) web-based application, since we participate in ERAS. After reviewing your completed application, we will send invitations for interviews by e-mail.

Interview sessions will be held in December and January. We accept applications through the National Resident Match Program (NRMP).

If you have any questions about the application procedure, please call Dr. Ruben Fragoso, program director, or Tina C. Roberts, residency coordinator at (916) 734-8688.

The deadline for receipt of all application materials is November 1st.