Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Radiation Oncology


Purpose To characterize radiation oncologist involvement in undergraduate medical education at US academic medical centers and to incorporate these findings into practical pathways for greater and broader integration of radiation oncology (RO) into medical curricula. Methods Chairpersons and residency program directors at RO departments directly affiliated with a medical school were asked to describe all the ways in which radiation oncologists in their department are involved in medical student education, excluding their elective clerkship. Results Of 75 eligible departments, 49 responded (response rate 65.3%). Twenty departments (40.8%) reported that at least one faculty member participates in a curricular educational session on an oncology-related topic. Twelve (24.5%) of these sessions were focused specifically on RO. Twenty-one departments (42.9%) had faculty involved with organized clinical shadowing or preceptorship programs for first- and second-year medical students. Twelve departments (24.5%) described no involvement in the formal curricula at their local or affiliated medical school. Thirteen departments (44.8%) described participation in a medical school–organized residency fair, and 12 departments (41.4%) sponsor an RO interest group. Reported novel approaches to teaching included development of multidisciplinary clerkships or educational sessions that include RO concepts, guest lectures on RO during a required clerkship, organized extracurricular experiences such as an oncology seminar series, participation in special medical student enrichment programs, and sponsorship or initiation of an RO interest group. Conclusion The minority of RO departments are involved in formal teaching of the medical student body at large. The approaches described herein should facilitate more robust involvement of radiation oncologists in all areas of undergraduate medical education.

Source Citation

Mattes MD, Small W Jr, Vapiwala N. Out of the Basement and Into the Classroom: Pathways for Expanding the Role of Radiation Oncologists in Medical Student Education. Journal of the American College of Radiology. 2018;15(11):1620-1623. doi:10.1016/j.jacr.2017.10.040