ASTRO's core physics curriculum for radiation oncology residents

Eric E. Klein, James M. Balter, Edward L. Chaney, Bruce J. Gerbi, Lesley Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In 2002, the Radiation Physics Committee of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) appointed an Ad-hoc Committee on Physics Teaching to Medical Residents. The main initiative of the committee was to develop a core curriculum for physics education. Prior publications that have analyzed physics teaching have pointed to wide discrepancies among teaching programs. The committee was composed of physicists or physicians from various residency program based institutions. Simultaneously, members had associations with the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), ASTRO, Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO), American Board of Radiology (ABR), and the American College of Radiology (ACR). The latter two organizations' representatives were on the physics examination committees, as one of the main agendas was to provide a feedback loop between the examining organizations and ASTRO. The document resulted in a recommended 54-h course. Some of the subjects were based on American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requirements (particles, hyperthermia), whereas the majority of the subjects along with the appropriated hours per subject were devised and agreed upon by the committee. For each subject there are learning objectives and for each hour there is a detailed outline of material to be covered. Some of the required subjects/h are being taught in most institutions (i.e., Radiation Measurement and Calibration for 4 h), whereas some may be new subjects (4 h of Imaging for Radiation Oncology). The curriculum was completed and approved by the ASTRO Board in late 2003 and is slated for dissemination to the community in 2004. It is our hope that teaching physicists will adopt the recommended curriculum for their classes, and simultaneously that the ABR for its written physics examination and the ACR for its training examination will use the recommended curriculum as the basis for subject matter and depth of understanding. To ensure that the subject matter and emphasis remain current and relevant, the curriculum will be updated every 2 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-705
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004


  • Education
  • Physics
  • Radiation oncology


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