Program Evolution and History
The departments of radiation oncology at MGH and what was then the Joint Center for Radiation Therapy (JCRT), which was founded in 1968, have offered post- doctoral fellowships since 1999 and 1973 respectively. There is no formal degree granting program in medical physics either at the hospitals or at the University. However, the departments have been associated with other local universities in providing didactic courses in medical physics. Examples include physics undergraduate course at Northeastern University and graduate courses at MIT. Since the inception of the three departments, clinical training of medical physics was primarily offered through on-the-job training, supervised by staff medical physicists. Although not structured according to any national guidelines, the departments provided the opportunity and environment for physics graduates and post-doctoral fellows to obtain clinical experience through employment. Among the many alumni of this training include many luminaries of medical physics such as Michael Goitein, Clifton Ling, Lynn Verhey and Art Boyer from MGH. Bengt Bjarngard came to the JCRT in 1969 and led a very active post-doctoral research program. Among the many accomplished alumni of this legacy include George Chen, Hanne Kooy, Norbert Pelc and James Galvin. The JCRT was dissolved in 1999 after the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) merged with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to form Partners Healthcare. The post-doctoral programs continue at the BWH and MGH.
In order to help meet the man-power need of radiation oncology physicists and the certification requirements of the American Board of Radiology (ABR), we started discussions on the formation of a medical physics residency program among the Harvard teaching hospitals in 2007. This would be the first multi-institutional medical physics residency program in the country. A committee from the three major Harvard teaching hospitals was formed to start the accreditation process by CAMPEP. Recruitment of the first class for the program began in February 2009. About 70 candidates applied for two positions. The two successful candidates started the program on July 1, 2009.
There have been several milestones for the program since September 2008. In April 2009, the Harvard Medical School Committee on the Use of the Harvard Name approved the title "Harvard Medical Physics Residency Program." In October, the Partners committee on Graduate Medical Education approved the program and in November, the BIDMC Graduate Medical Education committee likewise approved the program.
Planning for the second year residents began with advertising for the positions on October 15th with an application deadline of December 15th. A total of 63 candidates have applied for the two positions, from whom five were invited for interview and two were offered positions in the program to start July 1, 2010.
In August of 2011, CAMPEP site visited the program, and full accreditation was awarded in October, 2011. We graduated the first class in June of 2012. Currently, we have 6 residents in training.