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RadOnc in the southeast

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by ijokergirl, Apr 5, 2004.

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  1. ijokergirl

    ijokergirl Junior Member

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    I am interested in hearing about programs located in the southeastern US. (Particularly Vandy, UAB, and WashU) What was your impression of these programs on rotations and interviews? Also any info about KY and NC programs would be great. Thanks!
  2. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    Wash U's Mallindkrodt is quite famous. It has a rep for being verrrrry difficult for a resident. Ill leave anyone who's been there to comment on that. I will say that if youre applying to residency, dont limit yourself- its competitive these days.
  3. Adawaal

    Adawaal

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    OK, just my personal experience here....

    University of Kentucky is a very small program (one resident in each year). There has historically not been a great deal of research there, but with the new Cancer Center director who is a colorectal surgeon, there has been an explosion of research. The chair is kind of a cowboy and does some stellar research in nonstandard rad methods and has been having some real clinical success stories using these methods. The PD is a MD/PhD who does a lot of reactive oxygen species work with his wife from the Toxicology Department. Very clinically oriented program. Some unbelievable pathology due to the culture and low SES of the patient population and the associated VA. You would definitely see far more VERY advanced cases, especially for lung, head & neck, and gyne than at most places. Still, it IS in central Kentucky, for better or for worse. The residents tend to come from the SEC region of the country. One major bad part is that you MUST do a surgery prelim year at UK to do their Rad Onc program.....

    Wake Forest is really a fairly strong program, especially for the South. They will be moving into an absolutely unbelievable new cancer center in a couple of months and have all the new toys. As the Chair said, "We'll have the most technologically advanced rad onc center in the country.... for about 2 weeks, at least." But that's the story for rad onc programs these days.... The Chair is very cool, and between he and the PD, Wake is really starting to push for more research and giving residents plenty of protected months to do it. There are still some of the older attendings around who believe that residents should only be doing clinical work, though. Very strong CNS work (both clinical and research) at Wake, and the head of the CNS/gamma knife program is an energetic young guy who loves residents. The residents are a pretty cool group for the most part. The will have the mack daddy of resident offices when they move into the new cancer center. Winston-Salem is a pretty small town atmosphere, but it's about an hour to 1.5 hours from the Raleigh-Durham area. Close to the mountains.

    Hope this is at least a little helpful....
  4. temujim

    temujim Junior Member

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    my interview impressions:

    Vandy emphasizes reasearch. Clinic seemed something of an afterthought (or maybe taken for granted). They went outside the match, but didn't have the courtesy to inform the excess interviewees of the situation. Poor form.

    UAB is a great program, i think one of the best in the SE (along with washU, florida). Strong research, nice technology, and getting brand new facilities in 2005.
  5. Joe N

    Joe N Member

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    If you are looking in the south east you have to check out the Medical College of Virginia. Basic science research and physics are superb. The basic science program (ie molecular radiobiology) is easily one of the top programs in the country. The physics program has been led by very big names. The chair of physics was formerly Dr. Mohan (who went to MD Anderson) and is now Dr Williamson (from Wash U). Clinical exposure is also very strong, with many years of IMRT experience and tons of brachy. Almost all of the attendings do research, although none are as well known as the chairman, Dr. Schmidt-Ullrich, who is the new editor of Perez and Brady. Of course, I am a little biased, but this program definitely should not be overlooked.
  6. music710

    music710 Member

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    Vandy: rumor is they only interview MD-PhD's, and then offer their spot outside the match. If I had known, would not have wasted time applying. Also, I think it's a pretty new program with little track record.

    **Florida: easily one of the best programs in the country (many people consider it top 10). Very strong clinically, and do a lot of (clinical) research.

    Emory: strong program historically. it's a 5-year program, with internship included (at Grady, which I hear is a pretty tough internship).
  7. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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  8. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    be careful of "one of the best in the country" comments. There are a few high flyers to be sure. But many top, excellent centers are called "one of the best" but its better to say in rad onc, "excellent, and particularly strong in...x,y and z" THe reason is that radonc is not a uniform experince; less so than most programs. Some places are really top-notch that aren't obvious (Florida; U Wisc). But often there are particular angles some places have; strong brach or IORT. Or strong physics. The leading edge in technology does not a great program make. Of course being backwards is a real problem. If you can qualify with what makes a program strong, you do much more good than just "top program!" there is a good thread about that here too.
  9. Thaiger75

    Thaiger75 Senior Member

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    Although I might be a little biased...but I think UNC should definitely be one of the top programs in the Southeast, right up there with Duke, MCV, Emory, Vandy (to name a few) and not that far from Florida (in quality). Probably top 2nd tier or low-top tier (top tier = top 20 or so).

    Excellent faculty. Chairman is well-known and very top quality. Other faculty are very good as well. Although the program is as small as one can get (4 total), the amount of research that goes on here is phenomenal for its size, so plenty of research opportunities at hand. Research is mainly clinical, with alot of good physics-translational research. More basic science or translational type opportunties are available, however. Excellent rad bio teaching. One of the big things the residents were emphasizing was that they are very much involved in every aspect of the treatment planning process, from start to finish. So resident feel very prepared coming out. Weakness at the time I interviewed was head and neck as they do not really have a head and neck "specialist," but are planning on hiring a new faculty member to address this issue.

    Pro-resident atmosphere. If you like a non-malignant, laid-back environment, this is a place for you. The "pimping" that goes on there is done in a nice, conducive to learning way. Technology available here is excellent...on par with any of the big academic rad onc programs...another strength. Supposedly getting CT-on-rails soon. Residents seem very tight at work. Outside work, they don't really seem to hang out much together. Having said that though, they definitely seem to have lives outside work.

    Will try to update my experience next year after I'm in the trenches...
  10. ijokergirl

    ijokergirl Junior Member

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    thanks for the excellent replies. Do any of you have any experience in trying to schedule away rotations at any of these programs (WashU, UAB, UNC, Wake, Vandy). None of these schools have the same block schedule as mine and so I wondered if they are willing to let me do a rotation out of sync with the other students.

    Also another important question kind of off the topic, but I will probably not get to do an away rotation maybe as late as November/december. Would this even be helpful or should I really try to rotate through around september. I am doing a two week rotation at St. Jude and then two weeks at a private hospital in the next month, so it's not like i won't have any rad onc experience until the end of the year. Any advice is appreciated.
  11. Thaiger75

    Thaiger75 Senior Member

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    I would definitely not wait until Dec to do an away rotation at a place you're interested in. Alot of programs begin to look at applications in Oct and Nov. Some offer interviews early in early Nov, the majority of programs offer them in mid-Nov through Christmas, some during Jan. The optimal time to do an away rotation I think would be in September/October. Early Nov imay still be an option, but keep in mind, again, that some programs decide early. As an anecdote, I was doing an away elective at a Southern program in Nov and was offered an interview...most likely a "courtesy" interview as I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten one otherwise.

    I would check with the program/course director directly and ask about the possiblity of working around schedules. I'm sure most programs are flexible.
  12. kimplera

    kimplera Member

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    I'm a UNC now (as a med student) and I imagine that they would be more than happy to accomodate a different schedule. My understanding is that you generally spend one week with an attending and perhaps a resident so 4 attendings total.
    if you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.

    Randy
  13. OTN

    OTN Member

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    When I rotated at WashU, there was a student from another school who was doing a rotation out of sync with the WashU students, and it wasn't a problem at all, as far as I could tell.

    I did away rotations in September and October, and I think they were definitely worth it. After October, though, I would have questioned it a little.

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