Dynlacht, J. R., Dewhirst, M. W., Hall, E. J., Rosenstein, B. S. and Zeman, E. M. Toward a Consensus on Radiobiology Teaching to Radiation Oncology Residents. Radiat. Res. 157, 599–606 (2002).
There are approximately 82 radiation oncology residency programs in the United States, which provide training opportunities for about 400 residents. All accredited radiation oncology residency programs must have at least one basic scientist on the faculty, and it is these individuals who often assume, wholly or in part, the responsibility of teaching radiation and cancer biology to radiation oncology residents in preparation for the American College of Radiology (ACR) In-Training Examination in Radiation Oncology and the American Board of Radiology (ABR) written examinations. In response to a perceived lack of uniformity in radiation and cancer biology curricula currently being taught to residents and a perceived lack of guidance for instructors in formulating course content for this population, a special session was presented at the Forty-eighth Annual Radiation Research Society meeting on April 23, 2001. The session, entitled “Toward a Consensus on Radiobiology Teaching to Radiation Oncology Residents”, was focused on issues related to teaching radiobiology to radiation oncology residents and targeted for individuals who actively teach radiation and cancer biology as well as coordinators of residency training programs. The speakers addressed current challenges and future problems facing instructors and programs. Among these were lack of feedback on resident performance on ABR and ACR written examinations and on course content, uncertainty about what topics residents must know to pass the ABR examination, and, in the near future, a reduction (due to retirement) of instructors qualified to teach radiobiology. This article provides a synopsis of the information that was presented during that session, offers a glimpse into how the ABR and ACR examinations are prepared and details of the content of past and future examinations, and summarizes the activities of the Joint Working Group on Radiobiology Teaching which was formed to educate instructors, to establish a consensus for course curricula, and to improve the overall quality of resident teaching.