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Frequently Asked Questions about Radiation Oncology Residency

  • How are rotations organized?

    Residents are scheduled for six two-month rotations each year. During each rotation, residents work one-on-one with an attending specializing in typically one or two disease sites. Daily lectures are from 8 to 9 am and daily prospective peer review is from 12:30 to 1 pm. Residents are given autonomy appropriate for their PGY level, skills, experience and goals.

  • How frequent is call?

    Residents take home call for a week at a time paired with one attending switching Monday morning (if Monday is a holiday switch is Tuesday morning). Calls are divided evenly among residents. 

  • How much vacation do I get?

    PGY 2 residents have 15 days and PGY 3-5 residents have 20 days of vacation time. In addition, all residents have up to five personal days in addition to conference days.

  • How many electives do I get?

    Up to 12 months of non-radiation oncology clinic time. Residents can take off 12 months straight to enroll in a degree program or schedule elective time flexibly to pursue their research interests. Scheduling clinical electives in radiology, medical oncology, pathology and other fields is also possible. The department is also very supportive if residents would like to do outside radiation oncology rotations, although our case volume is sufficient for residents and there is no need for outside radiation oncology rotations. Residents on the Global Health Track are supported for their international elective (i.e. through the AMPATH program). Residents on the Holman Research Pathway have 21 months of dedicated research time, with one day per week devoted to clinical training during their research time.

  • What is the patient population like?

    The patient population is very diverse ranging from those who are familiar with the primary literature of their disease prior to their first consult to those with significant access barriers to health care. Indianapolis has a large African-American population and a growing Latino population. There are also several large immigrant groups (e.g. Burmese). Our residents benefit from learning at the only academic radiation oncology center in Indiana with frequent referrals of challenging cases and brachytherapy cases. In addition, Riley Hospital for Children is the only academic pediatric hospital in Indiana, and most of these patients with an indication for radiation are consulted in our department.

  • How diverse is the program?

    IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the United States, and we have matched several IU medical students over the last decade. The 14 residents that went through our program during the last 5 years or are part of it now came from 12 different medical schools. We have also selected a few outstanding international medical graduates to join our program. We usually have several residents with MD/PhD degrees. Currently, five of our seven residents are women. Several faculty are part of the LGBTQ+ community or are underrepresented in medicine. We actively support making our program welcoming to all.

  • Where do residents live? 

    Residents live in or close to downtown or in the suburbs (i.e. Fishers and Carmel). The commute even if living in the suburbs is rarely longer than 30 minutes outside of rush hour traffic. Several of the Indianapolis suburbs have excellent public schools. Carmel, location of the IU Health Schwarz Cancer Center, and Fishers, location of IU Health Central Indiana Cancer Center, have both been listed among the best places to live in the United States

  • Where do residents rotate?

    Residents rotate at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center (NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center) and IU Health Methodist Hospital in downtown Indianapolis, typically 1:1 with an attending specializing in one or two disease sites. Senior residents also rotate at IU West Hospital, which ensures our residents are familiar and comfortable practicing in a community-type practice. 

  • What technology is available?

    Radiation oncology procedures including LDR and HDR brachytherapy (high volume GU and GYN program), GammaKnife, frameless SRS as well as robust SBRT program. We offer investigator initiated clinical trials, several of which evaluate new technology or novel technological concepts. IU is home to several state of the art imaging modalities including PSMA-PET and PET/MRI.

  • What is the maternity/paternity leave policy?

    Up to 6 weeks of paid time off (minus time off already taken in the academic year) and those eligible for FMLA can extend the leave up to 12 weeks (typically not paid).

  • What research opportunities are there for residents?

    Residents have up to 12 months of research time. In addition to each resident's prospective clinical trial, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue research interests. Residents can engage in clinical research and work towards becoming a successful clinical trialist or engage in laboratory based research in one of several Radiation Oncology labs or outside of the department within our Cancer Center. For those interested in laboratory based research and have an adequate background, completion of residency on the Holman Research Pathway is supported, which provides 21 months of research time during which 80% of the time is spent doing research and 20% doing clinical learning. Health disparities research, education research, global health and community outreach projects are all supported.