Paving the Way
By Meghan Edwards
Beginning in February, residents will be able to attend a new radiation oncology course offering at AIRP, a four-day categorical course that will present a comprehensive view of imaging with emphasis on principles of radiologic correlation. Albert L. Blumberg, MD, FACR, former ACR president, Seth A. Rosenthal, MD, FACR, chair of the Commission on Radiation Oncology, and Bryan Barriger, MD, one of the program directors at AIRP, discuss the content of the course and why it’s just as important for practicing radiation oncologists as it is for residents.
Could you tell us a little about the course?
Rosenthal: The ACR has been very fortunate to have the AIRP. The institute is a nationally known resource for clinicians regarding the pathologic correlates of diseases. Understanding of pathology is central to the practice of radiation oncology, so it makes sense that we marry the two. Together with the AIRP, the ACR Commission on Radiation Oncology brought a group of expert radiation oncologists and pathologists together to create a course that’s going to have a lot of great information focused on the needs of radiation oncologists.
Barriger: This course builds on everything that residents enjoy about AIRP courses. Our aim is to educate radiation oncologists on the pathologic appearance of common oncologic processes.
Why is it important that residents attend the course?
Blumberg: First of all, it’s built on the model of a program that’s been successful for decades — the AFIP. Second, there’s a definite need for this course in the radiation oncology community because there’s really nothing like it right now. Radiation oncology residents have a pathology requirement in their training just as radiologists do, but the vast majority of radiation oncology resident programs rely on residents attending multidisciplinary tumor boards. They get a couple of slides and a discussion, but there’s nowhere near the attention or focus they need to look at the correlation that occurs between looking at a radiologic abnormality and pathologic normality.
Rosenthal: Understanding the pathologic correlates of disease is an integral part of a radiation oncologist’s practice. This course is going to have expert radiation oncologists and pathologists working together to address pathologic topics of special interest to radiation oncologists. This will provide residents and practicing physicians with in-depth exposure to pathologic processes underlying the diseases we treat, as well as the response of normal tissues to radiation.
Barriger: Radiation oncologists should first be general oncologists. We need to have a basic understanding of the other oncologic subspecialties for a well-rounded education. And having radiologic-pathologic correlation is a critical part of oncology training. Becoming as educated and up-to-date as possible is paramount to providing quality patient care.
Is this course only for residents?
Blumberg: Although this course was created with residents in mind, I think it’s just as valuable for practicing physicians. The course I audited at AIRP was extremely helpful to me. I think that this course, which is geared specifically to radiation oncologists, will be even more helpful, particularly to practicing physicians who are looking to understand better what they are looking at.
Interested in learning more about AIRP’s new Radiation Oncology course? Click here for more information.