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The Medical Physics Residency Program at Vassar Brothers Medical Center prepares graduates for success.

The Medical Physics Residency Program started in 2009. In March 2012 the Medical Physics Residency program at Vassar Brothers Medical Center was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP).

What is a Medical Physicist

Medical physicists contribute to the effectiveness of radiological imaging procedures by assuring radiation safety and helping to develop improved imaging techniques (e.g., mammography CT, MR, ultrasound). They contribute to development of therapeutic techniques (e.g., prostate implants, stereotactic radiosurgery), collaborate with radiation oncologists to design treatment plans, and monitor equipment and procedures to ensure that cancer patients receive the prescribed dose of radiation to the correct location.

What do Medical Physicists Do?

Many medical physicists are heavily involved with responsibilities in areas of diagnosis and treatment, often with specific patients. These activities take the form of consultations with physician colleagues. In radiation oncology departments, one important example is the planning of radiation treatments for cancer patients, using either external radiation beams or internal radioactive sources. An indispensable service is the accurate measurement of the radiation output from radiation sources employed in cancer therapy. In the specialty of nuclear medicine, physicists collaborate with physicians in procedures utilizing radionuclides for delineating internal organs and determining important physiological variables, such as metabolic rates and blood flow. Other important services are rendered through investigation of equipment performance, organization of quality control in imaging systems, design of radiation installations, and control of radiation hazards. The medical physicist is called upon to contribute clinical and scientific advice and resources to solve the numerous and diverse physical problems that arise continually in many specialized medical areas.

Scope of Practice

The essential responsibility of the Qualified Medical Physicist's clinical practice is to assure the safe and effective delivery of radiation to achieve a diagnostic or therapeutic result as prescribed in patient care. The medical physicist performs or supervises the technical aspects of procedures necessary to achieve this objective. The responsibilities of the medical physicist include: protection of the patient and others from potentially harmful or excessive radiation; establishment of adequate protocols to ensure accurate patient dosimetry; the measurement and characterization of radiation; the determination of delivered dose; advancement of procedures necessary to ensure image quality; development and direction of quality assurance programs; and assistance to other health care professionals in optimizing the balance between the beneficial and deleterious effects of radiation; and compliance with applicable federal and state regulations

For more information, go to www.aapm.org.

About the Program

Health Quest has four clinical Radiation Oncology centers in the mid-Hudson Valley region of New York State. The main hospital-based department is Vassar Brothers Medical Center (VBMC) located in Poughkeepsie, NY. The affiliated centers are located south in Carmel (Putnam Radiation Oncology Center, PROC) and Fishkill (FROC), and north in Kingston (Ulster Radiation Oncology Center, UROC).  Carmel and Kingston, the two most widely separated centers, are approximately 55 miles apart. Vassar Brothers Medical Center is a community hospital, not a degree-granting academic institution.

As recommended by AAPM Report 90 residency is two-year position. The program supports two residents at a time, one at year 1 and the other at year 2. The staffing of the four centers is managed centrally and assignments of personnel to clinics remain relatively static. This strategy affords stability and continuity in the practice of each center combined with the significant advantages of built-in peer review and cross-coverage as well as centralized administrative control.

All four centers are served by a single physician group that currently has five ABR-certified Radiation Oncologists. The physics has six full-time licensed Medical Physicists, including one Chief of Physics and Associate Vice President, and two Medical Physics Residents. One of the Staff Medical Physicists, whose base office is at Vassar, serves as Director of the Physics Residency program. The Dosimetry section consists of four CMDs including one Chief Dosimetrist. The therapists report to a technical manager.

The Health Quest radiation oncology has an ongoing program of quality management and peer review to maintain consistent practices across the four centers. Both clinical and administrative meetings are routinely attended by staff from all centers using teleconferencing. The enterprise shares a single treatment planning database server for external beam treatment planning systems and a single MOSAIQ database so that all records are viewable from all sites at any time. The entire clinical practice is fully electronic within MOSAIQ EMR. Physics documents and other machine-related records have migrated to shared electronic storage.

Meet the Physicists

Dan Pavord
Assistant Vice President for Oncology Services and Chief Medical Physicist

Dan has over 25 years experience as a Medical Physicist in community hospital settings. He continues to hold leadership positions within the profession, currently serving as the Chair of the AAPM Clinical Practice Committee and as a member of the steering committee for the TARGIT Trial US. He was also one of the authors for the “Blue Book” rewrite, Safety is No Accident. He received his Masters degree from The University of Pittsburgh.

Jason Gong
Medical Physicist

Jason possesses both clinical experience and extensive research background. He started his medical career as Assistant Professor at School of Medicine at Wayne State University and continued as Medical Physicist at Vassar brother Medical Center. He received a PhD from Beijing Institute of Technology and a MS and training in Medical Physics from Wayne State University.

Serguei Kriminski
Medical Physicist and Director of Medical Physics Residency

In addition to extensive clinical work Serguei has a profound scientific research background: 14 peer-reviewed publications in top physics journals, including 7 as a first author; co-author of a book chapter, numerous conference presentations. He serves as a referee for leading scientific journals, Medical Physics, Physics in Medicine and Biology and Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics. He trained in radiation physics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, received his PhD from Cornell University and MS from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Patricia Sansourekidou
Medical Physicist and Associate Director of Medical Physics Residency Program

Patricia started her career in Nuclear and Astroparticle Physics and found her way to Medical Physics through Monte Carlo simulations. She has been part of the New York Medical Physics community since 2003 and received her Master’s from Columbia University. She joined Vassar Brothers in 2008 and has been primarily assigned at Putnam Hospital Center. She served as a team leader in the department’s Electronic Medical Record implementation and she is currently an Associate Director of the Medical Physics Residency Program.

Matthew Sutton
Medical Physicist

Matt graduated from Louisiana State University with an MS in Medical and Health Physics. He successfully passed ABR examination in 2015. He is a graduate of the Vassar Brothers Medical Physics Residency program.

Program Objectives

The goal of the Medical Physics residency program in Therapeutic Radiological Physics at Vassar Brothers Medical Center is to prepare new Medical Physics graduates to independently perform the diverse duties of a radiation oncology physicist in a typical practice.

We believe that the individuals who choose clinical medical physics as their profession must have:

  • Strong basic skills
  • Sound clinical judgment, including the ability to recognize the edges of their own competencies
  • Diverse expertise in various procedures
  • Developed responsibility and independence to serve as a source of expertise in a health care organization
  • A strong professional work ethic
  • Soft skills

Therefore, the program’s objectives include:

  • Teaching the role of radiation oncology in health care.
  • Teaching the role of the professional Medical Physicist in Radiation Oncology.
  • Teaching specific knowledge and skills required to perform the Medical Physicist’s work in clinical procedures typical for radiation oncology.
  • Teaching a sense of professional identity and professionalism in their work, including soft skills.
  • Developing and reinforcing habits of critical thinking, problem recognition, problem solving and attention to detail.
  • Teaching the principles of the safe use of radiation in medicine.
  • Teaching apprehension of harm to patient arising through error or omission, and the critical role of the Medical Physicist in assuring patient safety.
  • Teaching knowledge and skills required to accept, commission and monitor performance of the major equipment used in radiation oncology.
  • Teaching how to select and use the correct instrumentation to make clinically significant radiation measurements.
  • Preparing to pass their ABR certification exams and to distinguish themselves as outstanding candidates for future employment.

Download self-study materials

Program Competencies

We have identified sixteen core competencies in which the Resident will be examined. The Resident is expected to demonstrate mastery of at least twelve of the sixteen (eight of them considered mandatory), and to be conversant in the others. Mastery is defined as the ability to independently perform the work completely and accurately in a timely fashion. A Resident is found to be conversant if he/she can communicate clearly the important concepts and cite the relevant source of authority for an area of competence, but has not yet demonstrated the ability to perform the work independently.

Mastery in any competency is judged by a combination of (1) performance evaluations (P) by clinical supervisors during rotation, meaning direct observation of each task as it is being performed, (2) written report created by the resident and (3) performance of a skill and/or in an oral exam (O). Oral Exam should be structured similarly to ABR, debrief of the examiners and feedback to the resident. Questions are to be saved as a part of documentation.

The core competencies are:

  • Clinical Patient Management
  • External Bam
  • External Beam Treatment
  • Brachytherapy Commissioning and QA
  • Brachytherapy Treatment Planning
  • Brachytherapy Delivery
  • Instrumentation and Dosimetry Protocols
  • Patient Specific Physics Services
  • Information Systems/EMR
  • Administrative and Professional
  • Clinical Program Management
  • Special Procedures Treatment Planning
  • Special Procedures delivery
  • Radiation Safety and regulatory

Application Guidance

Application Guidelines

Residency applicants will be screened according to predefined criteria to insure that selection is on the basis of applicant preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills, and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity.

  • Applications are accepted only through the AAPM Residency Common Application (CAP)
  • We participate in Match program by National Matching Services, Inc.
  • Program start date: June 23
  • Number of positions: 1
  • Application Deadline: December 15
  • Phone interviews take place around early-mid January
  • Several candidates are offered on-site interviews

Eligibility

The residency accepts only applicants who completed CAMPEP-accredited graduate program. Since Vassar Brothers Medical Center is a community practice, we are not able to and do not intend to offer remedial coursework in adjunct to the residency.

Current Residents and Alumni

Current Residents

* Expected graduation in 2017 - Kurt Pedersen

Kurt received his MMP degree from University of Wisconsin at Madison.

*Expected graduation in 2018 - George Hatzinikolaou

George received his MS from Georgia Tech.


Alumni

* Graduated in 2016 – Sierra Irwin
She received her MS degree from UT Houston/UT MD Anderson. After completion of her residency Sierra started at Baptist Health, Paducah, KY

* Graduated in 2015 – Michael Sigler
After graduation from Wayne State University, Michael joined our residency. After successful completion of the residency, Michael accepted Medical Physics position in Bismarck Cancer Center. . He successfully passed ABR examination in 2016.

*Graduated in 2014 - Colleen Allen

Colleen joined the Vassar Brothers Medical Center residency program after graduating with an MS in Medical Physics from Duke University. After completion the residency she accepted temporary position at Putnam Radiation Oncology Center. She successfully passed ABR examination in 2015. Currently she is Medical Physicist at MGH.

*Graduated in 2013 - Mathew Sutton
After completing his Residency at Vassar Brothers Medical center in 2013, Matt accepted a clinical Medical Physicist position at Vassar Brothers. He is primarily stationed at Ulster Radiation Oncology Center. He received board certification in 2015.

*Graduated in 2012 - Dominic DiConstanzo
After graduating from the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Residency Program, Dominic found a clinical job at The Ohio State University Medical Center. While early in his career, Dominic is a well established medical physicist. He achieved board certification in 2013.

*2011- non diploma - Amatari Dorgu

Program Statistics