Radiation Oncology Residency | | Loyola Medicine

Radiation Oncology Residency

Welcome to the Radiation Oncology Residency Program

Welcome to the Department of Radiation Oncology Residency Program at Loyola University Medical Center. We appreciate your interest in our program. The department offers a fully accredited four-year residency program for eight residents.  Our residency emphasizes multi-disciplinary cancer care, advanced radiotherapeutic technologies and procedures, didactic and clinical teaching, clinical/basic science research, and service to our patients and our discipline. Our goal is to educate and train physicians to be optimally skilled in the practice of radiation and clinical oncology. We emphasize teaching and evaluating the six core competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, communication, professionalism, and system-based practice. Ultimately we intend for our graduating physicians to be outstanding clinicians, potential researchers, and make significant future contributions in the radiation oncology field. Please feel free to contact us if we can be of further assistance. 

Program Description

The Loyola/Hines Department of Radiation Oncology was established in July 1985 by Loyola University Chicago to provide radiotherapy for the Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Hines VA Hospital (HVAH). This creation of a new, combined program was necessary to form a department large enough to support a training program and to develop the Radiation Oncology Department to its fullest potential. LUMC is a major tertiary care center for the Chicago metropolitan area as well as its near western suburbs. The campus houses the Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM), Foster G. McGaw Hospital (FGMH), Loyola Outpatient Center (LOC), Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center on the east side along First Avenue and the Edward J. Hines Jr. VA Hospital on the west side accessible by Roosevelt Road at 5th Avenue.

The department of Radiation Oncology has clinic facilities at FGMH, a 567-bed university hospital, and the HVAH, a 500-bed hospital. We provide services to the entire VISN 12 Veteran Affairs Network specifically Jessie Brown VA (formally West Side VA Hospital and the Lake Side VA Hospital).

Loyola University Medical Center and Hines VA Hospital maintain a fully accredited four-year program in radiation oncology. Residents start radiation oncology training after completion of a transitional PGY-1 year or internship in internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery or surgical specialties, obstetrics & gynecology, or family medicine.  This PGY-1 year must include at least nine months of direct patient care in medical and/or surgical specialties other than radiation oncology.

William Small Jr., MD, FACR, FASTRO
Professor
Department Chair

Matthew Harkenrider, MD
Associate Professor
Program Director

 

Radiation Oncology intranet

Mission

The mission of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Loyola University Medical Center is to graduate physicians who are compassionate and patient-centered clinicians, skilled researchers, passionate educators, and future leaders in the field of radiation oncology.  Within this mission, we also take pride in providing exceptional cancer care and state of the art treatment to our nation's veterans at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital.  We are committed to excellence in patient care and aim to educate and train our residents in all aspects of clinical and radiation oncology.  We strive to provide a robust culture of research excellence and engage residents to lead impactful clinical and/or translational research that impacts the current and future care of our patients.  We aim to individualize the resident's experience to meet the career and aspirational goals of each trainee.  Our engaged faculty mentors strive to provide a multitude of opportunities to our trainees in organized medicine and service to our field.  We aim to provide an abundance of opportunities so that residents are well prepared for their board examinations and maximally competitive for the best jobs in the country.  It is the goal of our training program to establish a superior learning environment and a culture of respect, diversity, and inclusion.  

Goals

We provide a robust educational experience in order to educate and train physicians to be optimally skilled in the practice of radiation and clinical oncology when they enter autonomous clinical practice.  To do so, we maintain a curriculum that is disease-centered and emphasizes preparation for board examinations and certification by the American Board of Radiology (ABR).  In addition, we practice and teach how to provide patients and their families with compassionate, comprehensive, and quality medical care while demonstrating a responsiveness to the patient's needs regardless of self-interest. We provide an environment that encourages and facilitates education, research, and innovation with formal courses on these aspects that are of particular interest to the trainee. We provide formal training in quality and maintain engaged residents in hospital and departmental quality committees.  It is our goal to customize the residency experience for the career goals of our trainees to make them maximally competitive for their ideal job.  We aim to provide mentorship, guidance, and opportunity within the field of radiation oncology.  Lastly, we emphasize teaching and evaluating the six core competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, communication, professionalism, and system-based practice to ensure that our graduates are compassionate, responsive, empathetic, responsible, and capable within their health system and service to their communities.    

 

Core Competencies

The resident will obtain competency to the level expected of a new practitioner in the six areas below as specified by the ACGME: Competency of these six areas will be measured by various evaluations.

Patient Care
The resident is able to provide compassionate, appropriate and effective patient care for the treatment of health problems and promotion of health. Resident understands how to appropriately prioritize patient problems and develop an appropriate diagnostic plan, prescribes medications appropriately, and shows an appropriate balance between attention to the details of patient care and the overall context of treating the patient's illness. The resident obtains consultations appropriately, and is able to perform technical procedures completely, when appropriate.

Medical Knowledge
The resident demonstrates knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, and social/behavioral sciences as well as the application of this knowledge to   patient care. Resident is able to assess diagnostic information critically and constructively, and recognizes the psychosocial aspects of illness. Resident is able to critically evaluate the medical literature and apply new knowledge to the delivery of safe and effective patient care.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
The resident is able to critically evaluate the care of their patients, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and continuously improve patient care delivered on the basis of ongoing self-evaluation and learning. The resident uses knowledge to educate patient families, medical students, allied health personnel, peers, and other health professionals as appropriate. Resident is capable of self-identifying strengths, deficiencies, and the limits of their knowledge and expertise. The resident is receptive to constructive criticism (formative evaluation feedback) regarding the care of patients and physician performance. Resident is able to set learning and improvement goals, and identify and perform activities appropriate to meeting those goals.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills
The resident demonstrates interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and collaboration with patients, families and other health professionals. These skills include the ability to communicate across a broad range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and ability to communicate with physicians, health professionals, and health related agencies effectively. The resident is able to maintain comprehensive, timely and readable medical records. The resident can work effectively as a member or leader of a healthcare team and serve appropriately as a consultant to other physicians and health professionals. Resident is able to clearly lead daily work rounds, when appropriate.

Professionalism
The resident is committed to carrying out professional responsibilities and adhering to ethical principles. The resident demonstrates respect for patient privacy and autonomy and is accountable to patient, society and the medical profession for actions. Resident demonstrates compassion, integrity and respect for others as well as responsiveness to patient needs that supersede self-interest. The resident demonstrates sensitivity and responsiveness to a broad patient population including diversity in gender, age, culture, race, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. The resident demonstrates the ability to manage personal stress effectively. The resident is expected to answer pages or messages in a timely fashion. Resident understands how to maintain appropriate professional boundaries, and demonstrates integrity, honesty and compassion. Resident completes assigned tasks in a timely fashion.

Systems-Based Practice
The resident understands and is capable to interact effectively with different systems of care. The resident demonstrates the ability to provide high-quality care in a cost-effective manner. The resident incorporates consideration of cost-awareness and risk-benefit analysis in patient care decisions. The resident advocates for high quality care for all patients.

Our Curriculum

The core curriculum is comprised of the clinical curriculum as well as the didactic curriculum. The clinical curriculum is comprised of approximately 41 months of clinical rotations with the remaining devoted to research, dosimetry and medical physics. The didactic curriculum is comprised of mandatory conferences, lectures, and tumor boards. The majority of the curriculum will be dedicated to treatment of cancer patients with external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy, but will also include topics such as intraoperative radiation therapy, radioimmunotherapy, unsealed sources, hyperthermia, kilovoltage irradiation, plaque therapy, particle therapy, benign disease and others topics that may be developed.

Clinical

The clinical curriculum includes clinical experience with lymphomas and leukemias; gastrointestinal, gynecologic, genitourinary, breast, soft tissue and bone, skin, head and neck, lung, pediatric, central nervous system tumors, and treatment of benign diseases for which radiation is utilized.  The residents will learn indications for irradiation and special therapeutic considerations unique to each site and stage of disease including the use of combined modality therapy, altered fractionation, including stereotactic radiotherapy, brachytherapy, pain management and palliative care.

 The faculty will ensure that the resident personally performs technical procedures, including treatment setups as well as intracavitary and interstitial placement of radiation sources. 

Follow-up of the irradiated patients by the resident, including pediatric patients, on an inpatient or outpatient basis is a required part of resident training to ensure that residents have the opportunity to learn about the problems of recurrent and disseminated tumors and of late aftereffects and complications of radiation therapy.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations are performed within the two primary and integrated institutions (Loyola University Medical Center and Edward Hines VA Hospital).  Rotations at these two hospitals are mandatory and are typically in 3 month blocks.  Rotations will be scheduled in such a way to provide adequate educational experience in different disease sites and radiation therapy techniques.  The resident will maintain a one-to-one teaching relationship with his/her attending on that service. There is 1 additional required external rotation (see External Rotation). Additionally there are 2 electives: Dosimetry/Medical Physics and Research.  Participation in these electives is not mandatory and at the discretion of the program director can be withheld if there is failure to be promoted to next level of training or multiple unsatisfactory evaluations. The ACGME required electives including medical oncology, oncologic pathology, and diagnostic imaging are fulfilled by documented participation in multidisciplinary conferences where medical oncology management, imaging, and pathology are shown and discussed.*  

A typical 4-year schedule is shown. In general, the residents rotate through the clinical services twice through their residency. The one-month spent in dosimetry/physics will be in lieu of 1month spent on one of the clinical service rotations. 

REQUIRED

Clinical rotations (Loyola & Hines VA)

34-40 months

Pediatrics (St. Jude Children's)

1 month

ELECTIVES

Dosimetry/Physics

1 month

Research Elective

6-12 months

TOTAL REQUIREMENT

48 MONTHS


To complement the resident's experience, a one-month pediatric oncology rotation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee is mandatory for residents.  This rotation usually takes place during the PGY-4 or Year 5 but must be at least a PGY-3. This institution has a status of an affiliated institution for the purpose of residency training. Residents are expected to follow standard policies and procedures already in existence in that institution.External Rotation

Dosimetry/Medical Physics Elective

During the PGY-3 year, the resident will spend one month on the clinical dosimetry and medical physics service. The resident will be supervised by the Chief of Physics. The intent of this rotation will be for the resident to become intimately familiar with standard planning techniques: 2-D, 3-D, IMRT, brachytherapy, stereotactic radiation therapy.  The resident will be introduced to dosimetry and the RTP workstations (Xio) and will be required to participate in the planning of a variety of “standard” cases. Additionally the resident will also participate in the QA of radiation therapy equipment as it applies to clinical practice. This will also serve as an opportunity for the resident to identify a potential research project and mentor.

Research Elective

The ACGME requires that an investigative project be completed under faculty supervision. To facilitate this, residents will have a 6 month elective dedicated to research. This will generally be scheduled in the PGY-4 year and completion of the statistics course is a prerequisite. A component of the research should be Hines VA-based. The project(s) must be formalized and a one page proposal must be presented to the program director at least 1 month in advance of the rotation.  Failure to do so may result in postponement/cancellation of the elective. This proposal should identify the faculty mentor, the objective of the project, proposed methods i.e. retrospective review versus prospective data collection, and statistical methods which will be used to analyze data. If patient charts are to be reviewed, the project must by reviewed and   approved by the IRB. Once the project is approved and begun, the mentor and resident should meet monthly to review progress.  The mentor will be responsible for formally evaluating the resident at the 6 week, 3 month, 18 week, and 6 month time periods. Should there be no or minimal progress, the resident may be required to defer the remainder of the research elective and begin clinical rotation. The elective will conclude with a 30 minute presentation to the faculty/residents. Ideally the resident will present his/her research at a regional/national meeting and will write a corresponding manuscript.

Our Faculty

Our Clinicians

William Small, Jr., MD, FACRO, FACR, FASTRO (Chairman)

Our Physicists

John Roeske, PhD
Professor & Chief of Medical
Physics Section

Anil Sethi, PhD
Professor & Director of Residency Program

Rakesh Patel,  PhD
Assistant Professor

Derek Fielder, MS
Staff Physicist

Sebastien Gros, PhD
Assistant Professor

Jake Jackson, MS
Staff Physicist

Hyejoo Kang, PhD
Assistant Professor

Brian Lee, PhD
Assistant Professor

Michael Mysz, MS
Staff Physicist

Iris Rusu, MS
Staff Physicist and Assistant Director of Residency Program

Our Radiobiologists

 

Our Current Residents

Adam Gliniewicz, MD - PGY 5

Adam Gliniewicz, MDDr. Adam Gliniewicz graduated from Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Science and Medicine with honors in 2016. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2010. As a medical student, he coauthored a prospective trial protocol examining SBRT in clinically diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer. This trial is currently accruing. In addition, he is a first author on multiple abstracts and involved in poster presentations for breast cancer, hyperthermia and pancreatic cancer at national conferences.

Alexander Harris, MD - PGY 5

Dr. Harris graduated summa cum laude with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. He worked for a pharmaceutical and medical device company for several years before choosing to pursue a career in medicine. Dr. Harris completed his medical training at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, where he conducted research in proton beam radiation therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer (published in Acta Oncologica) and in medical leadership (presented at the GRMEP research symposium). During medical school, he was an active member in the local, state, and national medical societies, served as the president of the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) Medical Student Section, and was elected to the Board of Directors of the MSMS.

Dr. Harris completed his intern year through the Grand Rapids Medical Education Partnership in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was elected as the Transitional Year representative, and also worked as the resident representative to the Kent County Medical Society Board of Directors.

As a resident, Dr. Harris has been involved in research related to high-dose rate brachytherapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy, and radiopharmaceuticals, for which he has multiple peer-reviewed journal publications. Recently, Dr. Harris helped co-authored four book chapters,  two of which are in the newest edition of the radiation oncology textbook, Perez and Brady’s Principles and Practice of Radiation Oncology.

Kyle Stang, MD - PGY 5

Kyle Stang, MDDr. Stang graduated from the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine with research honors in 2016. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. His research has resulted in presentations in ASTRO’s E-poster discussion sessions, poster presentations and published manuscripts. He was first author on a manuscript reviewing the integration of radiation therapy and immunotherapy in melanoma management, as well as a manuscript investigating predictors of esophageal toxicity following stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). He also authored a case report describing a case of Leukemia Cutis treated with non-coplanar split field volumetric modulated arc therapy. He was co-author on a paper investigating local control of non-small cell lung cancer following consecutive vs. non-consecutive fractionation in lung SBRT. His work has also included investigating the effect of concurrent Metformin use on outcomes following SBRT, analyzing the effect of BMI on physician and patient-reported toxicity after HDR prostate brachytherapy, and reporting outcomes in patients with non-melanomatous skin cancers receiving definitive HDR brachytherapy. In terms of professional leadership, he currently serves on the ACRO resident membership committee, the ARRO education sub-committee, and serves as the ACR Chicago Radiologic Society radiation oncology executive member.

Dennis Chan, MD - PGY 4

Dr. Dennis Chan is a California native. He graduated from Stanford University where he studied Psychology and Neuroscience. He received his medical degree from Rush University Medical Center, and Chicago quickly became his new home. 

His research interest began during freshman year in the Symbiotic Project on Affective Neuroscience lab, where he worked on various MRI-based projects studying neuroanatomical and chemical trajectory of affective circuits.  He continued his neuroscience research in medical school.  When he decided to pursue radiation oncology after taking care of a young patient with glioblastoma multiforme, his research interest transferred to studying brain lesions, particularly subventricular zone in glioblastoma multiforme patients.  Currently, he is studying how we could utilize stereotactic body radiation therapy to re-treat locally recurrent lung cancer.  

He is also passionate in helping the underserved, and looks forward to pursing global health projects on his free time.  He enjoys playing tennis, cheering for the Lakers, learning Chinese, and reading modern fiction. In terms of professional leadership, he serves on the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee of the Cardinal Bernard Cancer Center, the Resident Wellness and Mentorship Subcommittee of ACRO, as the resident representative of RSNA, and as an executive board member of the Chicago Radiological Society. 

 

 

Grant Harmon, MD - PGY 4

Grant Harmon, MDDr. Harmon graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in 2017. While attending Loyola, Dr. Harmon was also elected into Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA). He completed his Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from Bradley University in Peoria, IL graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2013. His research has resulted in presentations at ASTRO, ABR, and ACRO conferences as well as other poster sessions and presentations and published manuscripts. He was first author on a manuscript analyzing bladder distension during cervical brachytherapy, as well as a manuscript investigating the dosimetry benefits of MRI-based brachytherapy in small and large high-risk target volume (HR-CTV) in cervical cancer. He was co-author on a study to help define the relationship between Point A dose and lymph node doses, which would allow physicians who do not have access to brachytherapy, more accurately estimate nodal doses. His work has also included investigating the effect of immunomodulation checkpoint inhibitor therapy on radiation therapy toxicities and investigating the influence of window settings on variability between users for SRS targeting and CNS lesions. In addition to his research, Dr. Harmon brings with him much volunteer experience in a variety of areas, including, but not limited to, work with Music Matters, Wellness Wizards, Proviso United with Loyola Students for Education, and Co-Founding the Radiation Oncology Interest Group at Loyola University.

 

Brian Chou, MD, PGY 3

Dr. Brian Chou grew up in Taiwan and moved to the United States in 1998. He completed his undergraduate studies at University of Washington, Seattle graduating from the honors college with degrees in Bioengineering, Neurobiology, and Biochemistry.  He earned his medical degree from Loma Linda University in California. While at Loma Linda, Dr. Chou researched the use of protons for pediatric medulloblastoma, pediatric ependymoma, and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), and the use of cytogenetic markers in lymphocytes to measure individual patients’ radiosensitivity to radiation. He loves to play tennis and golf and also enjoys practicing violin. 

 

Anjali Saripalli, MD, PGY 2

Dr. Saripalli is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her long-time interest in math and science led her to attend the University of Michigan College of Engineering where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in biomedical engineering. Following her engineering training she completed medical school at the University of Michigan where she had the opportunity to explore her interest in cancer care and research. During her medical school training she was selected as a National Institute of Aging summer research fellow at Johns Hopkins where she deepened her understanding of the biological principles of cancer and cancer research. She completed her PGY-1 training at Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois and is excited to continue on her path to provide excellent oncologic care as a radiation oncology resident at Loyola University Health System!

 

Bhanu Prasad Venkatesulu, MD, PGY 2

Dr. Prasad grew up in South India. He completed his medical school training at Madras Medical College, Chennai, and Oncology training at All India Insitute of medical sciences, New Delhi, India. He worked as a post-doc in Experimental radiation oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center from 2017 to 2019. He did his Prelim year at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. His research interests include understanding the immunological potential of radiation, FLASH radiation, rescue agents for treatment-related lymphopenia, rational design of clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis. He loves to play soccer, table tennis, board games, and enjoys cooking Indian dishes

Alumni

Basel Altoos, MD, Attending Physician, OSF Healthcare, Peoria, IL

Chelsea Miller, MD, Attending Physician, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI

Courtney Hentz, MD, Attending Physician, Loyola University, Maywood, IL

Issra Rashed, MD, Private Practice, Chicago, IL

Scott Silva, MD, PhD, Attending Physician, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Alec Block, MD, Attending Physician, Loyola University, Maywood, IL

Maya Mathew, MD, Attending Physician, Memorial Hospital, Gulfport, MS

Fiori Alite, MD, Attending Physician, Geisinger Hospital, Lewisburg, PA

Karan Shah, MD, Attending Physician, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Chicago, IL

Parvez Shaikh, MD, Attending Physician, West Virginia University, Morgantown WV

How to Apply to the Radiation Oncology Residency Program

Thank you for your interest in the radiation oncology residency at Loyola University Medical Center. We participate in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Your application should be accompanied by the following:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Medical school transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

The Dean's Letter from your medical school should be released and downloaded to ERAS. We typically have one or two PGY openings per year through the NRMP. 

Your completed application will be thoroughly reviewed, and invitations for interviews will be sent via ERAS. Interview sessions are generally scheduled in the months of November and December. Please note, all inbound rotators are invited to interview while rotating with the program.

Life in Chicago

Resident Life/Life in Chicago:

Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL is located 12 miles west of downtown Chicago.  Residents live scattered about Chicago and its near west suburbs (Forest Park, Oak ParkBrookfield, Riverside, and many others).  Chicago is the cultural heart of the Midwest and residents love to take advantage of the area's many social and cultural opportunities.  Chicago is truly one of the world's greatest tourist destinations, with millions visiting each year to enjoy our architecture, museums, unique neighborhoods and city-sponsored festivals. The Chicagoland area has a lot to offer, including:

Near Maywood, you can visit the

In Chicago, there are multiple attractions, including:

Museums and Galleries

Points of Interest

Chicago also boasts of nearly 600 parks, 13 Forest Preserve areas, 147 golf courses, and 15 athletic parks and racetracks. The Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Fire provide major league sports enthusiasts with year round activity.  Chicago has a thriving music scene with many festivals and shows throughout the year.  Chicago is the birthplace of improv comedy and is home to many comedy clubs where you can see up and coming comedians in action. Whether it's a marathon, Taste of Chicago, or the annual Blues Fest, Lollapalooza, Chicago's lakefront is alive with something for everyone.  The Chicagoland area provides easy access to many suburban attractions, from Six Flags Great America amusement park, Kohl Children's Museum, to the Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Ernest Hemingway Museum, and to the outstanding Ravinia Park.

For information on the attractions listed above and more, check out the official tourism website Choose Chicago or some of the many YouTube videos available!