Residency Curriculum

At the beginning of each clinical rotation residents are provided with the goals and objectives of the rotation. The Rotation Attending will review all expectations and tools to assess with the resident prior to beginning the clinical rotation.

To start training, the resident participates in the day-to-day clinical care of cancer patients, their work-up, assisting in consultation, treatment planning, patient treatment and follow-up.  The resident is exposed to the full spectrum of clinical oncology seen at OHSU Hospital including patients from the Portland VA Hospital and Doernbecher Children Hospital.  Full-time staff radiation oncologists are in continuous attendance to see that the resident’s responsibilities increase in keeping with the resident’s skill and experience.  Throughout this period, the resident is required to attend basic science lectures in biology and physics as well as clinical lectures and tumor boards. 

During the first year, emphasis will be placed on learning anatomy, pathology, staging and epidemiology as they relate to cancer care.  Residents must master physical exam and proper documentation in the official record’s history and physical.

First year begins in July, but first year residents are not expected to take call until September.

Duration of Rotation: 12 months

The second year remains clinical with patient experience at OHSU South Hospital.  The resident is expected to view clinical problems from the perspective gained from prior experience and is given increasing responsibilities related to patient care, decision making and treatment planning.

As a second year, the resident is expected to have a better understanding of radiation oncology treatment plan, when radiation is used alone or in combination with chemotherapy.  In simulation, the resident should be able to provide a basic radiation volume with understanding of normal tissue and tumor anatomy as well as patterns of cancer spread.

At the end of the second year, the resident will submit a proposal for research to be completed prior to completing the residency.  This research may be clinical (e.g. chart review) or basic science.  All research must be approved by the program director and overseen by OHSU staff.  It is expected that this research will culminate in presentation (poster or talk) at a major radiation oncology meeting (e.g., ASTRO, RSNA, and ASCO) and publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Duration of Rotation: 12 months

The third year resident continues to gain a greater level of responsibility, able to provide total patient care and coordinate care with referring teams and other subspecialties. It is expected that the third year resident will be knowledgeable about major literature pertaining to a chosen treatment plan.

In simulation, the resident should be able to set field volumes and draw blocks.  The resident should be able to contour tumor as well as critical normal structures as part of 3D and IMRT treatment planning.

The third year resident also takes on administrative duties organizing our clinical didactic course and weekly journal club. Finally, the third-year resident is given the responsibility and privilege of assigning all patients to residents in the OHSU clinic.

Duration of Rotation: 9 months

Other Rotations:


  • Hematology/oncology is directed by our colleagues in medical oncology.  The resident will function as a medical oncology fellow with particular emphasis on clinic-based oncology.  The resident should gain greater understanding of chemotherapeutic agents and their interaction with radiation.

Duration of Rotation: 1 month


  • This rotation should provide unique medical knowledge for our residents as they learn how to process and actually evaluate pathology materials as they apply to oncology.

Duration of Rotation: 1 month


  • Residents have generally spent time in chest, head and neck/neurologic radiology and mammography.  Residents should gain in practice-based learning and improvement during this rotation as their improved radiographic anatomy knowledge should translate in to improved target and normal tissue contouring during treatment planning. 

Duration of Rotation: 1 month

The fourth year resident is preparing for graduation and independent practice.  This resident should be able to manage patients independently with minimal radiation oncology staff input.  The resident should be familiar with established literature-supported radiation oncology techniques and, also able to utilize current literature and meeting information to grow and change treatment as new therapeutic developments evolve.

In simulation, the fourth year resident should be able to function independently both in field design and prescribing doses.

Clinically, time should also be spent to refine special procedure techniques such as brachytherapy and radiosurgery.

Duration of Rotation: 12 months