University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

About the Program

Mission

The Department of Radiation Oncology works to provide the highest quality education to our residents. We direct that our patients receive the highest quality and safest care. We endeavor to select and retain the most qualified applicants. Integral to our efforts in the continuing advancement of the profession of Radiation Oncology is the mission of scholarship, research, evidence based care, and continual clinical innovation. We foster and require an ethical atmosphere, one of collegiality among our faculty, residents, and staff. At the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, our residents are able to work with the latest advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment. We are committed to insuring that our residents receive an education with an optimal environment for them to achieve and advance in their learning and profession.

Accolades

The Radiation Oncology Residency and Training Program at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 programs in the country for radiation oncology research, based on the number of articles and abstracts accepted for publication or presented at scientific meetings, by radiation oncology residents, by the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

Residency Program Director, Sushil Beriwal, MD was recognized as a Best Doctor in the region by Pittsburgh Magazine. He is one of five UPMC Radiation Oncology faculty members to receive the distinction. In addition, Dr. Beriwal received the Medical Student Research Mentoring Merit Award from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Over the past 10 years, 7 different faculty members have been recognized as educator of the year.

Accolades received by our residents are listed individually on the current resident page.

Education

As a radiation oncology resident, you will receive superior education – in the classroom and hands-on. Our outstanding faculty will expose you to didactic courses in physics, radiobiology, clinical radiation oncology, and outcomes across all disciplines. Weekly journal clubs and case conferences will help to round out your multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary educational experience. In addition, visiting professors are invited to lead case discussions several times a year.

Clinical Programs and Training

Our expert faculty provides comprehensive training in all areas of oncology, including highly subspecialized fields such as gynecologic oncology and pediatric oncology. Due to UPCI’s strength across all subspecialties such as medical oncology, surgical oncology, neurosurgery, otolaryngology, and urology, residents will receive a large-volume caseload across all disease sites.

Residents may participate in an optional community rotation at one of UPMC CancerCenter’s network locations during senior year. The UPMC CancerCenter also has a site in Ireland, which may become a rotation site for residents.

Residents will be introduced to innovative technology and techniques in their clinical training at UPMC and UPCI. The Mary Hillman Jennings Radiation Oncology Center at UPMC Shadyside, the hub of our residency training, houses some of the most advanced radiation oncology technology in the country. Radiation technologies and techniques available include:

All residents adhere to a four-year rotation that includes all of these technologies taught by experts in the field of radiation oncology.

Clinical Trials and Research

In addition to daily consultations, our faculty is heavily involved in clinical trial enrollment – a responsibility instilled in our residents. We work with national groups including:

Residents have opportunities to pursue research in radiobiology and medical physics.

Examples of current research initiatives:

  • Investigations are underway in the Department of Radiation Oncology’s physics division to develop dynamic-controlled radiotherapy.
  • Research conducted through the Department’s basic science division has recently resulted in an innovative clinical trial of radioprotective gene therapy to prevent esophagitis.
  • The Cooperative Planning Grant for Cancer disparities Research Partnership seeks to assess and overcome problems in access to treatment by patients who live in disadvantaged communities.
  • $9.8 million contract from the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop a drug that will protect people from radiation released by a nuclear bomb.