The Diagnostic Radiology Residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a four-year, ACGME-accredited program that generally admits six residents per year.
Greetings from the Sweetest Place on Earth!
First, thank you for your interest in our program. I believe this is a fantastic place to train and am proud of each one of the residents who have graduated from our program.
Although our residents are primarily from the Northeast, our residents come from all over the country and have very diverse backgrounds. About half are married. One thing I think is unique about our residency is the non-traditional route that some of our residents have taken to get here. We have former military members, engineers and residents from other specialties, among others, who have bravely decided to change paths and pursue a radiology residency. The department as a whole tries to foster a feeling of family. We are a close-knit group, including our residents, fellows, faculty and staff. We also endeavor to propagate a sense of respect for healthcare professionals in other departments. In that vein, the radiology department at Penn State Health is very well-regarded and our faculty, fellows and residents are very well respected by members of other departments. That is to say, if a radiology resident evaluates a case off-hours and thinks a person needs a certain urgent treatment it is extremely unusual for the surgeon to ask for an “attending read” on the case. They usually believe the resident.
One thing I am asked about with some frequency is the impact that fellows have on resident education. We currently have four fellows (one nuclear medicine, one musculoskeletal and two interventional radiology). The fellows do not in any way hinder a resident’s education. Radiology fellows at Penn State Health interpret examinations and perform procedures under attending supervision. A resident is often not involved in those cases. There are not “fellow-only” types of cases – everyone participates in the cases equally. I personally think fellows are a great resource for residents. They may have trained in our residency program, are closer to examinations than faculty are, and can provide tips and advice to residents that faculty may not be able to offer or that residents may feel bashful about asking an attending for.
I am also asked about 24-hour radiology attending coverage. Although I cannot predict the future, there is no such coverage now, nor will this occur soon. Without getting into all the details of attending coverage, a radiology attending is immediately available into the late evening. These attendings interpret examinations themselves and/or guide resident interpretations. Between the hours of approximately 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., radiology resident(s) interpret examinations, with attendings available by pager.
Once again, thank you for your interest in this program. I hope the information provided on this website answers some of your questions.
The principal goals are to have each resident:
- interpret all types of diagnostic radiological examinations
- competently and comfortably perform all diagnostic radiological examinations
- direct the radiological work-up of clinical problems efficiently, economically and expeditiously
- apply the principles of radiation physics, radiation protection, radiation biology, and quality assurance
- pass the Core Examination from the American Board of Radiology at the end of third year during Diagnostic Radiology Residency
The fully accredited program fulfills the requirements for certification by the American Board of Radiology in Diagnostic Radiology.
A five-week orientation to radiology is designed specifically for first-year residents. The purpose of the orientation is to learn the policies and procedures of the Department of Radiology and gain a practical overview on how the department operates. The new residents spend one week each with the Chest, Musculoskeletal, Pediatric, Body Imaging and Neuroimaging divisions during this orientation. The residents work directly with the technologists to gain an appreciation and familiarity with their skills. The orientation includes presentations and workshops with emphasis on technique, systematic approach to a radiological study and the basic rules and procedures within the division.
This orientation is an excellent way for the new residents to acquire an overview of how the department functions and an excellent opportunity for the staff to meet the new residents.
For the entire first year, there is a dedicated R1 curriculum consisting of a series of tutorials based on specific reading assignments. These tutorials are conducted once per week, and their emphasis is on providing a foundation of radiology knowledge at a first-year level.
Four-Year Program Overview
The four-year program consists of a core curriculum, which includes image interpretation and instruction in radiologic procedures in all radiologic subspecialties. Junior residents are usually paired with more senior residents during their rotation. Rotations are divided either by organ system or imaging modality. All procedures and images are supervised and interpreted in conjunction with an attending radiologist.
Rotations are in five-week blocks to allow for at least four-week blocks in case of vacation or night shift or float call weeks occurring during a rotation.
Fourth-year residents can have concentration of three specific specialties within radiology of approximate 12-week duration. Fourth-year residents also have a dedicated four-week block for procedures consisting of ultrasound and CT guided biopsies and drainage placement. Additionally, fourth-year residents complete nuclear medicine and breast imaging days required for graduation if not already selected as a concentrated three month block.
American Institute for Radiologic Pathology
All residents attend the four-week course in radiologic pathology at the AIRP in Silver Spring, MD, during their third year of residency. Tuition for this course (currently $1,900) is paid by the department. The resident’s salary is continued during this four-week course. It is not necessary to take vacation to attend the course, and an additional $1,000 stipend is meant to defray traveling and lodging cost associated with the course.
The Center for NMR Research
The Department of Radiology’s Center for NMR Research has 6,500 square feet of laboratory space, which includes biochemical and electronic equipment and a fully equipped machine shop. A new 3T research magnet has recently been installed, with full-function MRI capabilities. In addition, the NMR Research facility utilizes a Bruker AM-400 WB NMR spectrometer with micro imaging accessory upgraded with a Tecmag Apollo console; an Oxford 1.9 Tesla, 26 CM bore magnet with Tecmag Apollo console; and a Bruker S-300, 90 cm bore, 3.0 Tesla whole body MR spectrometer/imager with Advance digital electronic and Paravision software.
Resident Scholarly Activity
All residents are required to complete a scholarly project during their residency. That may take the form of hypothesis driven research, a case report, scientific presentation or an educational poster. Resident research is strongly encouraged though not mandatory. Research opportunities are available in each division of the department.
The department offers fellowships in radiology subspecialties after a formal radiology residency. Fellowships, one or two years long, are tailored to the background, capabilities, and interests of the individual. Application is made directly to the Division Chief.
Lectures, Conferences and Meetings
Several types of educational events are available to Diagnostic Radiology residents.
There are teaching conferences on Monday through Friday of each week.
Conferences are conducted from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and consist of a didactic lecture followed by a case conference. All of the subspecialty areas that are included in the ABR Board Examination (e.g. gastrointestinal, genitourinary, neuroradiology, etc.) are covered during these conferences. Each subspecialty area is coordinated by a faculty member who is an expert in that field. Each coordinator presents a curriculum over two years, so that during a four-year residency, the entire curriculum of each subspecialty is presented twice.
A comprehensive radiation physics course is an integral component of this curriculum. Each year there are physics lectures approximately once a week with Group A lectures attended by years 1 and 3, and Group B lectures attended by years 2 and 3. This ensures that residents will have been exposed to each lecture twice before the Core Examination at the end of their third year.
In addition to formal conferences, numerous clinical conferences occur within each division of the Department of Radiology. These include Pediatric Surgery and the Pediatric Specialty of Neonatology, Pulmonary Radiology, ENT, Angio-Interventional, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Rheumatology, Lymphoma, Tumor Board, and Gastro-intestinal Radiology Pathology conferences.
Visiting Professor Program
Each year, six internationally renowned academic radiologists are invited to lecture in our department. It is an outstanding opportunity for the residents to meet these distinguished academicians. Each visiting professor presents two conferences. Residents are excused from clinical duties to attend these presentations.
Second- and fourth-year residents are expected to prepare and present a lecture to their peers. These presentations form part of each resident’s evaluation and historically have been of exceptional quality.
Medical Student Lecture
Radiology residents are expected to give a monthly lecture to third- and fourth-year medical students taking their radiology elective.
American Board of Radiology
Radiology didactic conferences and clinical experience prepare residents with exceptional knowledge to take the American Board of Radiology written and oral examinations.
National Meeting Attendance Policy
Each second-year resident is encouraged to attend a one-week scientific national meeting. A stipend of up to $1,500 is provided to offset expenses.
Third-year residents are given 20 working days to attend the AIRP four-week course. Two additional days are given to all residents to attend the American Board of Radiology (ABR) core examination. The Chief Residents are entitled to two additional funded CME meetings. Residents presenting papers or exhibits at regional and national meetings are also funded to attend.
- The A3CR2 Meeting; and
- either the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society or the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
Institutional policies apply in the Diagnostic Radiology Residency. Where program-specific policies exist, they are listed below.
The current call system was developed by our residents.
RI “Buddy Call”
First-year residents take no overnight or primary independent call. A “buddy” system is operated for the first nine months of the year, in which a senior resident is on primary call. During this time, the first-year resident is primarily responsible for initial interpretation of all plain films in the Emergency Department. Final interpretations are done by the supervising faculty. Duty hours are from 5 to 8 p.m. during weekdays, and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The frequency of R1 call is about one day per week, and one weekend a month. During the final three months of the first year, the resident assumes greater call responsibility (cross-sectional imaging) to allow for their transition to Primary Call as a second-year resident.
R3-R4 Senior Call
A night float system is operated six consecutive nights at a time with overlapping shifts to ensure on time completion of responsibilities.
- Night Shift Call: 5 p.m. to midnight for six consecutive nights
- Night Float Call: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. for six consecutive nights
- Frequency of Night Shift or Float (combined): R2 = five weeks per year, R3 = five weeks per year, R4 = seven weeks per year.
Evening Call: 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday
- Frequency: 12 per year
Approximately one week for each five-week Interventional Radiology rotation. A call room is provided in the Department of Radiology.
Each resident is given a $3,000 education allowance for the four-year residency. This stipend may be used for books, educational software, professional meetings and living expenses at the AIRP. An additional $1,000 per year is used to defray travel and lodging costs at the AIRP course.
First-year residents are not allowed to moonlight. Second-, third- and fourth-year residents may work up to 10 hours per week performing extra clinical service (evenings, weekends, holidays) at approved facilities. Moonlighting must not conflict with resident training or educational assigned time and must be approved by the Program Director. Third- and fourth-year residents may also take locum tenens jobs during vacation time. It is the responsibility of the resident to provide malpractice insurance during any locums.
In the Diagnostic Radiology Residency, all first-year residents are paid PGY-2 salaries regardless of previous experience. Traditionally, there has been a modest annual cost of living adjustment. It is a policy of Penn State University that paychecks be directly deposited.
What fellowships do your graduates do and where?
Our recent graduates have been accepted to fellowships of their choosing, including MSK, body Imaging, CVIR, Neuroradiology, Pediatric Radiology, Breast Imaging, and Nuclear Medicine.
Over the last last two years our residents have been accepted for fellowship at:
- Starting 2015-16: University of Wisconsin – BI, UC-San Francisco – BI, Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville – IR, University of Michigan – MSK, Penn State – MSK, Mammo, Neuro
- Starting 2014-15: Mayo Clinic Arizona – MSK, University of Utah – MSK, Nationwide Columbus Children’s Hospital – OSU – Peds, Penn State – Nucs, Neuro, BI, IR
Additionally, our residents have been accepted to fellowships at several institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, UCSF, Penn State University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Wisconsin, Brigham and Women’s University, Stanford, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin and University of Pittsburgh.
Do residents go to private practice or academics?
As is true in many residency programs, most of our graduates seek employment in a private-practice setting.
What percent of residents go into fellowship?
Almost all of our graduating residents in recent years have pursued a fellowship. There have been very few instances when someone has not, usually for financial reasons or military commitments.
Are there any major recent or pending changes in the program?
The Program Director and the Chairman of the Department of Radiology are new as of July 1, 2014. These were both planned transitions, and were not made in haste. Both the new program director and the new department chair have been at Penn State Health for years.
What does the selection committee look for in a resident?
We look for smart students, but as importantly, students we think would fit in well in the culture our program. Our program’s culture is one of kindness to others, respect of others, and humility. Self-motivation and perseverance are very attractive attributes as well. On interview day the great majority of what we are looking for is how the candidate interacts with the residents, staff and interviewer. The opinions of the residents about a particular candidate hold immense weight in the ranking process.
How many residents are accepted per year?
How late at night is attending coverage provided at Hershey?
An attending is in house until 10 p.m. each night (including weekends). A specialist attending in each area is available on beeper call at all times.
What do residents do for fun in Hershey?
Lots of things! Wing nights, happy hours, Troegs, plenty of great restaurants, HersheyPark, local concerts, golfing, kayaking, hiking and Hershey Bears (minor-league hockey team) games, to name a few.
Is there good camaraderie among residents?What housing options are available?
A variety of options ranging from on-campus apartments, to local rentals, to even the potential to buy a small house or condo.
What electronic resources are available?What type of call system is in place? Is there a night float?
Does Hershey provide an education allowance?
Does Hershey allow for moonlighting?
Are residents involved in teaching medical students?
Absolutely! Dr. Janet Neutze and Dr. Pamela Brian have diligently worked to put together a comprehensive and interactive curriculum for medical students rotating through radiology both from Penn State College of Medicine and from visiting medical schools. This curriculum consists of independent learning, didactic lectures from faculty, reading room time with the residents, and dedicated case reviews run by the residents themselves. Any more questions regarding the medical student rotation can be directed to Bev Ressler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What options are there to eat or drink at the hospital?
Multiple cafés, as well as Starbucks and Au Bon Pain.
Where do we park?
Parking at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is free for everyone. Parking includes a covered parking garage and multiple additional parking lots.
Are there funds to attend national conferences?
Every second-year resident attends a national conference. Chief residents attend two national conferences. Additionally, any resident presenting a paper or poster may also be funded.
Rotating residents are welcome in the radiology elective program as time and space permit. They should work with their chief residents to schedule available electives.
On or before the first day of the elective, they should contact the General Radiology Elective Coordinator to introduce themselves and to provide the coordinator with appropriate evaluation forms from their home department.
Elective time can be as long a standard medical student rotation block (four weeks).
Because of the nature of their responsibilities and involvement, grades will generally be pass/fail.
Applications to our training program are made through ERAS (Electronic Residency Application System).
Candidates for residencies are considered during their fourth year of medical school and (rarely) during or after their internship.
A personal interview is a requirement for admission. After initial selection of applicants, from their applications, we invite candidates to campus for interviews.
There are 24 resident positions (usually six per year), filled through the National Residency Matching Program.
The residency is a four-year program (PGY-II to PGY-V). All residents will need to complete a clinical year (PGY-I) of ACGME-approved training. This year must be accredited clinical training in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery or surgical specialties, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurology, Family Practice, Emergency Medicine, or any combination of these. This clinical year will usually be the first post-graduate year. No more than a total of three months may be spent in Radiology, Radiation Oncology and/or Pathology. All clinical training must be in an ACGME-approved program.
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Department of Radiology, H066
P.O. Box 850
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
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