CAMPEP Physics Residency

The NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program educates and trains radiation oncology physicists to be skillful in the practice of radiation oncology physics and to be caring and compassionate in the treatment of patients.

The training is aimed to develop clinical expertise in routine and special procedure brachytherapy and external beam treatments, stereotactic and body stereotactic procedures, respiratory gating, and intraoperative radiotherapy.

Training is accomplished through direct mentorship and didactic instructions in the areas of clinical radiation oncology physics and safety, treatment planning, clinical radiation oncology, and radiobiology. Upon completion of Year One research, the resident begins two (2) year-long clinical rotations.

In 2013, the Medical Physics Residency Program of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs, Inc. (CAMPEP)

Program Overview

NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center is a three-year program with one year of Research along with the two-year CAMPEP-accredited medical physicist residency program. Residents must fulfill four of the six core CAMPEP-accredited courses before the start of the 2-year program approved by The Commission on the Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) and the American Board of Radiology (ABR).

  • Year 1 is focused on Research and completing any appropriate core CAMPEP-accredited courses required to begin the residency program.
  • Year 2 is focused on routine dosimetry, three-dimensional treatment planning, treatment verification, and delivery for external beam and brachytherapy.
  • Year 3 is focused on medical physics special procedures, including stereotactic radiosurgery and body stereotactic radiotherapy, image-guided radiation therapy, respiratory gating, high dose rate brachytherapy, intraoperative radiotherapy, and administrative/professional topics.

Didactic lectures will be given in radiation physics, radiation safety and protection, dosimetry, imaging and nuclear medicine physics, clinical radiation oncology, cancer biology, and radiation biology. Direct faculty mentoring will occur on all semester rotations, physics special procedures, conferences (both departmental and interdepartmental), tumor boards, and research projects.

Current Residents

  • Olga Maria Dona Lemus, PhD

    Olga Maria Dona Lemus, PhD
  • Feng Li Fiona Li, PhD

    Feng Li Fiona Li, PhD

Physics Resident Responsibilities

Research Goals for Physics Residents

This is a three (3) year certificate program. Research is involved during year 1 and it is housed within the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

The "First Year Preparation" of the training program is focused on research and preparatory materials for the clinical training of the following two years. The work area of the medical physics residents is next to the clinical area of radiation oncology. Therefore, the physics residents are immersed in the clinical environment from day one and are able to observe the operation; learn the hardware and software tools used in clinical medical physics for one year before they officially start their clinical training in years 2 and 3. The first year program includes:

  • Orientations: Each resident attends the general orientation of the medical college upon being hired. This includes lab safety, patient confidentiality, and general policies of NYPH. The Radiation Oncology Department also arranges different rotations for each resident during the first year.
  • Research: Each first-year resident is assigned a clinically related research/development project, which requires the resident to generate radiotherapy treatment plans using the treatment planning systems and/or perform radiation measurements on the treatment machine using various dosimeters. One or two faculty physicists are appointed as the mentors to supervise the progress of the assigned research project.
  • Meetings: The first-year residents are required to attend the physics/dosimetry meetings and the monthly journal club to get familiar with the operation and development of clinical medical physics. The presenter of each journal club usually summarizes 2-3 papers of the selected topic in clinical medical physics. Each resident is required to present at the journal club twice per year. During the second year, additional requirements include patient chart checks and reviews.

Clinical Care Responsibilities

The physics resident will be familiar with all policies that concern radiation delivery and radiation safety. Physics residents will design or assist to design treatment plans depending upon their level. The physics resident will review the documentation of all patients planned for treatment and perform hand calculations supporting the treatment plan. The resident will then perform additional quality assurance procedures under supervision as required, depending on the level of competence attained.

The physics resident along with the faculty or staff physicist will be present for initial setup and treatment for special procedures requiring a physicist to be present. The physics resident will check all patient and plan documentation with final approval of the physics faculty. The resident will participate in the weekly Chart Rounds/New On-Treatment Patient conference, at the beginning of Year 2.

If involved in a Brachytherapy patient case, the physics resident will participate with the appropriate faculty or staff physicist for the loading and unloading of the isotopes. Also, they must review the appropriate documentation.

Physics residents will not be expected to work more than 80 hours in any one week.

Clinical Curriculum Responsibilities

The resident will be required to be involved in the direct patient management of all patient types and disease categories listed in the Clinical Competency Categories. Currently, over 100 specific patient categories of planning and delivery are specified.

Physics residents are required to enter all patients simulated, planned, calculated, verified and/or treated into the Typhon Group Resident Data Base System. These logs will be evaluated by the program director at least every six (6) months. Good records of all procedures should be entered, including resident name, date, mentor name, time with mentor, time spent on procedure, and approval of the competency.

Physics residents are expected to attend all conferences when feasible. Minimum numbers of attendance for each conference are specified in the Typhon Group Residency Management Tool. Physics residents are required to attend all didactic lectures and record attendance in the Typhon Group Software.

Residents are asked to complete an evaluation on each faculty mentor at the end of each quarterly rotation. Also, the resident will be asked to complete an evaluation of the previous quarter’s rotation. These evaluations become part of the permanent program record in the Typhon Group Database.

Competency Categories covered in the 24-month long clinical rotation are:

  1. Treatment Equipment (Teletherapy)
  2. CT Simulator
  3. Dosimetric Equipment
  4. Treatment Planning
  5. Treatment aids
  6. Total Body Irradiation
  8. Stereotactic Radiosurgery/Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy
  9. Patient Dose Calculations
  10. Brachytherapy (conventional low dose rate and high dose rate)
  11. Thermolescent Dosimetry
  12. Quality Assurance Program
  13. Licensing/Accreditations/Protocols

An oral examination will be conducted by the Program Director at the end of each rotation to assess and confirm resident’s knowledge base. At the end of the 24-month clinical rotations, the resident is required to demonstrate clinical competency in all clinical training rotations, including presentation on an assigned topic.

Program Resources


Clinical Equipment

Equipment at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia and Cornell Campuses) includes:

  • Six Varian Linear Accelerators
  • Two Siemens Artiste Linear Accelerator
  • Two Truebeam
  • One IX
  • One 2100CD
  • One Trilogy
  • One Gamma Knife Perfexion
  • Two GE 16-slice CT-Simulator
  • Thirty-five Pinnacle treatment planning stations and the MOSAIQ information management system
  • Two Varian HDR Unit
  • An array of LDR brachytherapy sources

Physics Equipment

  • Two IBA Blue Phantom – 3D water phantom system scanner
  • Six Farmer chambers / electrometers
  • Variety of test phantoms

Applying to the Program

Application and Selection

All prospective candidates will be directed to: AAPM Medical Physics Matching Program

The application and supporting materials are forwarded to the Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program Administrator. When an application is considered complete (including letters of recommendation and transcripts of graduate school work) by the Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program Administrator, it is forwarded to the Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Director and members of the Candidate Selection Sub-Committee for review. The Medical Physics Residency Training Committee reviews and grades all applications which are then discussed in a special meeting to finalize the ratings for interview. Scores are averaged to allow for the selection of three to four top candidates for interview. These selected candidates are invited, on their own expense, for an interview at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

At the completion of the interview process, the Medical Physics Residency Training Committee meets to decide on offers. Positions are only offered to the top candidate(s). The current residents have the opportunities to voice their opinions in the selection process of a new resident. The candidate is given an “acceptance by” date. When the position is filled, the remaining candidates are notified. Upon acceptance, recommendation is forwarded to the Department Chair who reviews the material and issues the official commitment.

The interview process is performed in accordance with the equal opportunity standards of both Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian.