Welcome from the Chief Residents
Greetings from the sweetest place on earth!
This is an exciting time to be a part of the Penn State Radiology Residency Program, and we welcome your interest in our training program and community. We are made up of a group of 30 diverse men and women who represent many different backgrounds, and we can't imagine a better place to live or better group of people to be rubbing shoulders with as we progress through our training.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus has been quoted as saying "The only constant is change." Whether this is a correct translation or not, the principle of change is certainly alive and well, both generally within the field of radiology as well as specifically within the radiology department here at Penn State.
One of the biggest changes we are taking part in has to do with the new board certification process being implemented by the American Board of Radiology. In prior years, residents examined in 3 different areas and at three different times during their residency, such that board certification was completed by the time of graduation. Those 3 examinations included a physics exam during the 2nd year, a computerized ‘written' exam at the beginning of the 4th year, and lastly an oral examination at the conclusion of the 4th year. The new board examination format now includes a computerized ‘core' examination at the conclusion of the 3rd year which is focused broadly across all of radiology, including not only diagnostic imaging but also physics and safety principles. This will then be followed by a ‘certifying' examination to take place 15 months after completion of the residency program (3 month after fellowship for those pursuing that additional year of training) and will focus on several imaging disciplines as chosen by the examinee and will be a more in-depth examination.
This change in the board certification process has allowed a significant revision in the 4th year curriculum. Here at Penn State, we have been given the opportunity to select 3 disciplines of our choice in which to spend 3 months of in-depth exposure, not only in the reading room, but also alongside our clinical colleagues as they see and evaluate patients on the wards, in their outpatient clinics, and in the operating room. This provides a great educational opportunity for us, allows for increased quality interactions with the clinicians, and also gives us the opportunity to share our expertise in imaging and how it affects patient care. Although we are still early on in the implementation process, this new curriculum change has been overwhelmingly positive for all parties involved, and we feel we are becoming more effective clinical radiologists in the process. The last 3-month block of our 4th year is spent fulfilling requirements in nuclear medicine and breast imaging as well as a dedicated month of image-guided procedures (including biopsies, drainages, injections, aspirations, etc.).
The way we are educated is also an area of constant change, and we are privileged to work with over 40 extremely dedicated faculty members who truly enjoy the teaching aspect of their careers and are constantly striving to improve our educational experience. Beginning in July 2013, the program is implementing a new educational model wherein each resident is provided a personal electronic tablet with the goal of utilizing these devices during conferences as a means of increased and more efficient audience participation. In addition, the program has purchased electronic licenses for several radiology textbooks, allowing us to keep the educational resources we need in one easily portable and compact device. This investment by the department is just one small example of the importance placed on education. This is also made evident in the number of large- and small-group conferences that occur on a daily basis in the department, not to mention the outstanding teaching that occurs in every reading room as residents review their cases with these dedicated faculty members.
The community in which we live and work is located in the beautiful central Pennsylvania region, and we encourage you to learn more about this wonderful community as you explore your interest in this program. One of the quick links on the main radiology residency program webpage is titled "About Hershey, PA" and will help you get some idea of what this community is all about.
Despite our relatively rural surrounding, several of our residents have been actively involved on the national stage. Most recently, Dr. Victor Longo, one of our current 3rd-year residents, was awarded the Bronze Medal for his electronic exhibit on elbow instability at the 2013 annual ARRS meeting in Washington, D.C. Dr. Cristy Gustas, one of our recent graduates, gave an oral podium presentation on her research on contrast reaction education at the annual AUR meeting in Los Angeles, CA earlier this year. Also at the AUR meeting, the representatives from the Penn State Department of Radiology took 1st place in the 10th Annual Philips Vydareny Imaging Interpretation, and we're now looking forward to presenting the 11th annual competition next year in Baltimore.
Despite the changes that come, this department continues to thrive and is filled with quality physicians, technologists, nurses, and other support staff who make this residency process a truly enjoyable and formative experience.
Again, we welcome your interest in our training program and would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the program itself or the community of Hershey.
Justin Bigger, MD
Jonathan Enterline, MD