NYMC Faculty Publications

Education Case Report: CAMPEP Medical Physics Phd Education Program Within Engineering

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Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics

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Radiation Medicine


Medical physics doctoral programs have large variations in organization, administration and financing. Blending a medical physics stream into an engineering graduate program has advantages of pre-existing financial and educational infrastructures. A case study of the accredited program at Dartmouth was carried out, analyzing operational, financial, educational and outcome features. The support structures provided by each institutional partner were outlined, including engineering school, graduate school, and radiation oncology. The initiatives undertaken by founding faculty were reviewed, along with allocated resources, financial model, and peripheral entrepreneurship activities, each with quantitative outcome metrics. Currently 14 PhD students are enrolled, supported by 22 faculty across both engineering and clinical departments. The total peer-reviewed publications are ≈75/year, while the conventional medical physics fraction of this is about 14/year. Following program formation, a significant rise was seen in jointly published papers between engineering and medical physics faculty, up from 5.6 to 13.3 papers/year, with students publishing an average of 11.3/person with 5.7/person as first author. Student support was predominantly via federal grants, with a stable $5.5million/year, using about $610K/year supporting student stipends and tuition. First year funding, recruiting and staff support were via engineering school. Faculty teaching effort was supported by agreement with each home department, and student services were provided by engineering and graduate schools. Student outcomes were exceptional, with high numbers of presentations, awards, and residency placements at research universities. The lack of financial and student support in medical physics can be mitigated by this hybrid design of blending medical physics doctoral students into an engineering graduate program, providing complementary strengths. Future growth in medical physics programs might consider following this pathway, strengthening research collaborations for clinical physics and engineering faculty, as long as there is vested commitment to teach by the faculty and department leadership.