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Radiation Oncology

The Radiation Oncology Department at Tufts Medical Center is a multifaceted department. Our staff members are compassionate and devoted to training the next generation of physicians.  Students work by the side with world renowned physicians, scientists and technologists.  This one-on-one experience yields valuable insight into the unique and exciting world of the radiation oncology specialty.  Our students play an integral role in our department and are considered team members with exceptional value.

Affiliate Hospitals:

Tufts Medical Center and Rhode Island Hospital

Teaching Activities:

Students in their 1st and 2nd years of medical school can shadow our attending physicians by choosing a Selective Rotation in Radiation Oncology. Research opportunities are available for 1st and 2nd year medical students.

The Department of Radiation Oncology accepts 3rd and 4th year medical students for electives.


Students are strongly encouraged to participate in a clerkship in Radiation Oncology. The Department of Radiation Oncology has world-renowned physicians willing to provide clinical training with direct supervision as well as student mentorship.  During their rotation students will have the option of spending a few days visiting the affiliated Rhode Island Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology in Providence.

Students are expected to learn and gain exposure to numerous aspects of Radiation Oncology including:

  • The basic principles of radiation oncology, radiobiology, medical physics and radiation safety.
  • The importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the management of patients with cancer.
  • Students will learn how to perform comprehensive physical exams while improving their clinical skills by compiling pertinent data for patient histories and notes.
  • Students gain exposure to advanced technological treatments.  Some of these treatments include intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery, brachytherapy and high-dose remote afterloading brachytherapy.
  • In addition, students will learn how to treat the entire patient being mindful of psychological as well as physical needs. He/She will develop this skill through the collaboration of the entire patient care team, which includes radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiology technologists, nurses, social workers and nutritionists.

Goals for medical students during their rotation include:

Prostate: See a new patient consult, see a follow-up patient, review an IMRT plan and contour a prostate.

Breast: See a new consult, see a follow-up patient, view a breast simulation, work on a breast treatment plan and attend Breast Tumor Board.

GYN: See a new GYN patient, see a vaginal cylinder simulation/treatment, HDR planning and physics, attend OR to place Tandem and Ovoid, attend GYN clinic.

Lung: See a new consult, see a follow-up patient, view a lung simulation, work on a lung 3D conformal or stereotactic treatment plan and attend Lung Tumor Board.

GI: See a new consult, see a follow-up patient, view a GI simulation, work on a GI treatment plan and attend GI Tumor Board.

Head and Neck: See a new consult, see a follow-up patient, view a head and neck simulation, work on a head and neck IMRT plan and attend head and neck Tumor Board.

CNS: See a new patient with CNS disease, see a whole brain simulation, work on a plan for WBRT and see a Gammaknife or Cyberknife case.

Palliative: See a new patient, understand the unique needs and goals for these patients, and work on a palliative treatment plan.

Miscellaneous: Attend didactic lectures in medical physics, clinical radiation oncology, grand rounds, chart rounds, teaching rounds and may rotate to affiliated teaching institutes such as Rhode Island Hospital.


The Radiation Oncology Department at Tufts is the first academic department established in Boston and one of the oldest in the Nation. The residency program is of four years duration (preceded by at least one year of approved internship) and is accredited by the ACGME. The program fulfills the requirements for certification by the American Board of Radiology in Radiation Oncology. Applicants are accepted through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP at only. There are currently seven residency positions, with anywhere from one to three positions open in any given year. We receive approximately two hundred applications each year for residency training at Tufts.

Clinical training is divided into three-month blocks with rotations at Tufts Medical Center and Rhode Island Hospital.  Residents receive an introductory course in physics upon arrival.  Thereafter, formal courses in medical physics, biostatistics, and radiation and cancer biology are ongoing throughout the academic year.


There are numerous opportunities for medical student research within the Department of Radiation Oncology including both laboratory and clinical research.

Broadly, the laboratory has expertise in radiobiology and cell and molecular biology.  Specific interests include the effect of growth factor signalling on radiosensitivty, breast cancer tumorigenesis, stromal effects of cancer progression, cell cycle regulation and response of cancer stem cells to radiation.  The laboratory research division is located approximately one and a half blocks from the clinical department at 75 Kneeland Street, Boston, MA.

Medical student clinical research projects span from retrospective chart review, to inclusion in the development of investigator-initiated clinical trials.  The medical physics department has an active research program that provides opportunities for medical students to lead an independent project in treatment planning, dosimetry, imaging, and radiobiological calculations.

David Wazer, MD
Professor and Chair