• Vol. 40 No. 3, 126–131
  • 15 March 2011

American Diagnostic Radiology Residency and Fellowship Programmes



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American Diagnostic Radiology Residency and Fellowship programmes are Graduate Medical Education programmes in the United States (US) equivalent to the Postgraduate Medical Education programmes in Singapore. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited diagnostic radiology residency programmes require 5 years total with Post Graduate Year (PGY) 1 year internship in a clinical specialty, e.g. Internal Medicine following medical school. PGY Years 2 to 5 are the core years which must include Radiology Physics, Radiation Biology and rotations in 9 required subspecialty rotations: Abdominal, Breast, Cardiothoracic, Musculoskeletal, Neuroradiology, Nuclear and Paediatric Radiology, Obstetric & Vascular Ultrasound and Vascular Interventional Radiology. A core curriculum of lectures must be organised by the required 9 core subspecialty faculty. All residents (PGY 2 to 4) take a yearly American College of Radiology Diagnostic In-Training Examination based on national benchmarks of medical knowledge in each subspecialty. Because the American Board of Radiology (ABR) examinations are changing, until 2012, residents have to take 3 ABR examinations: (i) ABR physics examination in the PGY 2 to 3 years, (ii) a written examination at the start of the PGY 5 year and (iii) an oral exam at the end of the PGY 5 year. Beginning in 2013, there will be only 2 examinations: (i) the physics and written examinations after PGY 4 will become a combined core radiology examination. Beginning in 2015, the final certifying examination will be given 15 months after the completion of residency. After residency, ACGME fellowships in PGY 6 are all one-year optional programmes which focus on only one subspecialty discipline. There are 4 ACGME accredited fellowships which have a Board Certification Examination: Neuroradiology, Nuclear, Paediatric and Vascular Interventional Radiology. Some ACGME fellowships do not have a certifying examination: Abdominal, Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology and Musculoskeletal Radiology. One year unaccredited fellowships can also be taken in Breast, Cardiothoracic or Women’s Imaging.

American diagnostic radiology residency and fellowship programmes are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) with specific programme requirements written by the ACGME Diagnostic Radiology Residency Review Committee. In the past, these programmes were purely an apprenticeship model where the resident followed the attending radiologist and learned from clinical experience. Now each rotation typically includes 1 to 3 months of educational experience focused on only one specialty with a structured core curriculum of planned lectures that repeats every 2 years, a core set of expected clinical procedural experiences and interactive conferences. These Graduate Medical Education (GME) programmes are equivalent to the Postgraduate Medical Education Programmes in Singapore. In the United States, this training occurs after the medical student graduates and receives the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. There are 2 reasons why all American residency and most fellowship programmes are ACGME accredited. First, the hospital will be only be reimbursed for the resident’s salary through the US Federal Medicare Center for Medicare Services (CMS) payment system if they are in an accredited programme. Second, the resident is only eligible to take American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification examinations if he or she has completed an ACGME accredited programme.

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