Image of a patient inside of a scanner.

The Residency Program

Dr. Cooper, Program Director, in discussion with residents.

About the Program

The Department of Radiation Oncology is actively engaged in a number of research areas including evaluating the effects of tobacco and other health behaviors on cancer treatment outcomes as relating to:

implementing evidence-based tobacco cessation support for cancer patients, evaluating the effects of tobacco and cessation on clinical outcomes and quality of life, identifying critical biologic mechanisms of therapeutic resistance caused by tobacco and tobacco related products, and participating in influencing national and international tobacco control policy. OtResident and Patient discussionher departmental research efforts include investigating causes of racial disparities in cancer outcomes, especially as influenced by vitamin D levels. In addition, Department of Radiation Oncology faculty are developing immunologic methods to treat cancer, using vaccine-mediated approaches to induce specific anti-tumor immune responses in cancer patients. Significant collaborations exist between faculty in the Department of Radiation Oncology and investigators throughout Hollings Cancer Center and MUSC. Through this translational approach, significant opportunities are available for students, residents, and faculty to perform active prospective research to enhance patient treatment outcomes. 

As an integral part of the Hollings Cancer Center, the department provides radiation therapy in a high-tech, multidisciplinary environment. Physicians from all the pertinent specialties see and discuss patients at disease-specific clinics and tumor boards, which meet with a genuine esprit-de-corps providing a comprehensive approach to patient management. These multidisciplinary teams and tumor boards include Breast Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer, Thoracic Cancer, Hematological Cancers/Lymphoma, Gastrointestinal Cancer, Genitourinary Cancer, Neurologic Cancer, Pediatric Malignancies, Melanoma and Aggressive Skin Cancer, Sarcoma, and Gynecologic Cancer. Residents also gain rare and valuable insight into the late toxicity of radiotherapy by attending our Long-term Pediatric Oncology Survivor’s Clinic.

The Department endeavors to develop and promote the most modern treatment techniques. We have active programs in stereotactic radiosurgery with GammaKnife® Perfexion™, stereotactic body radiosurgery, fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy, total body irradiation for bone marrow transplant, Resident at Work Stationhigh- and low-dose rate brachytherapy including MammoSite®, Contura®, and Savi® applicators for partial breast irradiation and real-time intraoperative planning for prostate seed implants using QuinkLink® and Blu-Build® for constructing custom-built seed trains in the OR. We have a robust MR guided Gyn brachytherapy program with a high volume of locally advanced cervical cancer and complex interstitial brachytherapy cases as well as an eye plaque brachytherapy program. Residents also gain experience in the use of Ra-223 dichloride and Y-90 microspheres therapy. We have multiple approaches for delivering intensity modulated radiotherapy including Tomotherapy® and linac-based methods including volumetric-modulated arc therapy with three Varian TrueBeam™ linear accelerators. We have multiple solutions for motion management as well as intra-fraction monitoring.

We have the highest expectations for the performance of our resident physicians. We support this prospect with dedicated time each morning for didactic education. Our lecture series from 8 to 9 am each day (8 to 10am on Thursdays) rotates between formal didactic presentations by Radiation Oncology or guest faculty, resident-led reviews, Journal Club, Radiation Biology, Clinical Physics, and peer-review chart rounds. Dr. Harper and ResidentThis time is protected for the residents to ensure they receive the didactic education required of a well-rounded training program in Radiation Oncology. Resident research and training is supported financially as well, with book-funds and travel support for national and international meetings, in addition to elective rotations for research efforts. Each resident is supplied with a desktop computer and an iPad® to facilitate the educational process and manage patient care. Pagers for residents are currently being replaced with iPhones® provided by MUSC. Our department participates in the ERAS match program. Our ACGME ID number is 4304521092. Successful applicants for our resident training program will complete a clinical internship/preliminary year after medical school at an ACGME-approved program in Transitional Medicine, Internal Medicine, or General Surgery. The Department of Surgery at MUSC has put together an excellent preliminary year program specifically for interns interested in Radiation Oncology. Residents are expected to pass the USMLE part 3 and a background check during their internship year, before beginning their residency program in our department.

For more information on our resident training program, please contact:

Jeff Johnson, Program Coordinator
Department of Radiation Oncology
169 Ashley Ave
MSC 318
Charleston, SC 29425
Phone: 843.792.3273
Fax: 843.792.5498

Resident Salaries & Benefits

The most up-to-date information on current resident salaries and benefits can be found in the Graduate Medical Education Handbook.