Resident-Led Education Committee: Fostering Leaders and Impactful Change in Radiation Oncology Education

By Christina Phuong, MD; Lisa Ni, MD; Horatio R. Thomas, MD, MSc; Benjamin Li, MD, MBA; Jie Jane Chen, MD; Katie E. Lichter, MD; Steve E. Braunstein, MD, PhD; Sumi Sinha, MD

Radiation oncology training follows an apprenticeship model. However, radiation oncologists must eventually lead multidisci- plinary teams. Residency programs have focused on incorporating leadership training into their curricula to meet this need, and residents are often involved in peer-to-peer or near-peer teaching.1,2 Still, many have expressed interest in more teaching opportunities.3 At our institution, the desire to take a more active role to impact radiation oncology education resonated with a number of our residents.

With the support of departmental leadership, in 2020 we formed a resident-led Education Committee to increase engagement in medical education, scholarship, and leadership. Over the last 2 years of growth and development, we have established dedicated monthly meetings, created a leadership board, and established 4 core goals of the committee:

  1. Identify and address gaps in residency education.
  2. Implement sustainable educational initiatives across various interprofessional groups.
  3. Share ongoing projects within medical education to identify resources and invite collaboration.
  4. Cultivate future leaders in medical education.

To meet these goals, we have undertaken a host of interprofessional projects. The committee collaborated with departmental and institutional leadership to implement initiatives that address gaps identified in radiation oncology resident education and to refine existing curricula. For 2 years, the committee has co-hosted medical student summer interns in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and mentored a medical-student-led tumor board seminar series.4-6 The Education Committee also leads a monthly medical assistant radiation oncology curriculum in our department, which is undergoing multi-institutional expansion.7 Finally, committee meetings serve as a platform for structured discussion of the growing body of medical education literature during journal clubs and an opportunity to share and collaborate on ongoing education-related projects. The result has been a thriving education community with ever-growing interest in medical education.

The Education Committee has been instrumental in supporting both medical and physics residents with any degree of background in medical education and in turning ideas into structured projects. It has inspired confidence in residents to take on leadership roles, become involved in medical education opportunities outside of our institution, and present our work at conferences to influence the field of radiation oncology globally.

With the growing recognition that teaching and leadership training during residency are integral components of professional development for residents, this Education Committee has provided a unique opportunity to develop these skills.2 Taking part in this committee has empowered us to be pioneers of education — to refine, implement, and sustain initiatives across various facets of medical education, as well as to participate in education-related scholarship. The resulting wave of new educators continues to ripple through our program. We believe members will be empowered and equipped with the skills necessary to engage future generations and lead our field.


  1. Blumenthal DM, Bernard K, Bohnen J, Bohmer R. Addressing the leadership gap in medicine: residents’ need for systematic leadership development training. Acad Med. 2012;87(4):513-522. doi:10.1097/ACM.0B013E31824A0C47
  2. Berriochoa C, Amarnath S, Berry D, Koyfman SA, Suh JH, Tendulkar RD. Physician leadership development: a pilot program for radiation oncology residents.
  3. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2018;102(2):254-256. doi:10.1016/J.IJROBP.2018.05.073
  4. Ni L, Thomas HR, Raleigh DR, Boreta LC, Park CC, Braunstein SE. Residents-as-teachers curriculum for radiation oncology: a targeted needs assessment. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2021;111(3):638-642. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2021.06.024
  5. Arbab M, Holmes JA, Olivier KR, et al. Integrating radiation oncology into undergraduate medical education. Adv Radiat Oncol. 2021;6(6). doi:10.1016/J. ADRO.2021.100765
  6. Chen JJ, Lichter KE, Sinha S, et al. Pilot implementation of a multidisciplinary tumor board seminar series to foster increased understanding of and interest in oncologic care among medical students. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2022;114(1):e15-e16. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2022.06.031
  7. Reyes K, Wong P, Phuong C, et al. A targeted interest survey of preclinical medical students for implementation of exposure opportunities in multidisciplinary oncology education. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2022;114(1):e23. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2022.06.050
  8. Sinha S, Xu MJ, Yee E, Buckmeier T, Park C, Braunstein SE. Interprofessional education curriculum for medical assistants in radiation oncology: a single institution pilot program. Adv Radiat Oncol. 2021;6(6). doi:10.1016/J.ADRO.2021.100800


Phuong C, Ni L, Thomas HR, Li B, Chen JJ, Lichter KE, Braunstein SE, Sinha S. Resident-Led Education Committee: Fostering Leaders and Impactful Change in Radiation Oncology Education. Appl Radiat Oncol. 2022;(4):32-33.

December 23, 2022