+ Department History

The Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences (RMAS) was founded in 2006 with the recruitment of Dr. Arno J. Mundt from the University of Chicago, an internationally-recognized academic radiation oncologist and educator, as the founding Chair. Prior to 2006, Radiation Oncology was a small Division within the Department of Radiology with a limited clinic in the basement of the Hillcrest Medical Center.

Initially known as the Department of Radiation Oncology, the Department quickly entered a phase of rapid growth and expansion of its faculty, patient volumes, treatment facilities and personnel. In 2010, the Department was renamed the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences (RMAS), reflecting its dual roles as a clinical and research Department. At that time, it transitioned from a Hospital Department to a full Department with the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Today, the RMAS Department is the predominant provider of Radiation Oncology services in the region with over 5000 new patients seen annually, expanded facilities in La Jolla and throughout the San Diego region, and a faculty of over 60 members recruited from prestigious academic centers throughout the country. It is home to two growing residency training programs in Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, as well as the new Center for Translational Medicine and Imaging located in the Altman Clinical & Translational Research Institute (CTRI) on the La Jolla campus.

+ Organizational Structure

The RMAS Department is comprised of 3 Divisions: Clinical Radiation Oncology (CRO), Clinical & Translational Research (CTR), and Medical Physics & Technology (MPT). Together with the Department Chair, the 3 Divisions Directors form the Chair & Division Director’s Committee, the Executive Governing Body of the Department. To increase the diversity and number of faculty involved in the governance of the Department, the RMAS Council was established in 2016 as an Advisory Board to the Chair. It is comprised of the Vice-Chairs, Assistant Vice-Chairs, Division Directors and two annually elected junior faculty. In total, there are 3 Vice-Chairs (Strategy & Business Development, Administration & Finance and Medical Physics & Technology) and 4 Assistant Vice-Chairs (Education, Clinical, VA Affairs and Diversity).

Clinical Radiation Oncology (CRO) Division The CRO Division includes all clinical Radiation Oncology physicians in the Department, at the main center and satellites. The current CRO Division Director is Parag Sanghvi MD.

Division leadership consists of the Division Director and Medical Directors of each treatment facilities (La Jolla, Encinitas, 4S Ranch, South Bay, and the Proton Center), Section Chiefs (CNS, Head/Neck/Skin, Lung, Breast, Hematologic, GI, GU, GYN, Pediatrics, and Sarcoma/Bone), Liaison Directors (Kaiser, VA, Rady Children’s Hospital, Proton Therapy Center and CCARE) and the Residency Program Director (Medical Residency).

The Medical Directors oversee clinical operations at each treatment center. The Liaison Directors are in charge of relationships with various groups/contracts. The Section Chiefs are the primary physician overseeing a particular disease site and define the Procedures/Guidelines of its treatment. The Residency Program Director and Associate Director oversee the Radiation Oncology (Medical) Residency. A Medical Student Education Director is in charge of medical student rotations and educational programs. A Global Health Section is currently under development.

Clinical & Translational Research (CTR) Division The CTR Division consists of all research Radiation Oncology physicians in the Department. Its leadership is comprised of the Division Director and 4 Associate Division Directors (Imaging Research, Outcomes Research, Clinical Trials, and Basic Science). The current CTR Division Director if Loren Mell MD.

Medical Physics & Technology Division The Division of Medical Physics and Technology (MPT) is comprised of all Medical Physicists (both clinical and research) in the Department. Division leadership consists of a Deputy Director (who also serves as Associate Director for Technology Research), and 5 Associate Directors (Quality, External Beam, Brachytherapy & Regulatory, Education & Training and Satellites). The current MPT Division Director is Todd Pawlicki PhD.

The Department has a number of Standing Committees including:

Department Committees
Chair & Division Directors RMAS Council Merits/Promotions
Education/Training Quality/Safety Clinical Operations
La Jolla Clin Ops/QA Encinitas Clin Ops/QA 4S Ranch Clin Ops/QA
South Bay Clin Ops/QA Proton Clin Ops/QA Business Development
Faculty Climate Grand Rounds Standards/Guidelines
Program Evaluation Clinical Competency Curriculum Committee
Women’s Academic MD Compensation Communications
Proton Oversight Kaiser Oversight New Regional Centers
Regional Centers Oversight Economics/Finance Philanthropy

+ Education & Training

The Department has a strong commitment to Education and Training, offering programs ranging from Clinical Rotations for Medical Students to Training Programs for the practicing clinicians. UCSD has two accredited Residency Programs, in Radiation Oncology and in Medical Physics. The Radiation Oncology Residency was launched in 2010 with 1 resident per year (4 total residents). However, the program was quickly enlarged to 2 residents/year (8 total) in 2012 and, most recently, to 3 residents/year (12 total) in 2014, making UCSD larger than the majority of programs in the country. The Medical Physics residency was launched in 2007 with 1 resident/year (2 total) and increased to 2 residents/year (4 total) in 2016.

Both Residency Programs offer novel didactics including lectures focused on the Business of Radiation Oncology, Boards Reviews and Medical Spanish for the Radiation Oncologist. Each rotation is followed by written and oral examinations preparing the resident for their Boards Exams. Both programs offer residents the opportunity to rotate internationally (recent residents have opted for rotations in Thailand, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Italy). The Radiation Oncology residency is one of the few in the country to ensure a full year of protected research. Both programs have enjoyed a high degree of success in job placements, both in academia (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, UT Southwestern, Vanderbilt, University of Utah, University of Maryland, among others).

+ Research

The RMAS Department has a strong focus on Research. The Research Administration is located within the Center of Translational Radiation Medicine and Imaging (CTRMI) in the Altman Clinical Translational Research Institute (CTRI). Under the Direction of Loren Mell MD (Director) and Kevin Moore PhD (Deputy Director), the Center is the focus of the academic research activities of the Department with multiple Faculty Laboratories. Research programs include Health Outcomes, Imaging, Technology, Clinical Trials, and Basic Science.

RMAS research faculty have been awarded multiple grants from the NIH, NCI and other organizations. Faculty have presented their work at prestigious national and international meetings including the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Association for Medical Physics (AAPM) and the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) among others and have published in a wide variety of medical and oncology journals, including the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), Journal National Cancer Institute (JNCI), Lancet Oncology, among others.