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Changing curriculum provides clearer picture of radiology

Published: July 11, 2017 By: Jesef Williams
Daniel A. Siragusa, M.D.
Paul L. Wasserman, D.O.

Radiology department to offer more options for incoming trainees

Medical school graduates interested in interventional radiology will soon be able to take advantage of a revamped training program at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

The department of radiology is eliminating its vascular and interventional radiology fellowship program and introducing a more dynamic residency program that gives trainees added flexibility. Incoming residents will select one of two tracks: diagnostic radiology or interventional radiology. The diagnostic portion of the existing residency program will essentially remain unchanged, while the latter will reflect key advances made in radiological techniques over the last several years.

Going from a fellowship to a residency program means interventional radiology is being recognized as its own distinct specialty, and no longer a subspecialty, said Paul Wasserman, DO, an assistant professor and interim chair of radiology. The new program, which will take residents six years to complete, is set to welcome its first group of trainees in July 2018. Meanwhile, established trainees will continue in their current programs, unaltered, through completion.

“There’s a need for more than one year of dedicated IR training,” said Wasserman, who directs the current diagnostic radiology program. “The procedures are more complex now.”

Interventional radiologists ushered in the use of modern, minimally invasive procedures. The type of procedures covered in the new IR residency program will include aortic stent graphs, various oncological procedures and stroke interventions.

Largely, diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology go hand-in-hand. One is used to highlight a problem, and the other to fix it.

Daniel Siragusa, MD, a professor of radiology and director of the vascular and interventional radiology fellowship program, was instrumental in getting IR recognized as its own specialty across the country. He was part of a national committee that discussed the merits and helped champion the need.

In 2013, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recognized it as a distinct specialty. Siragusa said the revamping has been discussed at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville over the past two or three years.

“It’s great to see the fruits of our labor and see the radiology community — and the medical community at large — recognize the benefits of this new training pathway,” Siragusa said. “It’s wonderful.”

Wasserman said the revamped program makes practical sense for residents, as it will be more hands-on and, overall, will better prepare them for practice.

“This is more of a dedicated program,” Wasserman said. “They’re spending more time in interventional radiology. That’s the bottom line, and that’s going to make them much better physicians.”


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