About the Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program

A particularly unique aspect of our program is the collegiality and sense of community that exists between residents, fellows and attendings.  In a place as renowned as UCSF, it's great to know that your attendings are always there for you, even if it's just to give a local restaurant recommendation!"

Sara Plett, MD. Residency Class of 2015.

About the Program

The practice and language of radiology is new to incoming residents, even those who have had significant research experience in radiology or in-depth clinical training during the PGY-1 year.  As such, the majority of the PGY-2 year is spent rotating through core imaging services, including thoracic imaging, abdominal imaging, neuroradiology, ultrasound and musculoskeletal imaging at UCSF and affiliated hospitals.  This broad preparation serves as the foundation for the resident call experience which commences in the PGY-3 year.

After satisfying departmental and specialty-level requirements (such as the 16 weeks of nuclear medicine and 12 weeks of mammography mandated by the American Board of Radiology), residents are given considerable flexibility to structure and customize their learning experiences to suit their own career goals.  Residents typically have up to 12 months of elective time and may choose to have a focused experience in a clinical field or in an area of research interest.

Clinical Education

The faculty in the Department of Radiology are internationally recognized for their clinical expertise and research accomplishments. Even more importantly, our faculty members are highly skilled educators and are committed to resident education.

Faculty members deliver conferences at morning and noon every day at UCSF Medical Center.  Residents attend these lectures in person or via a recently upgraded videoconferencing system accessible from videoconferencing suites at each hospital or on residents' laptops and tablets.  Educational conferences range from didactic lectures to case-based conferences and are designed to broadly prepare residents for clinical practice and to pass the American Board of Radiology's CORE exam.

Additional first year introductory conferences are provided by the faculty during the PGY-2 year to further prepare residents for overnight call.  Hideyo Minago, M.D., one of the department's best-loved teachers and an expert in plain film interpretation, regularly holds short teaching sessions at SFGH.

Invited speakers from around the country give Grand Rounds at various times during the year. This lecture series provides UCSF residents an opportunity to interact with well-known and respected faculty members from other institutions.  In addition, senior residents invite the speaker of their choice for a visiting professorship each year.  This offers the residents a chance to learn from a renowned radiologist in an informal setting, rounding out their educational experience in the manner they feel most appropriate.

A journal club is conducted with each section's lectures to help residents read literature critically. Each journal club meeting focuses on one or two significant papers. The meetings are conducted by two faculty members with training and expertise in epidemiology and research design.

All third year residents are excused from their rotations so that they may attend the UCSF Resident Review Course, which is held every year in San Francisco and is now the largest such course in the country.

UCSF offers an expansive array of digital teaching media, including an electronic teaching file with nearly 70,000 unique and interesting cases (as of May, 2013), as well as a CORE website that presents the imaging features of a wide variety of diseases in a manner that facilitates preparation for board certification exams.  There is also a traditional library containing a large collection of reference texts and videos available for checkout.

Research Opportunities

Research is an important but very flexible component of our residency program, with most residents scheduling 1 to 6 months of dedicated research time during the four years of training.  Residents may choose to devote up to 12 months of research without extending the length of residency.  For further information, please see the research page.

"I wanted to join a residency program that provided outstanding clinical training but also promoted advanced imaging research.  At UCSF, I was to complete a full year of cutting edge research without extending the length of residency.  As a result, I have the confidence and preparation needed to pursue a successful career as a radiologist-investigator."
-- Victor Sai, MD. Residency Class of 2013

The UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, like the other research-oriented academic radiology departments in the country, has recognized that research is vital for the continued success and future development of our field.  Our department currently ranks second in National Institutes of Health (2011) funding among diagnostic radiology programs. 

UCSF invests in the future of radiology by incorporating research into the residency program, in the hope that we will train exceptional radiologists who are actively engaged in research and education and savvy consumers of medical literature.  Most UCSF radiology residents perform research at some point during their residency.

The hallmark of our program is flexibility, and residents may choose to spend from 1 to 12 months of elective time engaging in research without increasing the length of residency.  The program will fund resident travel to national meetings to present their work, while also providing other means of support such as equipment and grant funding."

There are many active radiology research programs in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, ranging from purely clinical to basic science. There are numerous faculty members who engage in innovative clinical research or run activie research laboratories, and residents are welcome to participate in any of these efforts.  Learn more about the diverse research laboratories at the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging.

Call Responsibilities

Radiology resident call begins in July of the PGY-3 year, with residents stationed in-house at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) as well as UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus.  After hours radiology studies at VA Medical Center and UCSF Mt. Zion facilties are remotely interpreted by the resident at the Parnassus facility. In-house call will involve a night-float system with the majority of call front-loaded into the 2nd year of residency so that residents can develop early expertise and confidence with independent interpretative responsibility.  All in-house residents have continuous expert backup by subspecialist attendings that are available at all hours for consultation via teleradiology.  There is an additional backup call pool in which residents are available by pager to cover emergency interventional radiology, MRI and ultrasound studies at SFGH.  Call frequency decreases during the PGY-4 and PGY-5 years and the period leading up to the CORE exam is call free.

Benefits

The UCSF diagnostic radiology residency has several unique benefits:

  • The Margulis Society, named for our former chairman, Alexander Margulis, MD, is an alumni society dedicated to the radiology residency. The Margulis Society awards resident research grants and accolades, donates educational materials to the department, and funds the radiology-pathology course at the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology (AIRP). The Margulis Society pays the AIRP tuition and provides the resident with more money to defray the costs of travel and housing.
  • All residents receive a laptop (choice of Mac or Lenovo) on their first day of residency free of charge from the department.
  • An educational fund of $5000 is provided to each resident over 4 years and can be used for books, computer hardware, software, or any other residency-related expense.
  • Separately, the department funds resident travel to conferences at which they are presenting their research.
  • The department covers the expense of the American Board of Radiology registration and CORE examination fee.
  • The Medical Center also provides medical, dental and vision insurance to all residents and their spouses/domestic partners and children.  You may choose either an HMO (HealthNet) medical insurance plan which is free of charge or a PPO (Blue Cross) medical plan which is $30/single, $60/plus adult or $90/family per month. 
  • Yearly housing stipend to offset the increased cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In addition to the above, there are internal moonlighting opportunities that pay at least $75/hour for a radiologist to be present for contrast injections, primarily for MRI.  The shifts offer plenty of quiet time for studying or calling friends, since moonlighting residents are not required to obtain IV access or perform the injections, but they do evaluate patients in the unusual ciricumstance of an adverse contrast reaction.

The residents also enjoy use of their own website, the Residents' Corner. This website was conceived and constructed by a radiology resident in 1999 and continues to be managed by residents with radiology departmental support. The resident website provides efficent communication for all residents and contains links to educational resources, schedules and various guides.

Radiology residents may attend UCSF continuing medical education (CME) conferences free of registration charge.  The department has the most active CME program of any radiology department in the United States, with approximately 25 courses a year at locations around the world -- including Hawaii, Europe, Southern Africa and Australia.

After Residency

In recent years, all of our graduating residents have entered fellowship programs of their choice, with most electing to stay at UCSF for subspecialty training. Alumni from our program can be found in a wide variety of academic and private practices throughout the country.  Most maintain strong ties to UCSF and its trainees, either through The Margulis Society or the deep professional and personal relationships that develop during training.