Nuclear Medicine

The fellowship program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania provides comprehensive experience in all aspects of Nuclear Medicine, including both diagnostic and therapeutic applications of radionuclides. Fellows receive instruction in theoretical and practical aspects of the field, including relevant basic sciences.

The fellowship includes clinical training in general adult nuclear medicine, pediatric nuclear medicine, nuclear cardiology and positron emission tomography, as well as instruction in medical nuclear physics, radiation biology, radiation protection, instrumentation, radiopharmaceutical chemistry, and statistics. Past fellows have gone on to excellent staff positions in both clinical and academic programs. The department is widely regarded as one of the best in the United States and participates in a wide range of research activities in which fellows are required to participate. The program meets all of the training requirements recommended by the American Board of Nuclear Medicine.

The principal objectives of the Nuclear Medicine Fellowship program are:

  • To teach the safe handling and use of unsealed radioactive preparations for medical purposes.
  • To teach the technical skills required to effectively diagnose and treat patients with radiotracer preparations.
  • To teach trainees a system of self-learning that will allow them to continuously adapt to a constantly changing field of medical science. To prepare the trainees for successful careers in both academic medicine and clinical practice.

Conferences

The didactic teaching component of the fellowship program includes daily Nuclear Medicine Morning Conferences, which features lectures on clinical nuclear medicine, radiopharmaceutical sciences, physics and instrumentation, PET, computers and journal clubs. Fellows also attend the Nuclear Medicine 210 Course, which is a month long didactic given each year in January. It includes 6-7 hour lectures a day for four weeks, and fellows are cleared of clinical responsibilities during the period of this course. Basic sciences (physics and instrumentation, radiopharmaceutical chemistry, radiation biology, radiation protection, and statistics) are heavily emphasized in this course. Clinical topics are also discussed.

Teaching during clinical rotations includes close supervision by the attending staff. Throughout the day, nuclear medicine examinations are reviewed by the staff physicians and discussed with the trainees. These sessions provide a good opportunity for the trainees to utilize the knowledge they have gained in the classroom. The nuclear medicine trainees take the primary responsibility for performing the required examination including interviewing the patients, quality control and reviewing and dictating results.

Clinical Rotations

There are 5 different monthly rotations for the fellows: cardiac nuclear medicine (HUP), general nuclear medicine (HUP), pediatric nuclear medicine (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), non-imaging procedures and general nuclear medicine (Veterans Affairs Medical Center), and general nuclear medicine (Presbyterian Medical Center). During a training period of 1 year in nuclear medicine, each fellow spends 6-12 weeks in each of these rotations. In addition, while at HUP, trainees participate in the PET Center activities including patient interviewing and image interpretation. Plans are underway to make certain that trainees are adequately exposed to treatment procedures with monoclonal antibodies for lymphomas and possibly other cancers. Extensive training is provided during Course 210 and morning conferences with regard to physics, dosimetry, radiobiology and radiation safety related to therapeutic application in nuclear medicine. With the introduction of radioimmunotherapy to daily practice of nuclear medicine at HUP, a heavy emphasis is placed on this important aspect of the field.

The program is structured so that the trainee's responsibilities increase progressively throughout the fellowship. During the first 6 months of training, trainees are more closely supervised, but they are progressively allowed more responsibility for the remainder of the program. The program also is sufficiently flexible so that trainees with varied backgrounds can adjust to the rigorous educational activities provided. Trainees with backgrounds in non-imaging fields are encouraged to participate in the ongoing training sessions of the Department of Radiology. The trainees become familiar with a variety of methods of investigation, with a special emphasis on the use of radionuclides. Each trainee is expected to participate in ongoing research activities under the supervision of the staff.

In each of the rotations assigned, the primary responsibility for the service belongs to the attending staff physician. The trainees work under the direct supervision of the designated attending physician. However, depending on the degree and the duration of training, trainees are allowed a substantial level of independence. Ultimate responsibility lies with the attending physician, however, and fellows are encouraged to consult them when they are uncertain about decisions that may adversely affect the patient.

Fellow Responsibilities

Trainees start the day at 8:00 a.m., when the morning rounds begin. Fellows go to their designated assignments as soon as the conference ends. They are required to remain in the designated location until the assigned duties are completed. In general, trainees spend 7-8 hours/day conducting their respective duties. Trainees are on-call every 4-5 weeks for an equivalent period of one week each time. They are assisted by the technologist during these calls. Trainees are called in when needed and are not required to stay on-site. The frequency of emergency studies is low during weeknights, but increases during the weekends. However, the frequency is not excessive and, judging from feedback from prior fellows, appears to be manageable. The faculty is available to assist and review the studies on a routine basis.

Learn about requirements and how to apply »

Contact

David A. Mankoff, MD, PhD
Nuclear Medicine and Nuclear Radiology Program Director
Attn: Sandra Carney
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
3400 Spruce Street, 110-C Donner
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Office: 215-662-3091
Email: sandra.carney@uphs.upenn.edu