is Medical Dosimetry? The field of Medical Dosimetry involves the
measurement and calculation of dose for the treatment of cancer patients.
Dosimetrists use their knowledge of physics, anatomy, and radiobiology to
develop an optimal arrangement of radiation portals to spare normal and
radiosensitive tissues while applying a prescribed dose to the targeted disease
Crosse sponsors the only Medical Dosimetry Program in the nation that offers
online distance education for dosimetry students using the Desire2Learn
E-learning course management system.
web site informs prospective students about the program, the profession, and
the unique possibilities associated with it. Additionally, a wealth of
information regarding admissions and application materials is also available
here. Please contact the program via e-mail with any questions or
concerns you may have regarding the program.
The medical dosimetrist is a member
of the radiation oncology team that plays a role in the management of cancer.
Medical Dosimetry allows professionals to utilize their knowledge of
mathematics, medical physics, science, and critical thinking in his/her
everyday work. Medical Dosimetrists specialize in the planning of optimal
radiation treatment techniques and dose calculations in collaboration with the
medical physicist and radiation oncologist.
According to the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD), the
professional organization, the medical dosimetry profession is described as:
Radiation Oncologist has consulted with the patient on their plan of treatment,
he/she will write a prescription of radiation dose to a defined tumor volume.
The medical dosimetrist will then design a treatment plan by means of computer
and/or manual computation to determine a treatment field technique that will
deliver that prescribed radiation dose. When designing that plan, also taken
into consideration are the dose-limiting structures. These structures could include
the eye when treating the brain, the heart when treating the lung, or the
spinal cord when it is included in the area of treatment.
The medical dosimetrist maintains a
delicate balance between delivering the prescription the physician has written
while ensuring the patient will not lose important healthy organ function. In
many institutions, the medical dosimetrist also has the ability to execute
planning for intracavitary and interstitial brachytherapy procedures.
Following the planning process, the
patient will have a simulation for tumor localization to ensure reproducibility
of treatment set up and plan delivery. Here, it may be necessary to produce
moulds, casts, and other immobilization devices for accurate treatment
delivery. A medical dosimetrist may supervise, perform, or assist in this
process. The medical dosimetrist will then work with the radiation therapists
in the implementation of the patient treatment plans including: the correct
application of immobilization devices, beam modification devices, approved
field arrangements, and other treatment variables.
The advancements in computer
technology place us at the forefront of many new processes. Using imaging
modalities such as CT scans, alone or in combination with MRI or PET scans, we
plan with 3-D computers that enable us to give higher doses of radiation to a
tumor while lowering the doses to the sensitive structures around it. In some
environments we play a part in cutting edge clinical research for the
development and implementation of new techniques in cancer treatment. It is an
exciting and amazing profession to work in. We are members of a team that
contributes toward cancer survivorship on a daily basis.
In summation, the medical
dosimetrist performs calculations for the accurate delivery of the Radiation
Oncologist's prescribed dose, documents pertinent information in the patient
record, and verifies the mathematical accuracy of all calculations using a
system established by the Medical Physicist. We perform, or assist in, the application
of specific methods of radiation measurement including ion chamber,
thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD), or film measurement as directed by the
Medical Physicist. Another area that we may contribute to is giving technical
and physics support to the Medical Physicist; this support could be in
radiation protection, qualitative machine calibrations, and quality assurance
of the radiation oncology equipment. Also, we often take on the role of
educator in facilities that have radiation oncology residents, radiation
therapy students or medical dosimetry students.
The future job market for Medical
Dosimetry is strong. The advances in treatment planning increase the
demand for qualified medical dosimetrists. Wages are comparable with
other healthcare professions. Given the diversity and ever changing
technology of the job, lifelong career satisfaction is achievable.
After successful completion of the
medical dosimetry program and six months of work experience, students are
eligible to apply to take the medical dosimetry certification exam. The
exam is held in various locations throughout the United States every year in
June. The Medical Dosimetry Certification Board (MDCB) is
the credentialing body for the certification exam.
The Medical Dosimetry Program offers a Master’s Degree program that provide students with an
educational foundation in medical dosimetry as well as clinical experience in a
radiation oncology department. The curriculum requires online courses taken
synchronously with a clinical internship at an affiliated site. Admission to the
program is on a competitive basis.
The Medical Dosimetry Program at the
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse is committed to the education of medical
dosimetrists who are knowledgeable, competent, and dedicated to their
profession and their patients.
Goals & Student Learning
The University is accredited at the institutional level by the Higher Learning Commission of the
North Central Association. Additionally, the UWL- Medical Dosimetry
program is accredited by a discipline-specific, professional accreditation
organization - the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.
program completed the most recent accreditation site visit in July of 2011 and
received an 8 year accreditation, with no citations. This is the maximum
accreditation awarded by the JRCERT. The interim report is due in 2015 and a
re-accreditation is due in 2019.
For more information regarding
accreditation of medical dosimetry programs, visit the JRCERT web site at www.jrcert.org.
What does an accredited program mean
to a prospective
The UWL Medical Dosimetry program
statistics include graduate statistics from various internship locations
throughout the U.S. The success of the graduates is due to their
motivation & hard-work as well as the commitment and dedication of the
faculty, clinical instructors, clinical preceptors, and mentors at each
clinical internship site. The program faculty and advisory committee
ensures the highest quality of education and that the graduates are well
prepared to enter the profession.
Visit JRCERT for more information
about JRCERT accredited programs and program effectiveness data.
AssessmentAssessment of student learning takes place at four levels at the university:
The program develops, implements,
and analyzes an annual outcomes
assessment plan to:
Please note: Not all sites will be available in a
For more information regarding where
UW-La Crosse is authorized to offer on-line education outside the state of
Wisconsin please visit State Authorization. This is updated periodically,
therefore, the medical dosimetry program should be contacted with concerns or
Students enrolled in the program
must complete their clinical training at one of the program's affiliated clinical
sites. Prospective students may propose the addition of a new site to the
program director, however, this process must be initiated well in advance of
the application deadline. In order for a new site to be considered, the
applicant must submit their request to the program director at least six (6)
months prior to the application deadline. The site must also meet the program's requirements for a clinical site. Simply listing an unaffiliated
clinical site on the application will not be sufficient. Requests not
meeting this deadline will not be considered for that application cycle.
Please be aware that a felony charge
may affect your ability to obtain clinical placements and/or sit for the board
We respect that a student may elect
to not receive immunizations for personal or medical reasons. Students
who have a medical condition that precludes them from receiving immunizations
may be asked to provide additional documentation from a medical provider.
Clinical affiliates must comply with their organization's policy regarding
immunizations and as such may decline a student without required immunizations
or medical documentation. Students should be aware that this may impact
options for clinical education experiences and progression through the medical