Dalhousie offers a Royal College accredited dual certification training program in radiology and nuclear medicine. The program is offered as a 6-year combined program consisting of 1 basic clinical year, 1.5 years of radiology, 1 year nuclear medicine, 1.5 years of radiology leading to the Royal College radiology certification examination, and 1 final year of nuclear medicine leading to the Royal College nuclear medicine certification examination. Successful completion of this 6-year program leads to certification in both specialties. The program would consider accepting residents in a stand-alone nuclear medicine program on an individual basis, but the 6-year program is the arrangement specified through the CaRMS match.
The program is organized to ensure each resident has exposure to all aspects of diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine. Training in adult clinical nuclear medicine is undertaken QEII Health Sciences Centre (VG and HI sites), with pediatric nuclear medicine training taking place at the IWK Health Centre. Training involves exposure to a large number of studies in the nuclear medicine disciplines of cardiac imaging, oncology imaging, bone scanning, lung scanning, renal scanning, endocrine imaging, infection and inflammation imaging, CNS imaging, biliary and other GI imaging, and bone densitometry. There are a large number of non-imaging in vivo studies. Numerous therapies are performed as well, ranging from iodine-131 therapies for benign and malignant disease to yttrium radio synovectomies, strontium therapies for bone metastases and iodine-131 MIBG therapies for neuroendocrine tumours. The Centre has a PET CT suite with an on-site cyclotron with full training in PET imaging.
The clinical faculty includes 7 nuclear medicine physicians who work out of both the QEII and IWK sites. The nuclear medicine division has the services of a dedicated radiochemist and a nuclear medicine medical physicist. Teaching in the basic sciences including physics, instrumentation, radiation biology, computer science and radiopharmacy is primarily the responsibility of the physicists, radiochemists and senior technologists in conjunction with the nuclear medicine physicians.
The PGY-1 year is spent off-service with the exception of two months in radiology and nuclear medicine and is intended to meet the requirements of the Royal College for training in nuclear medicine. There are 13 four-week rotations organized by the Dalhousie University Post Graduate Medical Education Office. These rotations include cardiology and endocrinology along with surgery, pediatrics, and emergency medicine.
Residents participate in journal clubs, research rounds, interesting case rounds, and radiology academic half-days throughout the course of their residency. There is an organized 2-year curriculum to cover all the pertinent topics in nuclear medicine to meet the specialty training requirements. Residents have the opportunity to participate in a number of courses throughout their training including radiation safety orientation, a nuclear medicine physics course, an online radiopharmacy course, PET mini courses and radioisotope therapy mini courses. Radiation biology is covered in the radiology half-day and residents attend the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology radiology pathology correlation course in Washington D.C.
Medical students who are interested in the nuclear medicine training program are encouraged to undertake elective in nuclear medicine to gain experience with the field.