History of the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program
The Harvard Radiation Oncology Program (HROP) resulted from the joining of the two established residency programs at Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Joint Center for Radiation Therapy (JCRT) program in the Longwood Area. Each had a long history of tradition and achievement and the joining brought together these strengths.
In 2001, Partners requested that the MGH and Brigham and Women’s radiation oncology training programs be merged. It was decided to fully merge the MGH and JCRT Longwood entities to create a Harvard-wide program. In responding to the Partners’ request for a merged training program, Drs. Jay Loeffler and Jay Harris wrote “We believe that by combining two of the most respected training programs in the country, we will have, without question, the most competitive and effective training program in this country.” The leadership of HROP sought to maintain the unique characteristics of the individual programs, while at the same time creating a sense of unity and camaraderie among the residents and faculty through joint academic and social events and a thorough combined curriculum.
The leadership structure that was established for HROP included Dr. Jay Harris (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital, DFCI/BWH) as Program Director and Dr. Anthony Zietman (MGH) as Chair of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee was charged with adjudicating policy issues and the Program Director’s responsibilities were delineated by the ACGME. Given the large size of the program, Dr. Zietman was also appointed Associate Residency Program Director for MGH and Dr. Anthony D’Amico was appointed Associate Residency Program Director for DFCI/BWH.
HROP was approved for a total of 30 residents over the 4 years of training, the largest in the country. The first HROP entering class was in 2003-04 and included Drs. Tracy Balboni, Aileen Chen, Scott Floyd, Arthur Liu, Joshua Petit, Neesha Rodrigues, and Henry Tsai. By 2006-07, all 4 classes in the training program were HROP residents.
In 2009, Dr. Helen Shih was appointed Assistant Residency Program Director for MGH, Dr. Tracy Balboni was Assistant Residency Program Director for DFCI/BWH, and Dr. Anand Mahadevan was appointed Assistant Residency Program Director for BIDMC.
As of July 2015 Dr. Zietman will be the Program Director and Dr. Helen Shih and Dr. Shannon McDonald will move into the MGH Associate and Assistant Residency Program Directors. Dr. Harris becomes the Executive Committee Chair.
HROP’s mission is to train the future leaders in oncology. Residents need to have a commitment to specialized training in laboratory, translational, clinical, or health services research. In a survey of academic training program directors and chairs in Radiation Oncology published in 2013, Harvard was listed as having generated 13 chairs and 7 program directors. The next closest program had 3 chairs and 5 program directors. (Ref: Wilson, L, Haffty B, Smith B A profile of Academic Training Program Directors and Chairs in Radiation Oncology Int J Radiation Oncol Biol Phys 2013: 85, 1168-1171)