1. How much protected research time are residents given?
With our recent residency expansion to a cohort of 12 residents being approved by the ACGME, we now guarantee a minimum of nine months of protected research time during the PGY-4 year to all residents in good clinical standing. Additional time (up to twelve months total) can be secured thereafter based on research productivity. Residents may pursue clinical, physics, or basic science research during this time.
2. How are clinical rotations arranged?
Residents work in two month blocks with site-specific attending physicians who are experts in their chosen specialty. Rotations on the Westwood campus are structured such that each resident is assigned to only one attending physician at a time in an apprenticeship format, with increasing responsibility as he/she progresses through training. First-year residents are also assigned one month of dosimetry and diagnostic radiology during the PGY-2 year.
4. How are didactics organized?
Residents typically have some type of educational activity every morning and are officially protected from patient-care duties (including pages) between 8 and 9 am daily. The Radiation Oncology Clinical Didactic Lecture Series (ROCDLS) consists of formal faculty-moderated lectures on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and is divided into two-month blocks focusing on particular disease sites. Departmental chart rounds take place every Tuesday and Thursday morning, at which time residents and students are given the opportunity to present patient cases for discussion. Physics and radiobiology lectures are given on Friday mornings, on an alternating yearly schedule.
5. What is the call schedule like?
Call is divided into one week blocks, lasting from a given Tuesday at 8 am to the following Tuesday at 8 am. During this time, the resident takes consult requests and also answers questions from patients undergoing radiation treatment who call the clinic after normal business hours. Generally, residents take the most call in their first and last (i.e. PGY-2 and PGY-5) years, as they are on research electives or rotating offsite more frequently in the middle two years.
6. How is vacation organized?
Residents have four weeks of paid vacation, which is usually divided into four five day blocks (however, this is quite flexible). When the resident is on vacation, the attending physicians cover themselves. This ‘no cross-coverage’ rule for residents is firmly reinforced.
7. Do residents get meal vouchers?
Residents receive $800 worth of credit each academic year, which can be used at any on-site cafeteria. Coffee at the UCLA-Santa Monica Hospital cafeteria is free for all MDs—a useful perk!
8. Where do residents live?
As a large coastal metropolis, Los Angeles has a relatively high cost of living. Some of the single residents have historically lived in studio or 1BR apartments in the Westwood area, while residents with families have resided in subsidized university housing, or in some of the surrounding neighborhoods (e.g., Culver City, Santa Monica, Brentwood). Housing costs vary significantly depending on the neighborhood.