Assessment of the Medical Schools From Which Radiation Oncology Residents Graduate and Implications for Diversifying the Workforce

Malcolm D. Mattes, Luka A. Bugarski, Sijin Wen, Curtiland Deville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify factors predictive of a medical school graduating a high volume of future radiation oncology (RO) residents to better understand potential pathways to effectively recruit women and underrepresented minority (URM) students into RO. Methods and Materials: Demographics for US allopathic medical schools and affiliated RO departments were collected from web resources and correlated with the percentage of graduates from each school currently enrolled in RO residency in 2019, and the probability of at least 1 female or URM student from each school pursuing RO. Results: The median percentage of students per medical school who pursued RO residency was 0.37% (interquartile range, 0.16%-0.66%). A total of 79.7% of schools graduated at least 1 RO resident, whereas 51.7% graduated at least 1 female RO resident and 14.0% graduated at least 1 URM RO resident. The 30 schools graduating the highest percentage of RO residents accounted for 52.1% of current RO residents, only 4 of which were in the top quartile for URM enrollment. Medical students were significantly more likely to pursue RO when there was an affiliated RO department (0.42% vs 0.18%, P < .001) or RO residency program (0.51% vs 0.18%, P < .001), more total RO faculty (rs = 0.521, P < .001), female RO faculty (rs = 0.481, P < .001), and URM RO faculty (rs = 0.197, P < .001). The probability of at least 1 female student pursuing RO was also correlated with the number of female faculty in the affiliated RO department (rpb = 0.348, P = .001), and a similar correlation was observed between URM students and URM faculty (rpb = 0.312, P = .011). Conclusions: Most RO residents graduate from medical schools with larger affiliated RO departments but fewer URM students. To promote greater RO diversity, outreach should be considered among schools with greater URM enrollment but fewer affiliated radiation oncologists, and among female and URM students in schools that graduate many RO residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-885
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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