City of Hope’s School of Radiation Therapy has been reaccredited for eight years, the maximum accreditation possible.
|Radiation therapist Jerrica Tseng, right, demonstrates use of a Tomo-Therapy machine for students. (Photo by p.cunningham)|
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) announced the decision May 6. The JRCERT is the only national agency recognized by the Department of Education to accredit radiation therapy programs. Officials visited City of Hope for three days in August 2010 and reviewed the program’s curriculum and outcomes.
“Receiving eight-year reaccreditation says a lot about the program. It assures students, employers and patients that we meet established standards promoting academic excellence, patient safety and quality health care,” said Chriss Forell, M.S., R.T, the school’s director. “It’s the collaborative effort of dedicated faculty, clinical instructors and clinical training sites that makes this program a success.”
Started in 1975, City of Hope’s School of Radiation Therapy offers a one-year certificate program that prepares licensed radiographers to deliver radiotherapy to patients. A typical week in the school’s curriculum comprises one day of classroom instruction and four days of clinical internship.
Students receive clinical training at City of Hope or affiliated radiation facilities such as the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Torrance Memorial Medical Center and Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif.
Jeffrey Y.C. Wong, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, noted the program’s strong focus on excellent patient care.
“For many patients, the radiation therapist is the face that they will remember when they think back on their radiation oncology experience,” he said. “So we want to make sure our students are not only technically competent, but also skilled in interacting with patients and recognizing their needs. That’s what our program prides itself on.”
Many current City of Hope radiation therapists graduated from the school, which is one of only three such programs in the region.
Alumnus Ken Mackay now serves as chief therapist at the Valley Tumor Medical Group in Lancaster, Calif. He graduated in 1993 and worked at City of Hope for eight years.
“City of Hope has a unique school,” said Mackay. “The hands-on experience prepared me for the real-life working environment, and the instruction also prepared me to progress in my career, into dosimetry and later into management. The school really gives you a well-rounded education that allows you to branch off into other areas of the field.”