In addition to fulfilling a diverse educational mission in training radiation oncologists, radiation biologists, and medical physicists, the Miller School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology is among the first academic radiation oncology departments in the country to host a degree-granting program in medical radiation dosimetry.
Medical radiation dosimetrists are highly skilled workers crucial to the practice of contemporary clinical radiation oncology. Their principal role is to create computerized treatment plans for the delivery of radiation by therapeutic radiation machines or by techniques using radionuclides, essentially creating instructions a treatment machine follows or a treatment procedure implements to deliver a prescribed radiation dose distribution to a patient. Success in this role requires that medical dosimetrists integrate several strands of theoretical and practical knowledge, including knowledge of rudiments of clinical oncology, radiation physics, radiation biology, human anatomy, and medical imaging, as well as the multiple and various technologies and techniques of the radiation oncology clinic.
Until recently, the education of medical dosimetrists had primarily been on the job, with trainees often being self-selected radiation therapy technologists already enjoying some of the knowledge dosimetrists must acquire. Since 2017, however, eligibility requirements for examination by the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (by passing which dosimetrists become Certified Medical Dosimetrists) have included graduation from a year-long medical dosimetry program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). The University of Miami Graduate Program in Medical Radiation Dosimetry, inaugurated in 2022, expects JRCERT accreditation during its first year of operation and reviews applications to its Master of Science and Graduate Certificate programs on a rolling admissions basis.