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Holman Pathway: ABR encouraging more Radiology and Radiation Oncology Residents towards an Academic Career

The American Board of Radiology recognizes the shortage of physician investigators in diagnostic radiology and in radiation oncology. To address this shortage, a research pathway has been designed for individuals to simultaneously train in diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology and in basic science, clinical, or translational investigation. This new pathway is called the "ABR Holman Research Pathway," named for B. Leonard Holman, M.D., who first proposed this initiative.

For more detailed information, contact Claudia Rosales at crosales@theabr.org.

The Holman Pathway is designed for the exceptional trainee who has both strong clinical abilities and a background in and commitment to research. Entry implies a commitment to basic science or clinical research. (Trainees who leave the research pathway must complete the standard five years of training, including four years of diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology training.)



A minimum of nine months of direct patient care in the PGY-1 year is required in an ACGMe-approved training program in internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery or surgical subspecialties, OB-GYN, neurology, family practice, emergency medicine or any combination of these programs.


Twenty-seven months of full-time clinical radiology is required, which can include two months in PGY-1.

In diagnostic radiology, Holman Pathway residents are expected to meet the same minimum requirements for clinical rotations on breast imaging (three months) and nuclear radiology (four months) as traditional residents, as outlined by the program guidelines of the RRC in diagnostic radiology. Holman Pathway residents are also expected to fulfill the ABR requirements for performance of interventional procedures, vascular ultrasound, and obstetrical imaging. The remainder of their clinical schedule is at the discretion of the institution's program director, bearing in mind the fact that Holman Pathway residents must pass the written and oral examinations of the ABR to qualify for certification.

In radiation oncology, Holman Pathway residents are expected to meet the same minimum requirements for special procedures (including interstitial brachytherapy, intracavitary brachytherapy, and unsealed sources) and the same pediatric caseload as traditional residents outlined in the program guidelines of the RRC in radiation oncology. For adult external beam cases, Holman Pathway residents are expected to simulate a minimum of 350 cases over their 27 months of clinical training instead of 450 cases during the 36 months of standard clinical training.

Clinical Training During Research

Twenty-one months (18 in extenuating circumstances) of dedicated research time, with 20 percent of this time devoted to clinical training. A minimum of 18 months of research is required to successfully complete the Holman Pathway. The approved candidate can also take three months of research during his/her PGY-1 year, for a total of 24 months.


The program director must oversee the trainee's clinical performance. Annually, the program director must attest that the trainee in the pathway has maintained satisfactory progress in clinical performance. In addition, the research mentor must submit annual evaluation of the trainee's research progress.

When to apply?

Candidates for the Holman Pathway should apply during PGY-2 (i.e., first residency year in diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology). Completed applications MUST be submitted electronically by March 15, July 15 and November 15 to crosales@theabr.org.

Assessment of Research Quality

The trainee must show evidence of commitment to a research career. The following are some criteria that might be used to evaluate a candidate's commitment to a research career:

  • Record of participation in basic or clinical research
  • Record of publications and patents
  • Having acquired a graduate degree, such as a Ph.D. or M.P.H.
  • Record of presentations at scientific meetings
  • Honors and awards
  • Research Mentor
  • The research mentor should be a successful investigator with an active research program and peer-reviewed research funding. The mentor must accept responsibility for supervision of the research experience.

Environment for Research Training
A research environment suitable for a productive research experience must exist. This should include adequate space, equipment and funding for the research, and a critical mass of productive researchers identifiable by grants, publications in peer-reviewed journals, the quality of those journals, and by their stature in the discipline.

All research trainees should have well-defined goals, including a detailed description of a research program for educational experiences with coursework for research careers, possibly leading to graduate degrees.

For more details, please visit the ABR Website here.

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