Current Status of Radiology Training in Otolaryngology Residency Programs | Medical Education and Training | JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
March 2018

Current Status of Radiology Training in Otolaryngology Residency Programs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, New York
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018;144(3):218-221. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2017.2881
Key Points

Question  What is the current state of radiology training in otolaryngology residency programs?

Findings  In this survey of the responding US otolaryngology residency programs, directors reported having a radiology curriculum, and half also have a dedicated radiology rotation. Program directors reported different views on the optimal time in training for the radiology rotation.

Meaning  Despite most US otolaryngology programs having a radiology curriculum, the variation in frequency, setting, and format highlight an opportunity for formal guidelines from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to standardize radiology education.


Importance  Otolaryngologists use head and neck imaging on a daily basis. However, little is known about the training residents receive on the subject. Understanding the current training environment is important to identify areas of improvement for resident education.

Objective  To assess the current state of radiology training in otolaryngology residency programs.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This was a cross-sectional survey of 106 otolaryngology residency program directors involving multiple academic institutions.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The main outcome of this study is the number of US otolaryngology residency programs that have a radiology curriculum. Measured outcomes were obtained from an anonymous online survey and reported as a percent of total respondents.

Results  Program directors from 39 of 106 (37%) US otolaryngology residency training programs responded to the survey. Twenty-eight of 39 (71%) have a focused radiology curriculum; 18 of 28 (64%) conduct sessions on a monthly basis, 8 of 28 (29%) on a quarterly basis, and 2 of 28 (7%) on a weekly basis. The predominant format (20 of 27 programs [74%]) is a mix of case-based review of inpatient studies and standard lectures. The largest proportion of sessions were run by radiologists (13 of 28 [46%]), with a mix of radiology and otolaryngologists close behind (11 of 28 [39%]). Twenty-two of 39 residency programs (56%) have a dedicated radiology rotation within their educational curriculum, of which 17 of 22 (77%) occur in postgraduate year 1 (PGY-1) of training, 3 of 22 (14%) in PGY-3, and 2 of 22 (9%) in PGY-4. Rotation lengths range from 1 week to 3 months, with most running 1 to 4 weeks. Thirty-two of 38 of US program directors (84%) believe that a formal radiology curriculum would benefit their residents. Thirty-five of 39 believe that this should be a case-based review of images. Twenty-four of 38 believe this should be done on a monthly basis. Fifteen of 39 responding program directors (39%) believe the optimal time is during the PGY-3 of training, 36% (14 of 38) favor the PGY-2, and 23% (9 of 38) in PGY-1.

Conclusions and Relevance  Despite no standardized requirements from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), 71% of US otolaryngology residency program directors who responded to our survey have a radiology curriculum. Most run didactics sessions at the desired frequency, setting, and format preferred by responding program directors. More than half of programs provide a dedicated radiology rotation, mostly during PGY-1, while identifying PGY-2 and PGY-3 as the optimal time for such an experience. These results highlight the need for a more thorough review of radiology education requirements from the ACGME to improve the training of otolaryngology residents across the country.