The overall goals of the program are:
- To become board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), Specialty of Oncology. During the last 3 years of the program, the resident will have their credentials accepted and sit for both the general and certifying examinations.
- To complete a defense-based master program focused in cancer molecular biology.
- To be highly qualified and competitive for advancement into an academic faculty position, or specialty referral practice, or government or industry by:
- Developing clinical expertise in client and referring veterinarian interactions, patient care, problem-oriented case management, and advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.
- Developing teaching skills through leadership and participation in student and house-officer rounds, clinical “on-floor” training of students and interns, and student laboratories, and presentation of lectures to students, peers, and practicing veterinarians.
- Acquiring experience in research and scientific writing through the publication requirement of the ACVIM and presentation of a research abstract at the Veterinary Cancer Society annual meeting (during Year 2 and 3 is desirable), or other scientific meeting (such as ACVIM). We also require that our residents present their research project during the annual UF phi zeta competition.
The Medical Oncology Service at the University of Florida has been in existence since 2005 and the medical oncology residency training program started in July 2006. The Oncology Service continues to grow exponentially and is an integrated service that includes a medical oncology, a radiation therapy and surgical oncology teams. The service operates with two to four faculty members (one surgical, and one or two medical oncologists, +/- one radiation therapist), a surgical oncology fellow, one radiation oncology resident, one surgical oncology intern and two to three medical oncology residents at all times.
For more information on our team, please visit https://smallanimal.vethospital.ufl.edu/clinical-services/oncology/
The Medical Oncology Service offers a four-year conforming residency program in medical oncology which is specifically designed to fulfill all requirements established by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine while completing a Masters of Veterinary Science degree. Finishing residents will be competitive for careers in academic veterinary medicine or will have received the expertise to be successful in private specialty practice.
The first year of the program is dedicated to pursuit of the MS degree and is designed to provide the resident with a sound foundation in research as well as cancer biology and statistics prior to the commencement of the clinical training. During the first year of the program, the resident will be enrolled in graduate courses and will be actively involved in their thesis project research. The candidate will pursue a hypothesis driven master’s research project that has been previously identified by the supporting Oncology faculty that will ultimately result in a thesis with defense. During the clinical portion of the residency, emphasis is placed on clinical medicine, teaching, clinical research.
The resident will begin the clinical portion of the program at the beginning of their second year. Clinical training and experience will be provided via case management and care of companion animals with oncological diseases. During the final three years of the program approximately 70% of the resident’s time is devoted to clinical service (emphasis will be placed on clinical medicine, teaching, clinical research) with the remaining 30% of time reserved for research and self-improvement.
The oncology service at the University of Florida is a comprehensive cancer treatment facility with surgical, medical and radiation oncology in a combined service. We are staffed by four medical oncology faculty, two surgical oncology faculty, as well as a surgical oncology fellow, and one radiation therapist.
We see new cases and chemotherapy appointments daily Monday through Thursday. Limited cases are seen on Fridays. Non-emergency surgeries are performed on Tuesdays and Thursdays; however, the medical needs of the patient ultimately determine the timing of surgery.
In house and phone consultations are performed daily as required. Referral cases make up the majority of the medical oncology caseload, but a significant number of in-house transfers can be expected. Emergency cases are seen by the hospital’s triage/critical care service. After-hours emergency care (UF patients and emergency referral cases) is shared by emergency/critical care faculty, residents as well as 6 small animal rotating interns. Our medical oncology residents provide back up support to the emergency service as needed for oncologic cases.
Residents spend the majority of their residency on the oncology service. A Varian linear accelerator with onboard imaging, cone beam CT, respiratory gating, MLC and a stereotactic surgery package is installed in our small animal hospital. Traditional fractionated radiation, palliative radiation, IMRT/IGRT and stereotactic surgery can be performed with this LINAC. Elective rotations may be chosen from other services within the hospital (radiology, cardiology, critical care, neurology, internal medicine, nutrition, ophthalmology, dermatology, clinical pathology, histopathology) or out rotations at referral hospitals (if not available through UF), other colleges, or human hospitals.
The candidate will work as a teaching assistant in the DVM training program in the first year of the veterinary student curriculum and will assist with the teaching of veterinary students in the didactic training and laboratories in the sophomore course (likely to include potentially TA in VEM 5101 Small Animal Anatomy (Fall) and/or Large Animal Anatomy (Spring).
Teaching skills are developed in the clinic (role as clinical instructors), in lectures prepared for the resident’s seminar series and in didactic lectures given to veterinary students. The resident seminar series is presented weekly (Wednesday mornings) and is designed to provide residents an opportunity to review and to present scientific material. Each resident will present one seminar yearly. The topic must be chosen at least 2 months in advance to allow ample time to prepare for this seminar. Seminar in internal medicine or communication lectures tailored to the resident’s teaching are given on Friday mornings.
The candidate will attend organized rounds and seminars in support of the resident clinical and teaching programs including daily Medical Oncology Rounds, weekly Oncology Journal Club, weekly oncology board preparation rounds (chemotherapy, cancer biology and molecular biology), monthly cytology rounds, weekly histopathology rounds. In addition, each resident is expected to attend and participate in the weekly resident seminar series and to present one seminar per year. The menu of rounds and seminars is tailored to assist residents in literature review and board preparation and to expose them to a broad range of clinical and academic experiences. Residents are also encouraged to attend medical grand rounds and to rotate through the human oncology service at the nearby College of Medicine (UF Health-Shands Medical Center) as time permits. The College of Veterinary Medicine is affiliated with the Health Science Center at the University of Florida. The UF Health-Shands Medical Center and the McKnight Brain Institute is located a short walk from the UFVH, and provides a rich resource of collaborative and research opportunities. This affiliation fosters collaborative interaction with the College of Medicine and other health related divisions.
Residents will be required to complete and submit for publication two clinical or research investigative projects during the program, one of which will be their thesis project.
One of the research projects is aimed at satisfying the publication requirement for certification in the ACVIM, Specialty of Oncology. The form of such projects is highly variable but all involve a literature search, with subsequent development of a hypothesis and appropriate methodology to address the specific aims, and submission of a grant proposal. A manuscript is submitted to a refereed journal before the end of the program. Time for completion of the research project is scheduled during the first year of master and during “off-clinic” weeks. The third- and fourth-year residents are strongly encouraged to attend the Veterinary Cancer Society Annual Conference, as well as, the ACVIM Forum. A presentation of the resident’s research project(s) is expected at the Phi Zeta Research Day (held in the spring) in the second or third year of the clinical part of the residency. Additionally, the resident is expected to present their research project at the Veterinary Cancer Society Annual Conference or ACVIM annual conference at least once during their residency.
Benefits approximately $500.00 yearly allotment for purchasing books, attending meetings and courses (these are only allocated during the three years of clinical training), health insurance and other benefits are provided as well as 15 working days paid vacation per year. More information on salary and benefit is available through the residency description in the VIRMP website at https://www.virmp.org/.
Additional internal funding from the oncology service is provided to help cover for ACVIM registration fees (during third and fourth years).
Resident Selection Procedure
First-year residents will be recruited from high-quality ip programs and rare exception will be made for those candidates with exceptional experience in practice without a formal internship. A DVM degree or its equivalent is a prerequisite. Medical Oncology faculty and residents evaluate applications, and final selection of the resident is made through the Veterinary Intern-Resident Matching program (VIRMP).
Selection is based on:
- The individual’s curriculum vitae, including college transcripts.
- A letter of intent containing the applicant’s statement of interest and goals.
- Reference letters from a minimum of three people.
- The quality of prior veterinary experience.
On site interviews are not required for candidates to be considered for the master/residency program.