Breast Imaging

The Division of Breast Imaging at Penn is pleased to offer an elective for medical students in multi-modality breast imaging. Students will be actively involved in all aspects of breast imaging including the interpretation of screening and diagnostic mammography, digital breast tomosynthesis, ultrasound, and MRI. There will also be opportunities to observe stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI guided minimally invasive breast interventional procedures. The medical student will have opportunities to attend and participate in multi-disciplinary breast care conferences as well as clinical research if desired. At the completion of the rotation, students will have gained a broad knowledge of how breast imaging fits into the clinical management of all breast diseases.

Cardiovascular Imaging

(Prerequisite: RAD300 or equivalent)

The purpose of this elective is to introduce medical students to noninvasive imaging of the cardiovascular system. Students will learn the basic concepts of computed tomographic angiography (CTA), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and cross-sectional imaging of the heart. Each day the student will work closely with a staff member. Students will actively participate in the performance and interpretation of CTA, MRA, and cardiac examinations. The techniques of three-dimensional post-processing of image data, including volume rendering and multiplanar reformatting, will be introduced. Students will be given the opportunity to participate in clinical research projects related to cardiovascular imaging based upon their interests. Biweekly cardiac imaging and vascular imaging case conferences provide an opportunity for cross-disciplinary case discussion. Also, biweekly didactic resident education lectures on topics related to Cardiovascular Imaging are provided.

Clinical Clerkship in Radiology

This is a full-time, highly structured course designed to teach modern, sophisticated application of imaging techniques in clinical problem solving. In addition, a basic level of image interpretation is also acquired. There are daily image reading and utilization seminars, lectures on state-of-the-art technologies, opportunities for participation in ongoing procedures and image interpretation, reading assignments, self-study teaching files and unknown case write-ups. Evaluation is based on seminar participation as well as performance on a practicum exam, and an oral presentation of a clinical workup problem.

Gastrointestinal Radiology

This elective is intended for students who wish to learn more about gastrointestinal radiology in particular and radiology in general. The elective also affords students an opportunity to be exposed to a mix of radiologic procedures and image interpretation.

During the rotation, the student observes the daily GI fluoroscopic procedures, including barium swallows, single and double upper gastrointestinal examinations, small bowel follow throughs, single and double contrast barium enemas, and enteroclysis studies. The student also participates in the daily image interpretation sessions with the residents and GI attendings.

The student is expected to attend weekly conferences, including morning coffee rounds (especially when given by GI), abdominal imaging follow-up, and Grand Rounds. By the end of the elective, the student may have an opportunity to present one or more cases at the abdominal imaging follow-up conference. The student is also asked to read portions of an introductory text on double contrast GI radiology.

MRI Radiology

Students will participate in a 4-week research project in the Department of Radiology. This project can entail basic, translational, and clinical research. The relevant University of Pennsylvania training modules will need to be completed prior to start of course, depending on type of research. A Radiology faculty principal investigator will need to be assigned to the student ahead of course start date.

Musculoskeletal Radiology

This course consists of reviewing cases from the emergency room, as well as in patient and outpatient musculoskeletal plain films, CTs and MRIs. An extensive teaching file and musculoskeletal radiology lecture series is available for review.

The student will act as a member of the radiology team which includes staff, fellows, one or two radiology residents and additional residents from orthopedic surgery, podiatry, or preventive medicine and rehabilitation. Daily read-outs are done as teaching sessions and the medical student is often asked challenging questions. The month on the service should acquaint the medical student with the functioning of a radiology section at a university hospital and introduce the student to clinical orthopedic radiologic correlation.


Students participate in the interpretation, clinical correlation, and appropriate utilization of imaging modalities as they pertain to the brain, spine/spil cord, head and neck, sinuses and orbit. Modalities to be studied include CT, MR imaging, cerebral angiography, and myelography.

Daily review sessions/read-outs is held and cover in detail each of these techniques. In addition to multiple daily film interpretation sessions, instruction includes daily specialty conferences, interesting case conferences, teaching files, didactic lecture series on video tape, and interaction with residents, fellows, other students and the faculty. Participation in research is encouraged for those interested.

Nuclear Medicine

This course is designed to provide experience in all aspects of the subspecialty of nuclear medicine, including diagnostic and therapeutic applications of radio-labeled compounds. Students will be exposed to aspects of both clinical and basic science techniques.

Our current practice includes a spectrum of Single Photon Imaging techniques and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with focus on oncology, neurology and cardiology. The students will rotate through different clinical services including general nuclear medicine, PET and nuclear cardiology during their rotation and will also get exposure to radiotherapies.

The students will attend weekly morning conferences and participate in a structured day to day function which will include shadowing the nuclear medicine technologist and observing the handling of radiopharmaceuticals and image acquisition. The students will be involved in the daily read outs in the nuclear medicine clinics and learn to obtain pertinent clinical history, work up cases and discuss imaging findings with the nuclear medicine trainees and attending. At the completion of the rotation, students will have gained a broad knowledge of nuclear medicine with the ability to obtain a pertinent history, choose appropriate nuclear medicine procedures, interpret the imaging results, and arrive at a logical diagnosis.

The medical student should have completed Clinical Clerkship in Radiology(RAD300) or its equivalent at Penn or their own institution prior to starting this course.

Pediatric Radiology

This course is a 4 week elective in pediatric radiology at CHOP. During the 4 weeks, the student is exposed to all areas of diagnostic imaging at the Children’s Hospital. A prior rotation in general diagnostic radiology that provides a background in diagnostic imaging would allow for a more worthwhile experience; it is strongly encouraged, but not required.

Each day begins at 7:30a with a pediatric radiology conference in our conference room. Following morning conference, for the most part of each day, the student will be an observer in a given within the radiology department, i.e. plain film outpatient radiology, inpatient/ED plain film radiology, US, CT/MR, fluoroscopy, neuroradiology, nuclear medicine interventional radiology. In large part, the rotation is rather unstructured which allows the student to spend more time or concentrate in his/her area/s of interest. The student will have the opportunity to observe and interact with CHOP rotating radiology residents, pediatric radiology fellows, and CHOP radiology staff as they readout daily inpatient and outpatient studies.

On a daily basis, the student is expected to attend 2 to 3 radiology conferences (7:30a, 12:30p, +/-5:00p), but he/she can also attend any given CHOP clinical conference that may be available during the day. Resources for additional instruction include pediatric radiology textbooks and teaching websites. During the rotation, the student is expected to prepare/present three to four case-based didactic presentation/discussions (5-10 min ppt) at the biweekly noon teaching file conference on the topic of his/her choice for the benefit of the radiology trainees.

At the end of a 4 week rotation, the student can expect to achieve one of the following grades: honors, high pass, pass, fail. (For any rotation less than 4 weeks, the student can achieve either pass or fail). The final grade will be derived from the compilation of input received from CHOP pediatric radiology fellows and staff who have interacted with the student. Areas of input which may be addressed for any given student evaluation could include fund of knowledge (from reading), level of interest and interaction, participation in conference, case presentation, professional behavior, etc. Participation in research, e.g. assistance in writing up case reports, is encouraged. (It is important to be aware that any participation in research requires advance credentialing at CHOP through CHOP/Penn IRB. One needs to consider and plan in advance if his/ her intention is to participate in a research effort during the rotation).

Vascular and Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology (IR) has been at the forefront in the development of minimally invasive therapies since pioneering modern medicine with the development of angioplasty. Today many conditions that once required surgery can be treated nonsurgically by IR -- and the list continues to grow.

Students operate as active members of the clinical service, including morning ward rounds, daily case review, scrubbing in procedures, and inpatient consultations. Students works closely with the fellows and staff, usually as first-assistants. Over 100 cases per week expose students to the full range of diagnostic and interventional procedures including arteriography/venography, angioplasty, stents, thrombolysis, interventional oncology, TIPS, biliary drainage, venous and enteral access, varicose vein therapy, uterine fibroid embolization, and caval filters. Opportunities to participate in ongoing basic science and clinical research activities are available for interested students.

The objectives of the IR elective include:

  • Introducing students to the vast array of vascular and non-vascular procedures performed by IR 
  • Exposing students to the robust outpatient clinical practice at Penn IR that covers oncology, peripheral vascular disease, women’s health, and other medical conditions 
  • Introducing students to the multidisciplinary collaboration involved in IR and the advanced clinical disease management involved in both inpatient and outpatient IR. 

As one of the most progressive and highly sought after IR fellowships in the country, Penn IR has a reputation for strong teaching at the medical student, resident and fellowship levels. There are daily morning lectures given by the faculty that highlight every aspect of IR and these lectures have been considered as setting Penn IR apart from other programs in the country.

The clerkship director is vested in every medical student to ensure that they are getting the most out of the rotation regardless of whether their intended future career is in IR. Students walk away from this elective with new insight and appreciation into this exciting and highly competitive field that most students are not exposed to during their medical education. Any student thinking about a career in a surgical field who wants to practice the most advanced technology in medicine should consider IR.

NOTE: This rotation does not include pediatric or neurointerventional radiology although arrangements can be made for exposure to these areas upon request.

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