IC Special Programs DR Holman Pathway

Initial Certification


Diagnostic Radiology

Holman Research Pathway

The American Board of Radiology recognizes the shortage of physician investigators in diagnostic radiology. 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 while he was a trustee of the American Board of Radiology.

Below is an overview of the program requirements.
For more detailed information, contact ic@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 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, obstetrics-gynecology, 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.

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 qualifying and certifying examinations of the ABR.

   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, is required. A minimum of 18 months of research is required to complete the Holman Pathway. The approved candidate can also take three months of research during his or 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.


In its desire to enhance the goals of the Holman Research Pathway, the ABR encourages mentors, program directors and candidates to exercise flexibility in scheduling to permit the optimal research experience, and to improve efforts to maintain trainee’s research-oriented careers. To this end, candidates for the Holman Pathway may apply after completion of 6 full months of PGY-2 or at any time during PGY-3 (i.e., the first or second residency years in radiation oncology), and the research period may be completed at any time during the training period, including PGY-5. Regardless of the timing of application, research or clinical commitments, all program requirements must be attained. Completed applications MUST be submitted electronically by March 15, July 15, and November 15 of the application year to ic@theabr.org.



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:

  1. Record of participation in basic or clinical research
  2. Record of publications and patents
  3. Attainment of a graduate degree, such as a Ph.D. or M.P.H.
  4. Record of presentations at scientific meetings
  5. 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.



  1. Formal proposal from the trainee, describing goals and content of the research program. The research plan should not exceed five pages. Use 8½ x 11 paper with at least one-half inch margins, single spaced and single-column format, with a font size of 11 points or larger.
  2. Supporting letter from the department chair, indicating trainee's ability to achieve clinical competence in the abbreviated time and guaranteeing availability of and support for research time.
  3. Signed commitment from the research mentor to guide and supervise the research trainee. If the research mentor is a person other than the program director, the program director must include a letter supporting the research trainee.
  4. A letter from the dean of the applicant's medical school.
  5. The trainee's USMLE scores.

Review of application
Each application will be evaluated independently by three to four reviewers. Criteria for assessment include:

  • credentials of the applicant
  • quality of the research proposal
  • likelihood of completing the proposed project during residency
  • productivity and funding track record of mentor(s)
  • program director's assurance of protected time and assessment of the candidate's clinical skill and ability to complete clinical training in an abbreviated time

The final recommendation will be communicated to the applicant approximately eight weeks after the submission deadline.

Download the HOLMAN PATHWAY FORM in .pdf format