Initial Certification for Diagnostic Radiology

Holman Research Pathway

Last verified on December 16, 2023
The Holman Pathway is designed for the exceptional trainee who has both strong clinical abilities and a background in 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.)


PGY-1: Clinical Patient Responsibilities
A minimum of nine months of direct patient care in the PGY-1 year is required in an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited training program in internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery or surgical subspecialties, obstetrics-gynecology, neurology, family practice, emergency medicine, or any combination of these programs.
Radiology Residency years 1-4 (R1-R4)
Clinical Training in Diagnostic Radiology
  • Twenty-seven months of full-time clinical radiology training, which can include three months in PGY-1, are required.
  • Holman Pathway residents are expected to meet all program requirements of an ACGME-or RCPSC-accredited program in diagnostic radiology, including the minimum requirements for clinical rotations on breast imaging (three months) and nuclear radiology (four months).
  • The remainder of their clinical schedule is at the discretion of the department's program director, bearing in mind that Holman Pathway residents must pass the ABR Core and Certifying exams.
Research Training/Experience - Clinical Training during Research
  • Eighteen to 21 months 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 take three months of research during his or her PGY-1 year, for a total of 23 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 (who may be an individual other than the program director) must submit an annual evaluation of the trainee's research progress.
When to Apply
  • The ABR encourages mentors, program directors, and candidates to exercise flexibility in scheduling to allow for the optimal research experience, and to improve efforts to maintain a trainee’s research-oriented career. Therefore, candidates for the Holman Pathway may apply after completion of six full months of R1 or at any time during R2. Applications submitted during R3 will not be considered.
  • The research period may be completed at any time during the training period, including R4.
  • Regardless of the timing of application, research, or clinical commitments, all program requirements must be attained. Applications will be reviewed three times a year by the ABR. Therefore, completed applications must be submitted via JotForm by March 15, July 15, or November 15 of the application year.

Research Quality Assessment

The trainee must show evidence of commitment to a research career. The following are some criteria that might be used to evaluate this commitment:
  • Record of participation in basic or clinical research
  • Record of publications and patents
  • Attainment of a graduate degree, such as a PhD or MPH
  • 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. The mentor may be the candidate's program director or another qualified individual in the department.
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 the researchers' stature in their disciplines. The department chair and dean must attest to the departmental and institutional commitment to maintain and adequately support this environment.
  • 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.

Application Requirements

  • Formal proposal from the trainee, describing goals and content of the research program. The research plan should not exceed five pages.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • A letter from the dean of the medical school.
  • The trainee's Part 1, 2, and 3 USMLE scores.
Review of Application
  • Each application will be evaluated independently by a minimum of three reviewers. The final recommendation will be communicated to the applicant approximately eight weeks after the submission deadline.


Approved candidates follow the same exam schedule as candidates for the standard DR certification pathway.

Recognition of Successful Candidates

Successful candidates are awarded a continuous ABR specialty certificate in diagnostic radiology.  

Board Eligibility

See Board Eligibility Policy for details.
The application form is available here.  


Click here for fee schedule for Diagnostic Radiology Certification.

Holman Research Pathway Graduates

The ABR recognizes those who have successfully completed the Holman Research Pathway, thereby demonstrating their clinical skills and commitment to basic and/or clinical research. To view a list of the Holman Research Pathway Graduates, click here.
Please note that a listing on this page is not to be used as a means of verifying certification, as completion of the pathway is only one component of the certification process. Certification status may be verified at