Holman Research Pathway
Last verified on May 18, 2020
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 radiation oncology training.)
PGY-1: Clinical Patient Responsibilities
A minimum of nine months of direct patient care 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.
If there is an elective in radiation oncology, it must be in a department with an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited residency program and cannot be longer than two months. No more than a total of three months may be spent in radiation oncology and/or pathology.
Radiation Oncology residency training years 1-4
Clinical Training in Radiation Oncology
- Twenty-seven months of full-time clinical radiation oncology training, which can include three
months in PGY-1, are required
- Holman Pathway residents must meet the same minimum requirements for special procedures
(including interstitial brachytherapy, intracavitary brachytherapy, and unsealed sources) and
the same pediatric caseload as traditional residents, outlined in the program guidelines of the
RRC in radiation oncology.
- For adult external beam cases, Holman Pathway residents must simulate a minimum of 350 cases
over their 27 months of clinical training instead of 450 cases during the 36 months of standard
- Twenty-one months (18 in extenuating circumstances) of dedicated research time, with 20 percent
of this time devoted to clinical training.
- A minimum of 18 months of research is required to successfully 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 (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
permit 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 the first year of radiation oncology residency or at any time during the second year. Applications submitted during their third will not be considered.
- The research period may be completed at any time during the training period, including the fourth year
- 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
Research Quality Assessment
The trainee must show evidence of commitment to a research career. The following are 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
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 research 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
- 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 lettersupporting the research trainee.
- A letter from the dean of the medical school.
- The trainee’s USMLE Part 1, 2, and 3 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.
The application form is available here.
Approved candidates follow the same exam schedule as candidates for the standard RO certification pathway.
Recognition of Successful Candidates
Successful candidates are awarded a continuous ABR specialty certificate in radiation oncology.
See Board Eligibility Policy
for fee schedule for Radiation Oncology 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