UW Radiology

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Interventional Radiology (IR) Residency and who can apply?

The American Board of Radiology (ABR), The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) and the Accreditation Council for Graduation Medical Education (ACGME) have been working together for years to create a more comprehensive training program for physicians wanting to pursue a career in IR. The traditional IR fellowship was designed as a year-long training program to follow a residency in Diagnostic Radiology (DR). 

Given the ever increasing number and scope of cases that are performed in IR, a training program with a greater number of IR rotations, and a greater emphasis on patient care and clinical management was created. 

The program is ultimately designed to attract interested medical students who will match from medical school into an IR Residency program. Given that there is a heavy emphasis on DR during training, residents completing this program will obtain dual certificates in both IR and DR.


How many years is the program? Is an internship required?

The residency is 6 years in total, including one year of internship. As of this time, there are no national requirements for the type of one-year internship the resident must pursue. However, it is our strong recommendation that applicants consider an internship in General Surgery.

Approximately 3 years of the residency are spent with Diagnostic Radiology, with core rotations in Body Imaging, Breast Imaging, Emergency Radiology, MSK Radiology, Neuroradiology, Nuclear Medicine, Pediatric Radiology and Thoracic Imaging.

Approximately 2 years of the residency are spent in IR or IR-related rotations (e.g. hepatology, GI, or vascular surgery electives). Most of these rotations will be completed in the last two years.


How many residents will you be accepting into your program? And when will the first residents start?

We have approval for up to 3 residents per year in the IR residency. This allows for medical students to directly apply to the IR residency from medical school.

However, in the early years of this program, we may be transferring current DR residents who have an interest in switching to the IR residency. We will still have an “independent” IR training pathway (see below) for those residents completing DR and wanting to pursue IR after DR training. The number of people in that program will vary depending on the year. Our goal will be to have 3 IR trainees total per year.

The first IR Residency class at UW matched in March, 2017. Given that an internship is required for the first year, this class will officially start the IR Residency at UW (PGY-2) in July, 2018. We will match our second class this coming application cycle.


What if I am a current Medical Student and want to do IR?

If you are a 4th year medical student and are sure you want to go into IR, apply through ERAS for the IR Residency in September, 2017. We highly recommend a rotation through IR at your home, or other institutions before you consider applying.

If you are an MS1-MS3, please plan on getting involved with your institution’s Radiology Department and IR section early so that you may do rotations prior to applying for the IR residency.

We currently offer a limited number of positions for candidates from other medical schools to rotate on our IR service throughout the year. Please plan well in advance for this opportunity as space is limited.


What if I am a current Medical Student and I like IR, but I am unsure if I want to commit to the IR Residency?

There is no right answer to this question, but if you are sure that you would like to pursue Diagnostic Radiology and possibly IR, then we would recommend that you apply to DR programs that have ESIR programs and/or IR residencies and fellowships as well. If you decide later in your training that you would like to pursue IR, options may be available to you after, or even during residency to further pursue IR.


What if I am a current DR Resident and want to do IR?

This depends on your year of training.

The traditional one-year IR fellowship will cease to exist after the July 2019 – June 2020 academic year. The UW will continue this program through its completion in 2020 (one more application cycle in the winter of 2017-8).

However, due to new ABR, SIR and ACGME requirements, any IR fellowship after June, 2020 (excluding the IR Residency) will be renamed an “Independent Pathway” and will require 2 full years of IR training. There are two options for doing this:

1.) Complete a DR residency with an Early Specialization in IR (ESIR) certificate. To obtain an ESIR certificate, one will have done 12 total months of IR, or IR-related rotations before completing DR Residency. These candidates will then go on to do a one-year fellowship via the Independent Pathway. Graduates will thus complete two full years of IR in total between DR and the Independent IR Pathway.

2.) Complete a DR Residency without doing ESIR (not recommended). Graduates of DR will then go on to do a two-year fellowship via the Independent Pathway. Graduates will thus complete their two years of IR training after finishing DR residency.

3) The third option without doing a fellowship after your DR training, is to transfer into the IR residency before your PGY-5 year. If your current program offers an IR residency, you may be able to transfer from DR to IR. This will depend on your own institution’s guidelines and recommendations for the transfer.