The Interventional Radiology (IR) specialty was founded in the early 1960s by Charles Dotter, MD, who invented angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used to treat peripheral artery disease. However, the procedural domain of IR has increased dramatically since then. Furthermore, clinical care has become an integral and essential part of interventional care. Therefore, the traditional one-year fellowship in Vascular and Interventional Radiology (VIR) following one year of clinical internship and four years of DR residency was deemed no longer adequate. Fortunately, in February 2012 the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized IR as a distinctive specialty in medicine, noting that IR practitioners have unique expertise in three areas that mark the domain of IR – diagnostic imaging, image-guided procedures, and patient care. The ACGME sanctioned the formation of a new IR residency program in 2013, and subsequently approved the program requirements on September 28, 2014. Three pathways were endorsed: (1) integrated IR residency, which entails one year of clinical internship followed by five years of IR residency; (2) independent IR residency, which involves two years of IR residency after one year of clinical internship and four years of DR residency; and (3) Early Specialization in Interventional Radiology (ESIR), which consists of one year of clinical internship followed by four years of DR residency with an emphasis on IR during PGY-5, followed by one year of independent IR residency. During an integrated IR residency, the first three years highlight DR, and the last two years feature IR. The integrated IR residency is the desired dominant training pathway for IR according to the ABMS, ACGME, American Board of Radiology (ABR), and Society of Interventional Radiology. The first eight integrated IR residency programs were accredited by the ACGME in the fall of 2015, and initially participated in the 2016 National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) match for a 2017-22 residency. The MMC Integrated IR Residency Program was accredited in the spring of 2016 as one of the first 12 such programs, and initially participated in the 2017 match for a 2018-23 residency. The first match for independent IR residencies will be in 2019 for a 2020-22 residency. The last VIR fellowship match will be in 2018 for the final 2019-20 fellowship year.
Although MMC has had a Diagnostic Radiology residency for greater than 60 years, it never had a VIR fellowship. This has enabled MMC DR residents to be intimately involved with procedures, and has earned the residency a reputation as one of the top training programs in the country for preparation for VIR fellowship. Accordingly, greater than 25 percent of our graduates have chosen to pursue IR! With the approaching sunset of VIR fellowships, we chose to develop an integrated IR residency at MMC in order to continue our long tradition of robust IR training in the new paradigm.
Graduates of an integrated IR residency qualify to take the IR/DR examination offered by the ABR. The IR/DR certificate recognizes competency in both diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology, and certificate holders can practice in either or both domains.
Welcome to the MMC Integrated Interventional Radiology Residency Program website! If you wish not to define yourself by organ system or pathology, desire to work with physicians from all specialties, enjoy caring for patients who are too sick for other any other therapy, and like to rely upon your innovative problem-solving skills, IR may be the right specialty for you!
When I interviewed for my first job here after completing VIR fellowship, I had never been to Maine or even New England before. The only Portland that I had heard of was in Oregon (which actually is named after Portland, Maine). However, I was so impressed by the IR group at MMC, the city of Portland, and the state of Maine, that I declined several competing job offers at esteemed academic institutions in large urban centers in order to move here all the way from my hometown of Chicago. Maine Medical Center is truly unique, filling a dual role as both a community hospital and a tertiary referral center. It is also Maine’s only academic medical center and Level I Trauma Center. The large referral base, which includes not only all of Maine but eastern New Hampshire as well, presents an incredibly diverse patient population in addition to a comprehensive array of IR procedures that rivals the major academic institutions. Yet, the camaraderie and attention to work-life balance are more commonly seen at much smaller community hospitals. The combination of a strong IR program and outstanding quality of life makes the MMC Integrated IR Residency Program the ideal place to train.
Portland was a hidden gem when I moved here in 2007. It was a quintessential quaint New England seacoast town with the urban sophistication of a large city. Since then, as the sampling of “Best of” lists above attests, everyone from hipsters to retirees has discovered that Portland is a top destination. So make Portland your destination, and experience IR residency the way life should be.
Joseph P. Gerding, MD
MMC Integrated IR Residency Program