2019-2020 will be a unique year for Interventional Radiology training. Not only is it the final year of existence for the Interventional Radiology (IR) Fellowship, it will also be the only year UNC graduates IR Fellows and our first IR Resident. After years of hard work (and paperwork), Bob Dixon’s vision of the UNC Interventional Radiology residency will be in full swing, with a full complement of five residents – one per year (IR1 through IR5).
In the new training paradigm, there are two pathways to complete IR training. A medical student can match directly into the INTEGRATED IR Residency (5 years following an intern year, for 6 total years). UNC currently has one Integrated IR position per year. Alternatively, a Diagnostic Radiology resident may apply for the INDEPENDENT Interventional Radiology residency which starts after completing a full Diagnostic Radiology residency (yes, the powers that be chose the titles integrated and independent to add to the level of confusion). The Independent IR residency is two years after Diagnostic Radiology (grand total of 7 years: 1 intern year, 4 diagnostic, 2 IR). To add another wrinkle, most major Diagnostic Radiology programs have, or will have, the “Early Specialization in Interventional Radiology” (ESIR). Diagnostic Radiology residents apply for this pathway at the end of the second year of residency. This allows additional focused IR training during the R4 year. The added benefit is allowing them to only complete one year of the Independent Residency (graduating in six total years). UNC currently has nine Diagnostic Radiology resident spots per year, and up to three of them can be in the ESIR pathway per year.
Ultimately, the Integrated IR residents and Independent Radiology residents end in the same place-full Diagnostic Radiology training with clinically focused IR expertise and a certificate from the ABR saying “Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology”.