Nuclear Medicine/Diagnostic Radiology Residency Combined Residency

nuclear medicine/diagnostic radiology combined residency program banner

Program Director: Tracy Yarbrough, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.Ed.

Program Description

The UC Davis Nuclear Medicine/Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program is located at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, the major teaching facility of the UC Davis School of Medicine. UC Davis Health serves the healthcare needs of the Sacramento metropolitan area and is a referral center for patients throughout northern California and Nevada, along with serving as the major trauma service to area residents. The combined five-year Nuclear Medicine/Diagnostic Radiology program consists of rotations in the Division of Nuclear Medicine for the first year. The subsequent four years consist of rotations mimicking the traditional four-year Radiology Residency program through the various divisions of Diagnostic Radiology (including Abdominal, Pediatric, Chest, Cardiovascular, Musculoskeletal, Breast and Neuroimaging), Nuclear Medicine and Interventional Radiology with daily teaching conferences, didactic lecture series and participation in multiple interdisciplinary conferences. Distinguished faculty members provide education in all subspecialty areas in addition to a dedicated physics lecture series. There is a strong and established academic curriculum, which includes non-interpretative topics such as wellness, finance and informatics. The education program incorporates a balanced clinical rotation schedule and a graduated call based on resident level experience. Finally, our graduates often go on to prestigious fellowships in the sub-specialty of their choice and are placed in desirable jobs both in academics and private practice, mostly staying and serving California.

Over 377,063 radiological examinations are performed each year in the Department of Radiology. UC Davis Health has a large footprint and leads the way in cancer, trauma and many nationally ranked specialties including Cardiology and Heart Surgery, ENT, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Pulmonology and Lung Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Nephrology, Orthopedics and Urology. These areas of expertise all involve imaging and we focus our education on value-based patient centered care as a part of the multi-disciplinary team.  Faculty and residents are involved in many multi-disciplinary tumor boards from each section and provide imaging guidance in pre-surgical planning and decisions about patient treatment strategies depending on imaging results. UC Davis has been a growing major tertiary referral center with strong Otolaryngology, Pediatrics and Neurosurgery departments and a well-reputed cancer center. Our diverse population and large catchment area provide a multitude of complex cases and extensive rare pathology that enriches the education of our trainees. The amazing work of our varied clinicians at UC Davis increases the breadth of pathology that our residents encounter.

Program Mission

A goal of UC Davis Health is to re-imagine education by creating environments where diverse life-long learners can train. We have recruited a diverse faculty with different approaches to radiology and education who welcome and nurture residents through a commitment to their education and a variety of innovative ideas. The high ratio of faculty to residents provides for careful resident supervision on all cases. Our faculty maintains significant interest in education, including incorporation of new and interactive ways of educating residents with different learning styles.  Development of resident curriculum is iterative with review of structure and presentation of new material every year, and with current breakdown of subject material that mirrors the ABR CORE exam layout. A distinguished faculty provides exceptional teaching in all specialty areas of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. Currently, we have a 90-minute lecture series for noon teaching conference every day, composed of didactic and hot seat conference sessions, with dedicated blocks focused on Emergency Radiology and Physics. The radiology department has an extensive teaching file of interesting cases on PACS within each section and is developing an online curriculum to help organize the multitude of resources available for resident learning. Each resident attends the four-week course in Radiology-Pathology correlation at the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology, Washington, D.C. with a fully-covered stipend.


Finally, we incorporate the academic mission of research by mentoring residents to lead in future radiology research endeavors and to carry the torch of innovation. Overall, our residents are intimately associated with the research projects occurring in our department. Our world-renowned physicists and faculty are leaders regarding technological advances with cutting edge research such as the PET EXPLORER, the first and only whole-body PET scanner in the world, where our residents will be the first to learn about images from this scanner. Finally, our residents participate in many inter-professional based projects, focused on clinical and research excellence as well as systems improvement projects. As a department, we are committed in fostering a residency that works well as a team, including staff, nurses and technologists.

Wellness and Social Life

The program directors are particularly committed to resident wellness and fostering a positive learning and clinical environment. We are creating a resident wellness program with the goal of preventing burnout as a multi-tiered approach through education and the implementation of several facets of health and wellness, including promoting healthy and active lifestyles, meditation and managing work-life balance. Although a work in progress, we are providing more opportunities for physical activity in the workplace, introducing the practice of mindfulness and providing education on healthy eating. We believe peer support groups can provide a strong support network. For example, many of our residents are new parents and taking the time to meet and share experiences regarding resources for childcare, experiences with nannies and daycare and other milestones build solidarity and a sense of community. Finally, we are strengthening the Women in Radiology chapter with quarterly gatherings including residents and faculty, which allow for more female resident support with discussions of shared experiences and providing a forum to discuss the current challenges in medicine. Some topics of discussion include barriers to career advancement and promotion, as well as balancing work and raising a family. We believe this is essential for improving attitudes and physician wellness which will hopefully be reflected in a more positive institutional culture, better work performance and improved resident mental health. Other resident wellness initiatives include but are not limited to: an annual resident retreat and monthly catered resident lunches where residents can socialize and build camaraderie. We believe that wellness and physician burnout are important concepts which should be considered early during training as burnout affects mental health, job satisfaction, career longevity and the quality of care patients receive.

An internship (PG-I year) is required for entrance into our program. The internship must be accredited clinical training in internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery or surgical specialties, obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, family and community medicine, emergency medicine, the transitional year, or any combination of these. No more than a total of two months may be spent in radiology, radiation oncology, and/or pathology; these rotations must be done in an ACGME accredited program. Since our department does not offer internships, we do not participate in the National Internship Matching Program for the PG-I year of training. However, we do participate in the match at the PG-II level. Graduates of foreign medical schools must comply with restrictions imposed by the Medical Board of California and be eligible for, or be licensed to practice in California and have a Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter from the Medical Board of California included in their application materials. Information concerning licensure is available from the Division of Licensing, Medical Board of California, 2005 Evergreen Street #1200, Sacramento, CA 95825, phone: 916-263-2344.

All applications must be submitted via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). An application for a position should be submitted no later than November 1 for residency training to begin July 1 following assumed PGY1 year (example: for residency beginning July 1, 2022 applications must be submitted by November 1, 2020). The ERAS application for the combined program is separate from the Diagnostic Radiology program and candidates are encouraged to apply to both programs if interested in Nuclear Medicine, although one interview will serve for both programs. Personal interviews are granted by invitation only. Interviews are scheduled for December and January, after the application is complete and prior to the final selection process. For further information about the UC Davis Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program, please contact our program coordinator.

All residents must be licensed to practice medicine in the State of California prior to the start of the PG-III training year. Within 180 days of enrollment, a Postgraduate Training License (PTL) is required to practice medicine in California. This license is valid 90 days after 36 months of training. Within that 90-day period, the resident is required to obtain a full medical license.

If you have questions or would like to submit your application materials, please contact:

Tonya Chavez
Program Coordinator
Phone: 916-734-5732
Fax: 916-734-8490

Department of Radiology
UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis Health
4860 Y Street, Suite 3100
Sacramento, CA 95817