An important hallmark of the field of radiation oncology has traditionally been multidisciplinary collaboration among its clinicians and scientists. Increased specialization, resulting from increased complexity, threatens to diminish this important characteristic. This article evaluates the success of a short-term educational environment developed specifically to enhance multidisciplinary collaboration. This NIH-funded educational course, named “Integration of Biology and Physics into Radiation Oncology (IBPRO),” was developed at Wayne State University, and designed to facilitate engagement among radiation oncologists, medical physicists and radiobiologists in activities that foster collaborative investigation. The question we address here is, “Did it work?” The 240 clinicians and researchers participating in IBPRO over the five years of the course were surveyed to quantify its effectiveness. In total, 95 respondents identified 45 institutional protocols, 52 research grant applications (19 of which have been funded thus far), 94 research manuscripts and 106 research presentations as being attributable to participation in IBPRO. The majority (66%) of respondents reported generating at least one of these research metrics attributable to participation in IBPRO, and these participants reported an average of nearly five such quantitative research metrics per respondent. This represents a remarkable contribution to radiation oncology research within a relatively short period through an intervention involving a relatively small number of radiation oncology professionals. Nearly two thirds of respondents reported ongoing collaborative working relationships generated by IBPRO. In addition, approximately 50% of respondents stated that specific information presented at IBPRO changed the way they practice, and 95% of respondents practicing in a clinical setting stated that, since participation in IBPRO, they have approached clinical dilemmas more collaboratively. Many collaborative working relationships generated by this course continue to actively drive research productivity. Additionally, one of the many enduring legacies of this course is the creation of a new debate series in a professional journal. IBPRO serves as a model for our ability to leverage collaborative learning in an educational intervention to foster multidisciplinary clinical and research collaboration. It has already had a profound impact on the profession of radiation oncology, and this impact can be anticipated to increase in the future.
Final Report from IBPRO: Impact of Multidisciplinary Collaboration on Research in Radiation Oncology
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Jay W. Burmeister, Michael M. Dominello, Monica W. Tracey, Sara E. Kacin, Michael C. Joiner; Final Report from IBPRO: Impact of Multidisciplinary Collaboration on Research in Radiation Oncology. Radiat Res 1 August 2020; 194 (2): 188–190. doi: https://doi.org/10.1667/RADE-20-00117.1
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