The University of New Mexico Cancer Center Radiation Oncology Department recently received the widely recognized accreditation from the American College of Radiology. The ACR is comprised of over 36,000 members who aim to educate health professionals, improve the quality of care, and conduct further research in the field of radiology. “This accreditation is an external validation of the quality and robustness of our programs and care,” said Thomas Schroeder, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UNM School of Medicine. Dr. Schroeder is also the Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at the UNM Cancer Center.
The ACR completed an on-site survey to assess the program’s standing. This voluntary process has been run by the ACR for over twenty five years and involves the evaluation of various components of a department. The assessment includes evaluating personnel training, equipment calibration, records maintenance and security, treatment procedures and quality control. The ACR surveyors also conduct interviews with the Chief Physicist of the Department of Radiation Oncology. One of the primary goals of this on-site survey is to ensure that the proper protocols are in place for quality assurance.
Within the Department of Radiation Oncology, equipment quality assurance is handled by the physicists. These scientists ensure the machines that produce the radiation are calibrated correctly. “We have to make sure what we’ve calculated reflects what is actually given to the patient,” said Dr. Schroeder. The physicians work with the physicists to achieve the consistency of quality care within the department.
The accreditation confirms that the UNM Cancer Center Radiation Oncology Department meets countrywide standards and benchmarks in an environment that provides quality care and treatment. “The real value, in my opinion, is in the process and not the result,” said Dr. Schroeder.
About the UNM Cancer Center
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in the state. One of just 68 premier NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research, the delivery of high quality, state of the art cancer diagnosis and treatment to all New Mexicans, and its community outreach programs statewide. Annual federal and private funding of over $72 million supports the UNM Cancer Center’s research programs. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 60 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. It is home to New Mexico’s largest team of board-certified oncology physicians and research scientists, representing every cancer specialty and hailing from prestigious institutions such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic. Through its partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, the UNM Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to the southern part of the state; its collaborative clinical programs in Santa Fe and Farmington serve northern New Mexico and it is developing new collaborative programs in Alamogordo and in Roswell/Carlsbad. The UNM Cancer Center also supports several community outreach programs to make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment available to every New Mexican. Learn more at www.cancer.unm.edu.