The Penn State College of Medicine Nittany Lion statue is seen surrounded by plants in the central courtyard of the College in June 2016.

3+ Diagnostic Radiology Accelerated Pathway

Building a Pathway to Diagnostic Radiology

The Penn State College of Medicine 3+ Diagnostic Radiology Accelerated Pathway (DR-APPS) is a three-year accelerated MD specialty pathway with direct progression to the Diagnostic Radiology Residency program. Students will complete their medical degree in three years, followed by residency training in Diagnostic Radiology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The benefits of the DR-APPS program include:

  • Reduction of the cost of medical education and travel expenses for residency application
  • Early career entry
  • Linked undergraduate and graduate medical education, which optimizes opportunities for continuity of patient care, mentoring and advising

Students accepted into this pathway will receive mentoring and support throughout their medical education with the goal that graduates of the DR-APPS program will be prepared to assume the responsibilities of residency in Diagnostic Radiology.

Pathway Details

What is DR-APPS exactly?

The 3+ DR-APPS pathway is designed for students to complete their medical degree in three years, followed by diagnostic radiology residency training at Penn State Health. Applicants will complete an internship following graduation from medical school followed by four years in our diagnostic radiology residency program. Fellowship opportunities are available in the department if desired.

Applicants in this pathway have been offered acceptance to Penn State College of Medicine and demonstrated strong academic performance at the time of application. Students in the DR-APPS program will complete core requirements and achieve school-wide competencies within three years of matriculation.

The 3+ DR-APPS pathway is an immersive experience in professional development. Students in this program receive longitudinal mentoring and guidance by dedicated faculty and become acculturated to the Department of Radiology. It is therefore anticipated that students will possess the strong skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the diagnostic radiology residency program.

How many students do you accept each year?

Up to one student will be accepted into the pathway per year.

What are the Pathway Objectives?

  • To provide a curriculum that allows students to complete all graduation requirements toward the MD degree in a three-year time frame.
  • To provide the appropriate mentorship to support the students’ training with the goal that graduates of the DR-APPS program will be prepared to assume the responsibilities of residency in diagnostic radiology.
  • To develop an UME-GME linkage in training to enhance mentorship and reduce fragmentation in medical training.

By the end of this pathway, the student will:

  • Accomplish all graduation requirements in three-year time frame
  • Identify longitudinal career mentors in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology as part of the process of identifying with their chosen specialty
  • Be prepared to engage in scholarly activity during residency through deliberate and intentional research activities during the Medical Student Research project phase of the DR-APPS curriculum

What does the curriculum involve?

The program is divided into phases:

Phase I, Foundations of Medicine (pre-clerkship)

  • Phase I will be the same for students in DR-APPS as students in the four-year curriculum, except certain Phase II courses and electives are offered early to permit acceleration.
  • In the spring of the first year, students will enroll in a career confirmation elective (CCE) similar to other 3+ track early residency curricula currently in place at the College of Medicine. CCE will be held during afternoon hours to avoid conflict with other Phase I curricular requirements.
  • Students will also enroll in electives and clerkships during the summer between the first and second academic year.

Phase II, Clinical Core Clerkships

  • During Phase II, DR-APPS students will complete the Emergency Medicine Acting Internship (AI) and the remainder of the usual Phase II clerkships in the block model.

Phase III, Transition to Residency

  • During Phase III, DR-APPS students will
    • Take and pass USMLE Step I and 2 exams.
    • Participate in the Critical Care Acting Internship.
  • Participate in additional coursework, including Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting, electives, Humanities Selective, and Transition to Residency, will provide students with the requisite courses to meet graduation coursework requirements.

What deliverables are expected of the student?

(e.g., scholarly project, thesis, capstone project, presentation, publication, accomplishments for the portfolio, teaching activities and reflection paper)

Students in all 3+ tracks, including DR-APPS, must meet the same educational objectives/subcompetencies and graduation requirements as the four-year program. However, in the 3+ tracks, career exploration electives in Phase II and certain electives are waived.

All students in 3+ tracks must complete a minimum of eight weeks of electives and a medical student research project.

The methods of assessment in the DR-APPS track will be identical to those of the main four-year program, including completion of a portfolio to provide documentation of meeting subcompetencies.

What if I decide Diagnostic Radiology isn’t for me or the Department of Radiology isn’t where I want to do my residency?

Students may opt out of the DR-APPS track and re-enter the regular curriculum at any time.

Application Process

Students may apply for entry into the DR-APPS pathway at two points – after acceptance into the MD program at Penn State College of Medicine and before matriculation and in Year 1 of medical school. Once accepted into the College of Medicine, students may submit a secondary application to DR-APPS to register interest in the program. Depending on the availability of positions, students may also have the opportunity to apply for DR-APPS in the fall of their first year of study.

The ideal student candidate:

  • Demonstrates a strong interest in diagnostic radiology.
  • Is a self-directed learner with a strong academic background.
  • Possesses excellent organizational and communication skills.

A selection committee composed of educational leadership in the Department of Radiology will review applications, interview applicants and make the final selection for DR-APPS.

Students in the DR-APPS track must maintain good academic standing. A student who fails to meet expectations in any courses or subcompetencies will re-enter the four-year program with earned course credits carried over to the four-year program.

Pathway Faculty


Alison L. Chetlen, DO FSBI
Professor of Radiology, Vice Chair of Education
Department of Radiology
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-1495 (office)


A portrait photograph of Dr. Alison L. Chetlen in front of a professional photo background.
Alison L. Chetlen, DO FSBI


  • Don Flemming, Diagnostic Radiology Program Director
  • Angela Choe, Associate Program Director
  • Joseph Fotos, Associate Program Director
  • Jeanine Beatty-Chadha, Curriculum and Educational Development Specialist Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education

Faculty Divisional Champions

  • Carissa White, Division of Musculoskeletal Imaging
  • Jonathon Maffie, Division of Neuroradiology
  • Mike Bruno, Division of Emergency Radiology
  • Rekha Cherian, Division of Thoracic Imaging
  • Frank Luke, Division of Abdominal Imaging
  • Kate McGillen, Division of Abdominal Imaging, Ultrasound
  • Seth Hardy, Division of Abdominal Imaging, Leadership
  • Joseph Fotos, Division of Nuclear Medicine
  • Angela Choe, Division of Breast Imaging

Contact Us

Additional questions and inquiries can be made to:

Alison L. Chetlen, DO FSBI
Professor of Radiology, Vice Chair of Education
Department of Radiology
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-1495


Laurie Shearer

Phone: 717-531-5928


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