New Investigator Spotlight: Wesley Talcott, MD

April 01, 2024

Dr. Wesley Talcott is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and a radiation oncologist at Northwell Health. Dr. Talcott’s work focuses on the use of radiotherapy for early breast cancer and treatment recommendations for elderly patients with breast cancer. One of his current projects “Rates of problematic plan detection and factors associated with detection during Radiation Oncology physician peer review: A multi-institutional prospective study” was recently presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting in October 2023.

Dr. Talcott currently serves as a committee member on the ASTRO Multidisciplinary Quality Assurance (MDQA) Committee and the American College of Radiology (ACR) Council of Affiliated Regional Radiation Oncology Societies (CARROS)  Quality & Safety Committee. He also is an American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Annual Meeting Abstract Reviewer for Patient Safety as well as a reviewer for the journals Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and Practical Radiation Oncology


Q: What kind of research are you currently engaged with?

A: My research is primarily in the areas of quality & safety and health care economics. Specifically, I’m interested in determining the strengths and weaknesses of the “chart rounds” peer review format. Despite being performed at most North American radiation oncology centers, the heterogeneity in HOW it is practiced is remarkable, and determining best practices is a major need in radiation oncology. On the health care economics side, we’re currently investigating how current trends in treatment such as increasing adoption of hypofractionation and adaptive planning play into staffing needs.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment so far in regard to your research/career?

A: Helping students and trainees launch and complete their own research projects has been extremely rewarding. While rare, the most gratifying recognition for research I have produced has come from patients I see in clinic. It is meaningful to hear that they have reviewed my CV and were drawn to (or just appreciate) our work towards safer and higher quality radiation therapy. I think patients have unique perspective on the importance of this work.

Q: What are you most interested in achieving through your research/career?

A: Seeing research implemented and positively influencing practice is the ultimate achievement. The field has come a long way over the past 20 years with regard to safety, quality and efficiency, but there is still substantial room for refinement. Identifying and quantifying the benefit of the most successful practices nationally (so that other institutions can replicate these practices) could lead to real, rapid improvement in the care the field delivers. Hopefully, these improvements will contribute to both patients and providers of healthcare sleeping a bit more soundly at night.

Q: What inspired you to become involved in cancer research and/or specifically your field?

A: In training, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Suzanne Evans at Yale, who has been a leader in the quality and safety space for many years. I feel there is a lack of exposure to this type of research in many training curriculums. Getting that exposure and subsequently realizing that I had a strong interest in participating in that work was a huge stroke of luck. Dr. Louis Potters, my current chair at Northwell, was also very supportive of this work even before I joined as faculty.

Q: What has been your experience engaging in the Radiation Oncology community and with RTOGF?

A: I continue to be impressed with the kindness and professionalism of the radiation oncology research community as I become more integrated into that community. In committees and working groups, even senior exports seek input from new members, leading to an impressive exchange of ideas that benefits all participants. I think this is a particular strength of our field.


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