Our Current RTOGF Communications Interns Discuss Their Experiences So Far: Rituraj Upadhyay, MD
January 16, 2024
Rituraj Upadhyay, MD, was selected to be one of two 2023 RTOG Foundation Communications Interns. This position began in July 2023 and will continue through July 2024. Dr. Upadhyay is currently the chief resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at The Ohio State University Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital. He is also a member of the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO) communications and global health subcommittee as well as a Radiological Society of North American (RSNA) resident representative for 2023. Dr. Upadhyay expressed that he believes effective communication plays a vital role in trial enrollment as well as shaping public perception and behavior towards cancer care. His primary areas of interest are CNS and pediatric radiation oncology, and his research focuses on improving patient-reported outcomes and therapeutic ratio of radiation, particularly by reducing late treatment-related toxicities in pediatric patients. He has won several awards including a recent ASTRO global health scholars program grant to work on implementation of AVATAR, an audiovisual assisted device aimed at reducing the need for pediatric anesthesia, in underserved regions, including low-middle income countries. Dr. Upadhyay has published several scientific papers in peer-reviewed medical journals, including lead author publications in Neuro-Oncology, Liver cancer, Stroke, International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, Practical Radiation Oncology, Frontiers in Oncology, Neuro-Oncology Advances, Surgical Oncology Clinics, the International Journal Molecular Sciences, Radiotherapy and Oncology, The Breast Journal, and Applied Radiation Oncology.
Q: What do you believe was the most impactful experience you encountered during your internship?
A: The most impactful experience for me during this internship was participating in RTOG and NRG meetings which not only helped me build professional connections, but also helped me understand the logistics of what goes in designing and implementing clinical trial protocols. This experience not only deepened my understanding of the intricacies of clinical research but also honed my analytical and critical-thinking skills. It underscored the importance of collaboration, attention to detail, and adherence to ethical standards in ensuring the success and integrity of clinical trials.
Q: What do you plan to bring forward from your internship experience into your career?
A: This internship has been instrumental in shaping my commitment to pursuing a career in clinical research and contributing to advancements in healthcare. It also allowed me to apply and enhance my skills in content creation, audience engagement, and data analytics. It also strengthens my belief in the power of social media to drive meaningful connections and achieve organizational goals.
Q: Do you feel like you had the opportunity to connect with mentors and learn about different areas of RTOGF?
A: Absolutely, I was able to meet and interact with leaders in the field. One of the highlights was getting to interview Dr. Michalski, ASTRO president, and interacting with him about clinical trials, education, and the future of radiation oncology.
Q: What advice would you give others who are considering applying for future RTOGF Communications Internship positions?
A: Overall, it is a great opportunity to network and engage with the radiation oncology community. The time commitment is minimal, so this is something which can be a part-time, meaningful experience. Also, the perks of getting to attend NRG meetings, where I could witness firsthand the meticulous attention to details and regulatory considerations in developing clinical trials.