Resident Alumni Spotlight – Dr Ryan Fisher

Ryan Fisher, PhD; DIMPR Resident

Dr Ryan Fisher is a UF graduate who has the official distinction of being the first UF Diagnostic Imaging Medical Physics Residency Program graduate. Centered in the Midwest, he is a well-known Medical Physicist.

Dr Fisher obtained a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 2004. He subsequently obtained his MS (2006) and his PhD (2010) in Medical Physics under Dr David Hintenlang at the University of Florida. While obtaining his MS and PhD degrees at UF, Dr Fisher also worked as a Medical Physics Graduate Assistant in the Department of Radiology, where he worked on multiple projects. These projects included: performing testing on a variety of diagnostic imaging equipment; developing a dose calculator for estimating peak skin dose from interventional procedures; developing techniques and materials to construct anthropomorphic physical phantoms; building and characterizing a fiber optic coupled dosimetry system; and performing CT organ dose measurements.

Subsequent to graduation, Dr Fisher became the first UF physics resident and laid the foundation for the nine residents that have followed in his footsteps. As a resident, he engaged in a multitude of clinical activities, including: quality control and acceptance testing; developing and implementing a patient dose tracking policy for

interventional radiology; participating in successful ACR accreditation of multiple MRI and CT scanners; participating in testing of equipment leading to an ACR Breast Imaging Center of Excellence designation; various teaching endeavors; and participation in multiple courses and workshops pertaining to radiation.

After completing residency, Dr Fisher quickly secured a position as a Staff Medical Physicist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. During his six years at Cleveland Clinic, Dr Fisher effectively managed a vast array of medical physics related responsibilities, including: serving as the Certified Radiation Expert for multiple hospitals; developing and overseeing maintenance of radiation quality assurance programs, developing a state-mandated fluoroscopy training program; serving as a fluoroscopic modality expert and directing a transition to an online-based patient fluoroscopic dose monitoring system; optimizing protocols and equipment use for pediatric imaging; streamlining and standardizing quality control policies; serving as a mentor for residency rotations; performing shielding designs and barrier surveys; and giving lectures and teaching labs to medical physicists, residents, and fellows.

While working at Cleveland Clinic, Dr Fisher was also appointed as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, where he taught fellows, residents, and technologists. In addition, he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at Cleveland State University, where he oversaw graduate research projects for Medical Physics graduate students, managed annual survey observations and labs, and gave lectures on Medical Physics topics.

In January 2019, Dr Fisher accepted a new position at MetroHealth in Cleveland, Ohio. As a Diagnostic Imaging Medical Physicist, his duties are vast. He participates in annual testing for all imaging modalities (which includes streamlining and standardizing annual testing procedures) and oversees protocol review for the CT imaging program. He also oversees the hospital-wide radiation occupational dose program. Recent projects include assisting with the development a hospital wide MRI safety training program and a hospital-wide cardiac implanted electronic device management policy for MRI.

Dr Fisher is currently appointed as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In this role, he primarily teaches principles of medical physics and radiation safety to radiology residents and technologists.  As an academic physicist, Dr Fisher dedicates much of his time to research. His current research focuses on Gadolinium deposition from contrast MR imaging and differences in clinical practice and image reject rates between CR and DR imaging. He has also given many presentations at regional and national meetings, and has collaborated on many publications.

In addition to his clinical responsibilities and research endeavors, Dr Fisher has integrated himself into the medical physics community. He is an active member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), the American Board of Radiology (ABR), and the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Dr Fisher is certified in Diagnostic Medical Physics by the American Board of Radiology. He is also certified as a Radiation Expert for Diagnostic Radiology and Mammography by the State of Ohio. In addition, he is recognized as a MR Safety Expert (MRSE) by the American Board of Magnetic Resonance Safety (ABMRS) and is MQSA certified.

Outside of physics, he enjoys spending time traveling, biking, and generally being outdoors with his wife, Kelly, and children, Wren (6) and Mo (2.5).

We are honored to highlight Dr Fisher and look forward to his continued success!

Q&A with Dr Fisher

Q. Why would you encourage an undergraduate student to go into Medical Physics and why would you encourage graduate students to continue to residency?

It’s an interesting and rewarding career in medicine (minus all the debt that comes from med school) where you get to work with a variety of people and technologies to help make healthcare better. Most grad students at this point will need to do a residency in order to get ABR certified and work clinically. At the time, I didn’t have to do a residency, but chose to in order to get a well rounded experience across all modalities, which could be difficult to get “on the job” depending on where you end up.

Q. How did the University of Florida prepare you for a career in Medical Physics and how did the residency benefit you?

A. Between the graduate coursework and the residency, I feel like I got a solid background in the fundamentals of imaging across all modalities. Through work as a GA, and in the residency, I got to tackle a lot of real world, day-to-day problems in the clinic – which is a great way to learn.

Q. What do you know now that you wish you had known as a graduate student and as a resident?

A. The best way to learn something is to jump in and get your hands dirty. You’re not going to figure out how to drive a stick-shift just by reading about it.

Q. What advice would you give to graduate students and residents in Medical Physics?

A. Work hard, ask questions, never stop learning, and “I’m not sure, let me look into that and get back to you” is a completely acceptable answer (though probably not on a test in grad school).

Q. How did you decide between therapeutic or diagnostic medical physics?

A. I liked the variety of working with the different modalities in diagnostic imaging and also working with the imaging faculty at UF. The fact that mistakes are way less likely to end in catastrophe is a plus too (not that I ever make mistakes).

Q. What is one of the most fulfilling aspects of your career?

A. I really like the wide variety of people I get to work with, including technologists, radiologists, residents, administrators, nurses, and engineers. Keeping up with the ever and quickly evolving technology is also a good way to keep on your toes.