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International Day of Medical Physics 2016

On 7 November, the IAEA joined all medical physicists around the world in the celebration of the 4th International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP). An online meeting was organized connecting speakers from all parts of the world. The agenda of the meeting, together with other related documents and the poster of the event, is available on this page. A few video messages from different speakers were also projected in this occasion:

- Mr Ahmed Meghzifene, Section Head of the Dosimetry and Medical Radiation Physics Section at the IAEA

- Mr Jake Van Dyk - President of the association Medical Physicists for World Benefit

- Mr Julio Piñuela - originator of the idea to have a celebration day for medical physics, Medical Physicist at the Central Hospital in Maracay, Venezuela - The English translation is available among the relevant documents on this page

The International Day of Medical Physics was designated after Marie Curie’s birthday, to highlight and celebrate the important role played by medical physicists in healthcare. Madame Curie together with Pierre Curie, Roentgen and Becquerel pioneered research in the field of radiation. Furthermore, one of the first applications of x-rays has been in the medical field, only a few months after their discovery (1895). The enormous potential of this new technology applied to diagnosis and treatment was immediately recognized at the time, while there was still no deep understanding of the dangers entangled with the use of radiation.

Medical physics is the science that originated from these early experiences with radiation and deals with the uses of radiation in medicine, taking care of both maximising the results (diagnostic or therapeutic) of the medical procedure and watching over the safety of patients. Clinically qualified medical physicists are highly specialized professionals that have received full postgraduate education in medical physics and have undergone a structured practical training in a clinical environment to prepare them to work safely and effectively with patients.

Medical physicists that work in hospitals are members of the multidisciplinary team involved in diagnosis and treatment of patients with ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, and contribute to ensuring a high standard of quality of service in healthcare. The primary role of medical physicist in clinical applications of radiation is to advise or assist other health care professionals in optimizing the balance between the beneficial and deleterious effects of radiation. Medical physicists also play a key role in the installation of new equipment with regard to the radiation protection of patients, workers and the public, including the design of radiation shielding. Moreover, clinical medical physicist are responsible for developing and implementing the physical and technical aspects of the quality assurance (QA) programmes in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Considering the fast advances of technology in healthcare and the increasingly complex medical environment, it is of crucial importance that medical physicists are properly trained and that their knowledge is maintained up to date. The lack of adequate academic education and clinical training, as well as continuous professional development, is an important topic for the medical physics profession. To highlight the importance of this issue, this year’s motto of the International Day of Medical Physics is: Education in Medical Physics: The Key to Success.

The IAEA is committed to supporting Member States in safely and effectively applying nuclear technologies to improve healthcare and ultimately benefit human health. To reach this goal, the IAEA provides freely accessible resources to help build capacities in the area of medical physics and radiation safety. Handbooks, guidelines and syllabi have been developed with the help of international experts and are made available to Member States on the IAEA website. These documents focus on the establishment of better education and training of medical physicists as well as on the procedures to be followed to improve the practice as well as safety and radiation protection of patients. A selection of these publications can be found here.
Related resources can be found here:

Radiation Protection of Patients - RPOP- IAEA
Article on the event on RPOP website
International Organization of Medical Physics - International Day of Medical Physics

You can find the complete recording of the e-meeting below: