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International Day of Medical Physics 2021

On 7 November 2021, the IAEA will join all medical physicists around the world and the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) in celebrating the 9th International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP).

7 November as IDMP

The 7 November was chosen as an international day to celebrate medical physics because on this same day in 1867, Marie Sklodowska-Curie, known for her pioneering research on radioactivity, was born in Poland. Since 2013, date of the first IDMP edition, every year, a specific topic is selected to highlight and celebrate different aspects of medical physics.

The topic chosen by IOMP this year is “Communicating the Role of Medical Physicists to the Public” which is connected to the recognition, as well as the visibility of the profession. Consequently, the IAEA will again reinforce the concept of recognition this year and has made available a new e-flyer for download on this page.

Recognition of CQMPs

The e-flyer conveys the question: “Do you recognize me?”, to highlight the lack of formal inclusion of medical physicists as part of the health workforce in most parts of the world, as well as the lack of awareness of the public and radiation medicine patients on the crucial role of clinically qualified medical physicists (CQMPs) in radiation diagnosis and treatment.

CQMPs are highly specialized professionals who have received postgraduate level education in medical physics and undergone structured and supervised clinical training. Medical physicists working 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. Wider understanding and awareness of this profession would underpin the global effort in promoting its recognition also at a legislative level.

Documents and Recent Guidelines

International guidelines clearly state that medical physicists are part of the health workforce. Medical physics has been included among the healthcare professions by the International Labour Organization (ILO), in the publication International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO). The IAEA International BSS (2014), HHS 25 (2013) and SSG 46 (2018) clearly refer to the medical physicist as health professional, stressing the importance of acquiring defined competencies to practice at the highest professional standards. Additionally, the IAEA launched this year specific guidelines for certification of CQMPs, TCS 71 which provide criteria for the establishment of national certification schemes and for the registration of medical physicists as well as recommendations for their continuous professional development. Indeed, the absence of professional recognition can hinder the access to adequate academic education, clinical training, as well as continuous professional development (CPD), and consequently result in unharmonized professional standards.

The Latin American region recently underwent efforts to harmonize the academic education and clinical training path for CQMPs; the guidelines, developed under the Acuerdo Regional de Cooperación para la Promoción de la Ciencia y la Tecnología Nucleares en América Latina y el Caribe (ARCAL), in the framework of the IAEA Technical Cooperation project RLA6082 are an adaptation of the IAEA TCS 56, 37, 47 and 50 to the regional needs and have been endorsed by the Asociación Latinoamericana de Física Médica (ALFIM). The guidelines have been launched in the occasion of this IDMP and are downloadable from this web page.

Material for the IDMP2021

The IAEA made available on this page the e-flyer, links to the main publications that you can refer to in supporting the recognition of the profession, a video of Ms Debbie van der Merwe, Head of the Dosimetry and Medical Radiation Physics Section and a downloadable infographic that can help Member States in devising a strategy for education and training of medical physicists.