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Session: 2022 Annual Student Meeting: Global Medical Physics: Experiences, Lessons, and Getting Involved [Return to Session]

2022 Annual Student Meeting: Global Medical Physics: Experiences, Lessons, and Getting Involved

W Ngwa1*, A Yorke2*, A Rubinstein3*, S Avery4*, (1) Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC, (2) University of Washington, Seattle, WA, (3) Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, (4) University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA


SU-AB-BRC-0 (Sunday, 7/10/2022) 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Ballroom C

The 2022 Annual Student Meeting will discuss medical physics in the international community, with an emphasis on increasing accessibility through global medical physics volunteerism. It will focus on personal experiences working with various organizations, both in radiation therapy and imaging, to increase medical physics access, education, and training around the world.

The motivation for this session stems from the lack of healthcare accessibility in low- and middle-income countries around the world. Pertaining to medical physics specifically, the majority of the non-developed world does not have equitable access to radiotherapy and imaging. As a result, there is a decrease in the disease cure rate when compared to the developed world.

It is important for students and trainees to learn the importance of global medical physics and how to get involved, as the lack of high-quality physics education and training in low- and middle-income countries remains one of the largest barriers to equitable access to healthcare. This session will focus on the current state of medical physics globally, international volunteering experiences of current/recent students and trainees in radiotherapy and imaging physics, and the established and still needed pathways for students to get involved.

As part of this meeting, we will have four speakers, each with a different perspective, discuss their role in global medical physics and highlight how students can participate. To start the session, a highly experienced physicist, Dr. Wilfred Ngwa, will give an overview of the state of medical physics internationally and highlight the AAPM initiatives and collaborations with outside organizations meant to address any deficits in education and training.

Following Dr. Ngwa’s overview, we are fortunate to have two speakers who have worked abroad to address the need for medical physics education and training through non-governmental volunteer organizations. Dr. Afua Yorke will first share her eye-opening experience volunteering in Ghana and learning about the unique problems medical physicists face in low-resource areas. Next, Dr. Ashley Rubinstein will share her experiences improving access to imaging medical physics with RAD-AID, both abroad in Morocco and Mexico, as well as remote international work.

Dr. Stephen Avery is our fourth speaker, and as an educator, graduate program director, and AAPM leader, will discuss how students and trainees can find mentors and pathways to facilitate global health volunteerism. His broad experiences in international medical physics efforts and global health as a whole will provide invaluable input to this session.

The meeting will conclude with a panel of our four speakers focusing on how students and trainees can get involved now and the impact of international volunteer work on career trajectory. The panel will provide attendees the opportunity to ask questions and interact more personally with the speakers.

Learning Objectives:
1. Learn about the efforts that AAPM and other organizations are working on to improve medical physics access, education, and training around the world
2. Get insights into first-hand experiences from physicists who have volunteered to grow global medical physics initiatives
3. Learn about medical physics pathways for students, trainees, and early career physicists to get involved in global health volunteerism


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