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President's Symposium: Beyond the Future

B Thomadsen1*, T DeWeese2*, V Rao3*, B Thomadsen4*, R Jeraj5*, P Brown6*, B Thomadsen7*, (1) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, (2) John Hopkins Oncology Center, Baltimore, MD, (3) Thomas Jefferson University & Jefferson Health, Philadelphia, PA, (4) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, (5) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, (6) ,Duxbury, MA, (7) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI


(Monday, 7/30/2018) 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Room: Karl Dean Ballroom C

Beyond the Future: The Road Ahead.
The medical landscape is changing rapidly and it is undermining the security that medical physics has known for decades. Funding for clinical medical physics has become, and will be come, tighter. Medical physicists will increasingly be replaced by medical physicists' assistants. Funding for medical physics research will continue to dwindle. Medical Physicists will play a major role in big data and artificial intelligence in the immediate future, yet may be replaced by their own efforts. The medical physicists of the future cannot expect to practice as in the past.

Medical Physics has scored great successes and made tremendous impact in medicine, particularly in radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging. However, large parts of medicine remain largely untouched by medical physics, missing critical opportunities for future expansion. Medical physics has derived well-prescribed and well-regulated education and training through CAMPEP-approved programs. However, while they do an excellent job of training medical physicists to perform clinical service, they provide little room for innovative training for challenges that physicists will face in the future. Medical physics is well embedded in many of the clinical departments, providing a critical bridge to medical sciences. However, at the same time, medical physicists have largely lost connections to physics departments and undergraduates that provide the core of our expertise. In order to continue the fascinating path of medical physics in the future, it is not enough to simply "evolve". We can not just simply walk into different departments in the hospital, we can not just simply add new courses to the existing curriculum, and we can not just simply get academic appointments in physics departments. We need to think out of the box! We should be an active player in the largest initiatives of the medicine today, and we should lead the the projects of the magnitude of largest fundamental physics discoveries. We have plenty to learn from both, medicine and physics, but ultimately, it is up to us to create our future.

The Best Way to Prepare for the Future? Create it. (Paul Brown)
Message: We tend to think about the future the wrong way. We either look at what has happened in the past, and assume things are going to continue more or less as they are. Or we make (semi-educated) guesses about what we think is going to happen and prepare the best we can based on those assumptions. But the problem with either approach is it leaves us at the mercy of forces beyond our control. We are always reacting to what happens. That's inefficient at best and extremely frustrating at worst.

Q: What's a better approach?
A: Creating the future you want.
How do you do that? Here's a four-step approach: You figure out what you want to have happen and then you:
1. Act. By taking a small step toward your goal. After you do, you pause to see what you have learned.
2. Learn. You incorporate that learning into how you are thinking about achieving your goal.
3. Build. You build off that learning in preparation for taking your next step. Then you repeat the process, which is the last step.
4. Repeat. You take another small step; pause to see what you learned from step two; building that learning into what you do next and then take another small step. And so on.
That cycle continues (i.e., repeats) until you succeed, know you are not going to, or decide there is another, more appealing opportunity to pursue. The Takeaway from the Talk: Take action. Embrace uncertainty. Create the future.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand that times are changing and will change more and faster in the future.
2. Cast a wider view of what medical physics is and can do.
3. You need to take actions to create your future.



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