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An International Virtual Network Bringing Together Medical Physics Students, Scientists and Professionals: One-Year Experience

I Rosado-Mendez1*, L Padilla2 , D Alvarez3 , M Porras-Chaverri4 , (1) Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, MEX (2) Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA (3) Miami Cancer Institute, Miami, FL, USA (4) Universidad de Costa Rica, San Jose, CR


(Monday, 7/30/2018) 1:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Room: Karl Dean Ballroom A2

Purpose: To present the experience of the first year of activities of the International Academic Virtual Exchange (IAVE) Medical Physics Network.

Methods: IAVE is a network that connects students and professionals with a common interest in Medical Physics and related areas. Its goal is to facilitate mentoring and exchange of knowledge using free virtual platforms (social media, virtual classrooms, etc) in order to transcend geographic borders. IAVE seeks to offer students (particularly those in low- and middle-income countries) opportunities to connect with fellow Medical Physics students, as well as with renown scientists and professionals in different parts of the world. To achieve this, the network is composed of four node institutions (Universidad de Costa-Rica UCR, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico UNAM, Virginia Commonwealth University VCU, and Miami Cancer Institute MCI). Node coordinators form the executive board that meets and manages IAVE using free social media tools.

Results: During the first year of activities, IAVE has recruited 19 professional members and 34 student members from 11 different institutions spread in six countries in the three Americas. Activities have included weekly journal clubs between VCU and UCR, two major talks between UCR and UNAM, and the first Virtual Congress between these three institutions that featured 12 peer-reviewed talks. All these activities made use of free communication tools and required no funding.

Conclusion: After one year of its conception, IAVE has triplicated the number of participating countries and has organized various activities that foster academic training of students. Future activities will include extending the journal club to other institutions and a mentorship program based on student pairing. Also, we are planning joint presentations of final projects from courses of the Medical Physics graduate programs at VCU, UCR and UNAM, as well as to extend the network to include members from other continents.


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