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In Memoriam of Peter Dunscombe: Celebrating the Life and Accomplishments of Peter Dunscombe, PhD, FAAPM - A Tireless Champion of Quality of Care and Patient Safety

M Huq1*, B Thomadsen2*, P Halvorsen3*, (1) UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, (2) Madison, WI, (3) Lahey Health and Medical Center, Burlington, MA


(Tuesday, 7/16/2019) 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Room: 301

This session celebrates the life and accomplishments of Peter B. Dunscombe, PhD, FAAPM, whose illustrious 40 year career in Medical Physics was devoted to mentoring students, residents, and young professionals as well as making radiation therapy safer for patients around the world. He was passionate about improving quality and safety in radiation therapy. In this quest, he served in many capacities in organizations worldwide and advanced the profession of medical physics on many fronts. In AAPM he chaired the Workgroup (WG) on Prevention of Errors for many years. Under his leadership the WG pursued incident learning initiatives which ultimately led to the formation of Radiation Oncology Incident Learning Systems (RO-ILS). He was an active member of AAPM Task Group 100, which provided paradigm shift recommendations for how quality management activities should be performed in radiation therapy. He traveled around the world giving workshops on the TG-100 methodology to educate the medical physics community. Other important safety tools championed by Peter are “The Safety Profile Assessment� and “i.treatsafely�. These gave cancer professionals around the world tools to evaluate readiness of their centers for the safe treatment of cancer patients. Peter was instrumental in supporting many safety and quality initiatives undertaken by various Divisions within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These include writing web-based tools for safety and quality in radiotherapy, making significant contributions to the IAEA project “Quality Assurance Team for Radiation Oncology (QUATRO)� and advocating for the IAEA/WHO postal audit services. Peter was also very active at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO). He was a member of the Health Economics in Radiation Oncology (HERO) group and advanced the understanding of health economics and challenges faced by resource limited countries. Peter was also a faculty at the ESTRO clinical school on Comprehensive Quality Management in Radiotherapy. In the UK and in Canada, Peter influenced patient safety in radiotherapy practice by challenging the UK endeavors to improve patient safety and enhancing the Canadian Technical Standards (CPQR).
Peter impacted the lives of thousands of patients and families and this impact on oncology patient care has stretched across oceans. His dedication, talent, compassion and unwavering commitment to improve patient care inspired both his colleagues and patients. It is not an overstatement to say that because of Peter’s personal efforts, thousands of radiotherapy patients around the world are treated today with improved quality management procedures. The worldwide radiotherapy community will miss a tireless champion of quality of care and patient safety, a very generous and compassionate man, a person with a great sense of humor who loved all aspects of life.

Learning Objectives:
1. Learn about the contributions Peter made to enhance the safety and quality of care in radiation therapy
2. Learn about the development of TG-100 approaches to quality management in radiation therapy
3. Learn about Peter’s focus on resource-limited practice settings in the context of safety
4. Learn about the origins of incident learning and taxonomy for radiation therapy safety culture and Peter’s contributions in this regard



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