Improving Health Through Medical Physics

AAPM Newsletter — Volume 42 No.2 — March | April 2017


Picture of Anna Rodrigues

At the request of the Education Council Chair Jim Dobbins, the Students and Trainees Subcommittee (STSC) would like to update the membership on our activities on behalf of the Education Council. It's a pleasure to serve as the chair of the STSC when you get to work with such an engaged and dedicated group of students, trainees, and mentors and I am excited to share the ongoing efforts of our subcommittee.

Our efforts to streamline and improve both the diversity and scheduling of events at the Annual Meetings led to the first-ever Student and Trainee Day at the 2016 meeting in Washington D.C. The events were exclusively geared towards students and trainees with minimal conflicting sessions, thus allowing for the maximum number of students and trainees to attend the following events: Attendees enjoyed talks from a panel of professionals with industry, academic, regulatory, and clinical backgrounds on The Many Paths of Medical Physics at the Annual Student Meeting. This was followed by a discussion on the Core Aspects of a Medical Physics Education at the Working Group on Student and Trainee Research (WGSTR) Lunch co-hosted by the STSC. At the Residency Fair over 130 attendees mingled with 60 Residency Programs, allowing prospective applicants to get to know program directors and residents face-to-face before application season. Complementary to the Residency Fair, the Working Group to Promote Non-Clinical Career Paths for Medical Physicists (WGNCMP) organized the first-ever Career Expo allowing attendees to meet physicists working in a variety of roles at companies, government agencies, and academic research. The Student and Trainee Night Out "kicked off" in the box suite of RFK Stadium, providing a relaxing atmosphere to network with fellow students, residents, and post-docs. Additionally, we held an Interview Workshop and continued our support of HQ on the Partners for the Future initiative. With the resounding success of these events, we are already in the midst of planning this year's Student and Trainee Day!

Since the inception of our subcommittee, we have rapidly expanded our initiatives beyond just the annual student meeting and every year we have more students and trainees joining the STSC. We have an active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and also manage our own blog. One of our goals is to engage with our constituents on a regular basis and the blog has especially been a great resource for the STSC to showcase topics such as An Inside Look into the Med Phys Match: Part 1, Pursuing Medical Physics as an International Student in the US, and Interview With AAPM Student Volunteers. We have also recently revamped the Student page on the AAPM website to create a better landing page for prospective and current students and trainees. Successful collaborations and liaisonships with other groups have reduced duplicative efforts and facilitated higher throughput of tasks. For example, we collaborated with the WGSTR, to co-host the Student Luncheon and members of the FUTUREs Working Group supported our Career Expo. One of our goals for the upcoming year is to incorporate more events at the AAPM meeting for undergraduate students by working closely with Brad Conrad, the Director of the Society of Physics Students, the WGSTR, and the Undergraduate Summer Fellowship and Outreach Subcommittee. Additionally, we have liaisons on the New Professionals Subcommittee, SDAMP, and Medical Physics Residency Training and Promotion Subcommittee (MPRTP).

The Working Group to Promote Non-Clinical Career Paths for Medical Physicists (WGNCMP) has been writing a paper that explores non-clinical career options for medical physicists as well as outlining what additional training may be needed for such careers. The increasingly stringent requirements to become a board-certified medical physicist predicated this work as there are not enough residency slots to accommodate all graduating medical physics graduate students. The WGNCMP has surveyed graduate program directors about the training they provide students for non-clinical careers, new physicists about how they perceive non-clinical careers, and current students about how much they know about non-clinical careers and their interest in pursuing them. The results of this research were summarized in a poster at the 2015 annual meeting and can be found on the minutes page of the committee website. The final piece of our research has been to interview medical physicists working across the non-clinical career spectrum to ascertain what they do, what they like about their jobs, how best to prepare for these careers. All of these aspects will be found in the paper which has been written for students to take charge of their own education. Watch the STSC blog for installments focusing on each career path and the AAPM Students and Trainees Subcommittee Facebook page for the finished product.

For more details about the STSC's efforts and initiatives, we will be publishing a newsletter in the coming weeks. Finally, all our activities are part of a greater effort to integrate students, residents, and post-docs and to show that they are welcomed and valued members of AAPM. If you have ideas on how to further support and include students and trainees within the AAPM organization, get in touch with us. We look forward to working with you!

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03-16-2017 22:02 PM

> at the 2016 meeting in Washington D.C. Given technology today, is it not imperative that we enable cyber participation for AAPM members not able to physically travel to a given location? It seems straightforward to utilize webcams and webinar technolo