Improving Health Through Medical Physics


Bruce Thomadsen, PhD | Madison, WI

AAPM Newsletter — Volume 43 No.1 — January | February 2018

Picture of AAPM 2018 Meeting Logo

Symposium Theme: Beyond the Future

Medical physicists, and medical physics as a field, face many challenges and potential threats. Most of these are economic in nature, from massive cuts to medical physics research from national agencies to changing patterns for reimbursement. Others may be changes in clinical practice, such as increasing use of physicists' assistants, or technological advances, possibly great strides in immunotherapy. In the recent past, discussions at AAPM have focused on preparing for the future or sometimes trying to predict the future.

Predicting can only allow preparation for the near future, that which can be seen, however dimly. To remain relevant, we, medical physicists and AAPM, need to try to drive conditions to create a friendly environment in the farther future. Thus, the oxymoron of the theme stresses that AAPM's planning needs to look past the future as we see it, while recognizing that however diligently we plan, there should be no expectation that the future will follow the plan. That being understood, the more we plan, the better prepared we will be to adapt our plan to changing conditions. Part of a good plan is for AAPM to be one of the forces that shapes the changes that we encounter.

This year's President's Symposium will address various aspects of the future, considering the agents of change mentioned above, where medical physics may head and how we should think about planning. We have an exciting lineup of speakers, including Paul B. Brown, author of Own Your Future and many other books on shaping your destiny. Robert Jeraj will talk about new frontiers for medical physics. I am hoping that through the meeting, we all discuss the challenges and share our thoughts. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting and hearing your ideas.

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