Improving Health Through Medical Physics

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategic Goal

Laura Cerviño, PhD | San Diego, CA

AAPM Newsletter — Volume 43 No. 6 — November | December 2018

At the Spring Clinical Meeting in April 2018, AAPM Board of Directors had a retreat to discuss and approve a strategic plan. The objective was to set strategic goals for the next five years, with the idea in mind that these goals would be part of a dynamic document. During the discussions that happened at the retreat, diversity and inclusion in the medical physics field was identified as a strategic goal that AAPM as a leading organization should work towards. At the end of the day-and-a-half retreat, the Board approved the strategic goals. Since the diversity goal was brought up during the discussions and there was not enough time during the meeting to further shape the goal, AAPM President Bruce Thomadsen formed an ad-hoc committee to draft the strategic goal on diversity. This committee worked during two months to name and draft the strategic goal, and it was finally approved during AAPM board meeting on August 2.

The strategic goal on equity, diversity, and inclusion, and objectives were defined as follows:

  • Champion Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in the field of medical physics
  • Objectives
    • Evaluate EDI in the current AAPM organizational structure and activities
    • Create and sustain the structure in AAPM necessary to support the EDI strategic goal
    • Cultivate and encourage a diverse pool of trainees for entry into medical physics and AAPM
    • Create and deliver professional and educational content that supports the importance of EDI, specifically supporting the needs of underrepresented medical physicists
    • Collaborate with other professional organizations to implement and support the commitment to EDI in the medical physics field
    • Ensure that the EDI strategic objectives and AAPM's core mission of advancing medicine through excellence in the science, education, and professional practice of medical physics are continually aligned.

While there are many individual and independent efforts to study and evaluate EDI in the medical physics field, its identification as a strategic goal means that AAPM will work towards it and will allocate resources for that purpose as needed and available. The Women's Professional Subcommittee (WPSC) and the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee (WMRSC) were identified as the initial pillars to start building upon the strategic goal. These two committees will coordinate efforts to evaluate AAPM infrastructure and resources to achieve the goal's objectives.

On top of the prior initiatives from WPSC and WMRSC, such as professional and educational sessions during the annual meeting, newsletters, and annual women's luncheon, two of the first initiatives resulting from the approval of the EDI strategic goal are: 1) a climate survey amongst AAPM members, which is currently being shaped; and 2) AAPM's Accelerating Mid-Career Physicists in Leadership specialty meeting, for which the first proposal has been submitted to the Professional Council. These initiatives are led by groups with members in both the WPSC and WMRSC working together.

Other strategic goals approved by AAPM Board of Directors, also listed here, include:

  1. Drive scientific and clinical innovation in medical physics to improve human health
  2. Enhance the value of AAPM membership experience and services
  3. Promote leadership role of the organization and its members
  4. Cultivate excellence in medical physics education
  5. Practice stewardship in continuous assessment of programs and services
  6. Improve communication internally and externally
  7. Ensure High-Quality patient care

Anyone interested in further information, in getting involved, or in providing suggestions and comments on the Diversity and Inclusion strategic goal can contact Laura Cerviño, Chair of the WPSC, or Julianne Pollard-Larkin, Chair of the WMRSC.

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