The Occupational Health and Safety Department at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has once again celebrated the annual International Day of Medical Physics which aims to raise awareness of the role that medical physicists play in patient care. The theme for the day this year is – ‘Education in Medical Physics – the Key to Success’.

To mark the day, more than 100 healthcare professionals including medical physicists, biomedical engineers, radiographers, oncologists, radiologists, nuclear medicine specialists, technicians and radiation safety officers attended a celebratory event on 7 November 2016.  This event honoured outstanding medical physicists with HMC’s “Medical Physicist of the Year” Award in recognition of their contribution to the science of radiation.

Dr Huda Al Naemi, Executive Director of HMC’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Department and Vice President of the Middle East Federation of Organizations of Medical Physics (MEFOMP) said:

We are proud to be celebrating another successful year of great contribution and achievements by our medical physicists to Qatar’s healthcare sector and HMC in particular.’

Dr Al Naemi explained that in line with this year’s theme, HMC is providing a high level of specialised clinical training to all of its medical physicists. She said:

Because of their complex and highly specialised work, medical physicists are required to obtain an advanced postgraduate degree and then undergo specialised clinical training in one or more medical physics disciplines, such as radiation oncology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, nuclear medicine and radiation protection. Due to this high level of training, we are very confident that our medical physicists will continue to positively contribute to the safe and accurate use of radiation to achieve the best possible outcome of the prescribed medical procedure for either diagnosis or therapy.’

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.

The OHS Department, in collaboration with MEFOMP and the European Federation of Organizations of Medical Physics also organised a scientific workshop in observance of the day, which was initiated by the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP).

The IOMP chose the birthday of the famed physicist and chemist, Marie Sklodowska-Curie, on 7 November, as the international day in recognition of Curie’s pioneering research on radioactivity. Curie also helped draw attention to the harmful effects of radiation, particularly when she became ill due to prolonged exposure to radiation and radioactive materials.

Dr Al Naemi explained further:

More than half of medical physicists work as part of the healthcare team in radiotherapy and their contribution is crucial for radiation oncology. This highly skilled and trained healthcare workforce deals with some of the most complex equipment of our time and we want to focus global attention on this extremely important contribution of medical physicists to healthcare.’

Medical physicists assess radiation doses and associated risks to patients and personnel, especially to pregnant women and children. In addition, medical physicists play an important role in radiation protection education and training of healthcare professionals, and also participate in research and development to improve patient care.

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