Medical physicists at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently gathered at an event to observe the International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP) and raise awareness about their role in safe radiation and radioactive material use for patients.
The International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) organizes the day to commemorate the birthday of Ms. Marie Sklodowska-Curie, known for her pioneering research on radioactivity. This year’s theme is ‘Looking into the Body: Advancement in Imaging through Medical Physics.’
Though their role is less popular in the medical field, medical physicists work in the following healthcare specialties: diagnostic and intervention radiology (also known as medical imaging), nuclear medicine and radiation oncology (also known as radiotherapy).
“We celebrate this day to highlight the importance of medical physicists and their role in safe radiation or radioactive material use, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine safety,” said Dr. Huda Al Naemi, Executive Director of HMC’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Department, which organized the event.
Dr. Al Naemi noted that medical physicists’ roles in radiation and nuclear medicine include mastering the diagnosis of radioactive doses according to the standards and guidelines set by international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
She explained that Ms. Sklodowska-Curie’s birthday was chosen as the day to highlight medical physics because her work helped to draw attention to the harmful effects of radiation,especially when she became ill due to prolonged exposure to radiation and radioactive materials.
“Last year, IOMP decided to dedicate a day as the International Day for Medical Physics in order to focus on this science and to spread awareness of the importance of this field of study. It was also to celebrate Ms. Sklodowska-Curie, who became ill through radiation use and exposure because it was not yet known that radiation was harmful to health. Her birth date was therefore designated as a day to honor her courage and prowess in the discovery of radiation’s harmful effects.
Ms. Sklodowska-Curie received two noble prizes in Physics and Chemistry for her work.
“We are always conducting radiation safety courses for all radiation workers across HMC as well as outside the corporation. This is essential as part of their licensing procedure and to ensure they are fully qualified to handle radiation and radioactive materials,” said Dr. Al Naemi, regarding HMC’s efforts at promoting radiation safety.
A Medical Physicist of the Year Award has also been introduced to recognize the contribution of individuals who have made a significant mark in the science of radiation.
“This year, we are giving this important award to Dr. Noora Al Hammadi, Chairperson of the Radiotherapy Department at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) for the moral and institutional support she is providing to medical physicists in her department.”
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