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IOMP Webinar: IOMP's 60th Anniversary: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Join the The International Organiation for Medical Physics (IOMP) as it gathers the Medical Physicists worldwide to celebrate its 60th Anniversary with the theme "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants". Event details Platform: Zoom Duration: 1 hour Date: November 7, 2023

Time: 8:00 PM, Philippine Standard Time

Organizers: John Damilakis & Magdalena Stoeva

Moderators: John Damilakis & Eva Bezak



Prof. Azam Niroomand-Rad, PhD, DSc, FAAPM, FACMP, DABR, FIOMP, FIUPESM

Azam Niroomand-Rad was born in Tehran, Iran. Encouraged by her math/physics teacher and inspired by Maria Skłodowska-Curie, she won Fulbright Scholarship for college education and went to USA in 1966. Azam completed BS in Math/Physics with honors (Summa Cum Laude & Phi Beta Kappa) from State University of NY in 1970 and then PhD in Atomic and Molecular Physics from Michigan State University in 1978.

Azam Niroomand-Rad received Postdoc Fellowship in 1981 and worked at the Department of Medical Physics at University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin under supervision of late Profs John Cameron and Herb Attix. She has specialized in therapeutic medical physics and has been certified by American College of Radiology (ACR) in 1988 by American Board of Medical Physics (ABMP) in 1990.

Prof. Niroomand-Rad worked at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee (1983-1988) and then at the Department of Radiation Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC until her retirement in 2008. She is now an Honorary Prof. at University of Wisconsin-Madison where she lives.

Prof Azam Niroomand-Rad is first (and thus far only) woman to serve as IOMP President (2003-2006). She is founder of the AAPM / IOMP International Scientific Exchange Programs (ISEP) for developing countries and has served on many AAPM / IOMP committees / Task Forces including International Labor Organization (ILO) (1991- 2008). She has published numerous articles and book chapters and has been Co-Inventor of a US Patent for designing a novel stereotactic method for treatment of spine lesions. She has received many Honors and Awards from numerous organizations including Honorary Doctor of Science Degree (DSc.) in 2001, AAPM Life-Time Achievement in Medical Physics (Quimby Award) (2006), and IOMP Marie Skłodowska Curie Award (2009) for a distinguished career contributing to the advancement of international medical physics through research, teaching and leadership.


First Giant of Medical Physics

• Since Nov. 7, 2013, Marie birthday is celebrated as International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP). • She was the first scientist to introduce the principles of physics in the field of medicine with a focus on diagnosis and treatment of diseases. • How did she create Medical Physics not knowing what it was? • How did she know her discoveries could transform the practice of physics and chemistry? • How great scientists are formed? Is it: time/place of birth, upbringing, hardships, hard works, obstacles to overcome? Or is it: curiosity, courage, persistence, patient, problem solving, open-mindedness, communication skill, willingness to take risks, detail-oriented, critical thinking, and creativity? • I believe Maria had most of these personal and scientific attributes. She took “path less traveled.” • I believe Maria’s family tragedies in Poland, her financial difficulties in college, along with poor research condition and sudden death of her husband Pierre Curie may have contributed to her becoming stronger and more determined to reach her goals.

Role Model: Marie Skłodowska-Curie

• Most people have some role models and heroes when they are growing up. • When I was growing up in Tehran, Iran, I had no idea what Medical Physics was but I knew that Marie Curie had a remarkable life in Poland under Russian occupation and had difficult life in Paris and had won 2 Nobel Prizes in: Physics and Chemistry. • Encouraged by my teachers and inspired by Marie Curie, I studied Math/Physics in High School. • Then I received Fulbright scholarship to go to US (1966) for my college education. • This was a difficult decision for my family and a big risk for me since I had never had to leave my family / country. • I knew studying Physics will be a long and winding path for me when I left Iran. • My journey to US at a young age, brought both challenges and opportunities. • Had to overcome obstacles to reach my goals/dream with determination / discipline. • Feeling homesick, facing cultural differences, had to overcome language barriers, I escaped to study long hours in libraries. • Completed BS in Math/Physics with honors (Suma Cum Laude) from State University of New York in Albany, NY. (1970) • Completed PhD in Atomic/Molecular Physics from Michigan State University, MI (1978)

New Professional Path: Medical Physics Career

• In 1981 when I saw a Postdoc Advertisement in Physics Today by late Prof. John Cameron, I called him and asked him “What is Medical Physics?”. • After some conversation, when he learned about my Math/Physics background, he asked me to come to the UW-Madison within a few days before he goes to China. • Luckily, I started my Postdoc Fellowship (1981) at the UW-Madison under supervision of late Prof. Cameron and Prof. Attix not knowing much about Medical Physics. • I learned that in 1981 John had established the 1st Medical Physics Department in US. • With a step-function change in my career (theoretical physics to applied physics), I had to decide between diagnostic and therapeutic Medical Physics. • This was not an easy decision. Eventually chose therapeutic MP and became certified by American College of Radiology (1988) and American Board of Medical Physics. (1990). • I became qualified to work at medical schools with patient care, research and teaching duties. • Inspired by John Cameron and Larry Lanzel for improving MP globally, in 1988, I founded the AAPM/IOMP International Scientific Exchange Programs (ISEP) for developing countries. • Initially with no funding from AAPM and IOMP and some resistance from developing countries, I did not know how to implement these programs. • With the help of the American colleagues, including Faiz Khan and Colin Orton, we were able to offer these programs for free and established several MP Associations / Societies in Pakistan, Iran, Morocco, Egypt, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey, Russia, Bangladesh, Iraq, etc.

Lessons Learned, Plans Pursued, Future Actions

• Soon we learned that since MP was not listed as occupation by ILO (International Labor Organization), there were inertia to change / establish PM profession in developing countries. • In 1994, in coordination with IOMP Presidents (Keith Boddy and Colin Orton), I provided data/documents as needed till MP profession was recognized and listed by ILO (2008). • Encouraged by Larry Lanzl and John Cameron and supported by Colin Orton, I was nominated for IOMP Presidency in 2000 and became IOMP President (2003-2006). • In collaboration with Colin Orton, we re-wrote IOMP Bylaws, established Rules Com., Joined IUPAP (Int’l Union of Pure and Applied Physics) as Affiliated Commission on Medical Physics (IntComMP), established Honors & Awards, including Marie Skłodowska-Curie Award for Distinguished Career in Research, Teaching, and Leadership. • I was honored to receive Maria Skłodowska-Curie Award in 2009 and AAPM Life Time Achievement Award (Quimby Award) in 2006. • What Actions could be taken by the next generation of Medical Physicists? • Today, MP is exciting, dynamic and unique. There are new challenges to overcome to foster the next generation of MPs: Integration and sharing skills & expertise including creation and application of novel technical approaches with artificial intelligent robots that may increase efficiency/ efficacy of patient care in urban and underserved remote areas which have limited local resources.

Colin G. Orton

Ph.D. in Radiation Physics from the University of London. Past Secretary-General of the IOMP and Past President of several organizations including the IOMP, IUPESM, IMPCB, AAPM, ACMP, and ABS. Chief Medical Physicist at New York University School of Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, and Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University, where I am currently Professor Emeritus. Past Editor of Medical Physics World, Medical Physics, Bulletin of the American College of Medical Physics, and the AAPM Quarterly Bulletin. Author or coauthor of about 300 papers in refereed journals, over 50 book chapters and 600 presentations, and author, coauthor, or editor of over 50 books. Major research interests have been bioeffect dose modeling, development of new fractionation and dose-rate regimes, HDR brachytherapy, cervix and breast radiotherapy, radiobiology, radiation carcinogenesis, radiation induced injuries, and radiotherapy physics.


I will be reviewing experiences when helping incoming Vice-President Prof. Larry Lanzl establish Medical Physics World in 1982 and as MPW Editor from 1985-1988, as IOMP Secretary-General from 1988-1994, and as IOMP President from 2000-2003. Memorable events during my terms of office included the establishment of the IOMP Library Program, the Travel Scholarships program for attendance at the World Congress by developing country delegates, the publishing agreement between the IOMP and the IOP, the IOMP/AAPM International Scientific Exchange Program (ISEP), the Donation of New and Used Equipment program, and the awarding of Full Membership in ICSU. Personal memories include helping countries establish their national medical physics organizations so as to apply for IOMP membership, participating in the 1st IOMP/AAPM ISEP course in Pakistan in 1992, and participation in the 1991 USSR medical physics conference when the USSR was dissolving, and the member countries voted to form their own national medical physics societies.

Fridtjof Nüsslin Education & Academic Qualification:

1959 Study of Physics and Medical Sciences at universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg; 1968 Dr.rer.nat., Physics and Physiology, University of Heidelberg; Postdoctoral fellowship at Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg; 1979 Qualification university lecturer in Medical Physics; 1984 Professor Medical Physics;


1970 Physicist at Radiotherapy Department, Medical School Hannover; 1987-2004 Full professor Medical Physics at the University of Tübingen;

Scientific Activities & Topics of interest:

Radiotherapy Treatment Optimisation, Conformal Radiotherapy (IMRT, IGRT); Dosimetry and Treatment Planning Optimization, Conformal Radiotherapy, Image Guidance, Advanced Technologies (particle beam therapy, laser application in imaging & particle beam therapy), Imaging technology (MRI/MRS, PET, CT); Biological & Molecular Imaging, Biological Modeling, Small Animal Image Guided High Precision Irradiation Technology. Treatment planning, Radiotherapy equipment, Dosimetry; Quality Assurance in Radiotherapy and Radiology; Radiation Protection; Non-Ionizing Radiation Effects; Hyperthermia; Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies. National and International professional matters of Medical Physicists, Medical Physics in developing countries. Education & Training Programmes

Professional Activities:

Since 2004 Professor Biomedical Physics at Technische Universität München Various positions held in scientific organisations, boards, committees in Germany; 1990-1994 president DGMP 1994-1996 EFOMP Chair Scientific Committee; 1996-1998 EFOMP President. 2000-2006 IOMP Chair International Advisory Board 2006-2009 IOMP Vice President (elect) 2009-2012 IOMP President 2012-2015 IUPESM Vice-President


2004 Honorary membership of the Czech Association for Medical Physicists (CAMP) 2005 Honorary membership of the European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics (EFOMP) 2006 Honorary membership DEGRO (German Society of Radiooncology) 2008 Honorary membership OEGRO (Austrian Society of Radiooncology) 2008 Distinguished Affiliated Professor, Technische Universität München (TUM) and Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies, Technische Universität München (TUM-IAS) 2011 Richard-Glocker-Award of the DGMP (German Society of Medical Physics) 2011 Honorary membership SMPS (Saudi Medical Physics Society) 2013 Honorary Fellow IOMP 2021 Honorary Member DGMP 2021 Honorary Fellow IUPESM


More than 200 publications in peer reviewed journals


Why medical physics? What is so fascinating in medical physics? Isn´t it just something in between of medicine and physics? Looking back on my professional life, I still have the feeling that hardly any other profession than medical physics covers such a broad spectrum of various disciplines. Indeed, during my whole life as a medical physicist I appreciated so much the many opportunities to witness exciting innovations, new trends and breakthroughs in medical and natural sciences, and to enjoy the challenge of translating these into health care practice. Another track of my professional life was my passion for contributing to the expansion and flourishing of medical physics worldwide. In this context it was a great honour and my personal highlight to have the opportunity to serve our community in several capacities at IOMP from 2000-2015. I am indebted to innumerable colleagues and friends during that time who made it possible to achieve important milestones, such as the expansion of the IOMP-Chapter structure, membership of IUPAP, tighter connection to WHO and IAEA, the approved definition of the “Medical Physicist” as a profession listed at the ILO, and many other advancements. However, there are still some issues we must focus on: the harmonization of education & training worldwide, filling the gap of qualified medical physicists, particularly in the LMI-countries, and opportunities for advancing medical physics science.


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