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Medical Physics Milestone

Ceremony celebrates master’s degree graduates

13/12/2018

Step by step, a unique master's programme at ICTP is improving medical care in developing countries by building human capacity. The centre's Master of Advanced Studies in Medical Physics (MMP) provides the postgraduate theoretical and clinical training needed for students to be recognised as clinical medical physicists in their home countries, filling a dire need for such professionals throughout the developing world.

At a graduation ceremony on 12 December, 16 more students--the fourth such group to complete ICTP's programme--joined the ranks of highly trained medical physicists.

 
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The MMP programme comprises a year of basic and advanced courses (taught in English) prepared with the assistance of experts from ICTP's UN partner the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This is followed by a year of professional clinical training in a medical physics department of an affiliated hospital. The programme is supported by the International Organisation for Medical Physics (IOMP) from which it has received accreditation, and the European Federation of Organizations in Medical Physics (EFOMP).

Addressing the new graduates at the ceremony, ICTP Director Fernando Quevedo offered his congratulations as well as encouragement to share knowledge. "Each of you will play an important role in your countries. You are now very well trained and have a responsibility to train others."

That is exactly what MMP graduate Jumaa Kisukari of Tanzania intends to do. "When I return to my country, I want to build a strong institute by using all the knowledge and skills I learned from the MMP. To build a strong institution is to think about how I can improve the quality-assurance procedures and train other people to have a safety culture in our practice," explained Kisukari.

Mohammad Aldabbas, a student from Jordan, appreciated the programme's hands-on aspects. "The connections between the theoretical and the practical parts of the program were great. The teachers were so patient with me and really made sure I understood, especially at the hospital, because I had no previous clinical experience."

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  Renato Padovani, coordinator of ICTP’s MMP programme, has been awarded the International Day of Medical Physics Award by the International Organization for Medical Physics. The award recognises excellence in medical physics with a particular view of promoting medical physics to a larger audience and highlighting the contributions medical physicists make to patient care.  
     

For Nicaraguan student Eberardo Picado Blanco, earning the MMP degree gave not only a source of personal achievement but also family pride. "Finishing a master's has always been a dream of mine. I’m the first in my family to go university, to get a title. It was incredible, a very good experience. My English is not the best and the professors worked hard to help me grasp every concept. Now I’m planning on going back to my home country and working in a  hospital with what I’ve learned here.” 

ICTP runs the MMP programme jointly with the University of Trieste, with expert assistance from its UN partner, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In his remarks to the graduates, the Rector of the University of Trieste, Maurizio Fermeglia, focussed on the international aspect of the programme (this year's graduates come from 12 countries), saying, "Science is important because there are no borders to science, no borders to cooperation. Science and cooperation bring peace, and this is what the world needs now."

Martin Krause of the IAEA's Department of Technical Cooperation described the MMP programme as a flagship within that department. "We are very proud of this programme. From our perspective, it provides a perfect example of supporting human capacity building, skills development, networking and knowledge sharing," said Krause, adding, "The impact of your training on patient care in your home countries is tremendous."

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