The UC doctoral program in medical physics has gained accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) through December 2017.
In order to gain this accreditation, the program submitted a self-assessment report with evidence of compliance with requirements. Then, a survey team, consisting of senior medical physicists with experience in both clinical practice and educational programs, conducted a program site visit to validate the assessment.
The program met all standards and was acknowledged for providing appropriate opportunities for its master’s graduates and a comprehensive ethics course as part of the curriculum.
"We’re very pleased that our program has gained this recognition and validation,” says Howard Elson, PhD, professor and director of graduate education for the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology, where the program is housed. "The program is only the second of its kind in the country—the other is at Vanderbilt University—and we’re training some world-class medical physicists who are valuable in the emerging field of cancer care.”
In 2014, physicists with the program revised it to include a third and fourth year of training, providing hands-on experience in the field.
Elson says medical physicists collaborate with radiation oncologists to design treatment plans for cancer patients, monitor equipment and procedures to ensure that patients receive the prescribed dose of radiation to the correct location and develop improved imaging and therapeutic techniques.
"These specialists bridge the gap between physics and medicine. As the medical community embraces more radiation-based techniques in health care, the need for highly skilled medical physicists is growing so training programs must begin growing to fill the need,” he says. "This program provides four years of education with guaranteed clinic time, as opposed to other programs that require separate residencies, which are sparse, and with the high demand, many students are unable to secure spots, delaying their transition into the workforce.”