Overview of medical physics education and research programs in a non-academic environment

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Journal of applied clinical medical physics


Northwest Medical Physics Center (NMPC) is a nonprofit organization that provides clinical physics support to over 35 radiation therapy facilities concentrated in the Pacific Northwest. Although clinical service is the primary function of NMPC, the diverse array of clinical sites and physics expertise has allowed for the establishment of structured education and research programs, which are complementary to the organization's clinical mission. Three clinical training programs have been developed at NMPC: a therapy medical physics residency program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP), an Applied Physics Technologist (APT) program, and a summer undergraduate internship program. A partnership has also been established with a major radiation oncology clinical vendor for the purposes of validating and testing new clinical devices across multiple facilities. These programs are managed by a dedicated education and research team at NMPC, made up of four qualified medical physicists (QMPs). The education and research work has made a significant contribution to the organization's clinical mission, and it has provided new training opportunities for early-career physicists across many different clinical environments. Education and research can be incorporated into nonacademic clinical environments, improving the quality of patient care, and increasing the number and type of training opportunities available for medical physicists.

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