clinical medical physics

Want to Become an Innovator? Want to Broaden Your Research? Apply for the Expanding Horizons Travel Grant!

As part of our efforts to publicize opportunities available within AAPM for students and trainees, we are featuring a newly available grant that allows students to incorporate cross-disciplinary approaches into their research. The Expanding Horizons Travel Grant is sponsored by the Science Council. The grant allowance has been increased to $2000 for registration and travel expenses related to attending a conference not traditionally attended by medical physicists.

Am I eligible?

Eligible applicants include graduate students, post-docs, and residents. If you are nearing graduation, but are not planning on being done before the application deadline, then you are eligible! Up to 10 grants per year may be awarded. The first deadline to apply for this grant is September 1st, 2015, so hurry up!

Why should I apply? Which conferences are eligible?

As medical physics continues to expand in scope and explore new methods to improve treatment and diagnostics in medicine, incorporating unique and varied perspectives becomes an important factor for innovation. The Expanding Horizons Grant is designed increase these types of experiences for graduate students. Conferences sponsored by the AAPM, such as the Annual Meeting or the Spring Clinical Meeting, are disallowed. Any conference that relates to your research outside of the typical AAPM-sponsored events can be an eligible meeting.

How do I increase my chances of being chosen?

Each application will be graded on multiple factors: the significance and potential impact on the candidate’s research, as well as the possible benefits to medical physics, the appropriateness of the conference selected, and the candidate’s qualifications. To increase your chances of landing the grant, try to demonstrate how you can incorporate alternative methods into your research. Use your personal statement to describe your research interests, the challenges you’ve encountered, and the fields you want to interact with for your project. Describe the collaborations you’ve already started or what you would look for in a collaborator. Make sure it’s clear that the meeting you are proposing to attend has a direct relationship to your project. For example, if you’re working in nuclear imaging, emphasize that the Nuclear Imaging Scientific Session available at the WMIC Annual Meeting will directly benefit you. If your research is far enough along, submit an abstract to your intended meeting! Use any way you can to demonstrate your interest in the subject that you are trying to expand into.

Additional benefits of the grant:

If you plan to apply for this grant, be prepared to make a short presentation or poster for the next AAPM Annual Meeting reporting on what you learned while attending an alternative conference. It’s important to bring back and disseminate the ideas and knowledge that you took away, and use that to promote innovative research ideas and techniques within our professional and scientific communities. How exactly this will be implemented still hasn’t been finalized, so stay tuned.

As part of this grant, you will be included as a reviewer for the next round of explorers. You will have an opportunity to help mold the careers of future researchers and scientists. We here at the STSC and the WGSTR strongly encourage young, up-and-coming graduate students to seriously consider taking advantage of this great opportunity!

Once more, the deadline to apply for the Expanding Horizons Travel Grant is September 1st, 2015. For official information on the eligibility criteria, requirements, allowed meetings, deadlines, and how to apply, please visit

interviews, medical physics, non-clinical tracks

I am about to graduate – what on earth do I do now? 10 things you can do NOW to get a job and move your career forward

physics todayOur post on “Inside Look into the MedPhys Match: Part II” will be available in the coming weeks, but we wanted to share with you this important and exciting webinar that will take place on April 30th from 2:00-3:00 PM EDT. You can register by going to this link:

Free Webinar on 10 Things You Can Do NOW to Get a Job 

About this webinar:

Whether you started career planning and job searching a year ago, a month ago or today, there are a few things you can do to get the ball rolling to land a job you enjoy.

  • Number 1: Don’t Panic! It’s never too late to launch a thoughtful strategy designed to land you employment.
  • Number 2: Know you are valuable in myriad industries and ecosystems. In this webinar, you will learn specific tasks you can do RIGHT NOW to get a job and advance in your career. You will emerge with a solid and strategic plan that you can adapt at any stage of your career, but is especially valuable for those who are about to graduate or finish their postdoc and haven’t lined up a position yet.
  • And perhaps equally important, you will leave the webinar feeling more confident and excited about what your near (and far) future holds for you.

About Your Presenter:
Alaina G. Levine is an award-winning entrepreneur, science journalist, science and engineering careers consultant, professional speaker and corporate comedian. Her new book, Networking for Nerds, will be published by Wiley in 2015. As President of Quantum Success Solutions, she has been advising scientists and engineers about their careers for over 15 years. She has given over 600 workshops and seminars for clients in the US, Europe and Mexico, and is the author of over 200 articles pertaining to science, engineering, science careers and business in such publications as Science, Nature, World Economic Forum, Smithsonian, Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, & COSMOS. As a science careers journalist, Levine constantly researches employment trends in STEM fields and delivers up-to-date vital information about STEM career issues from interviews with hiring managers, decision-makers and recruiters in myriad industries. Levine has also served as a Contributor to National Geographic and currently pens the career columns for Physics Today and APS News.

clinical medical physics, residencies

The Issue of Residencies

Mayo Clinic Residency Program in Medical Physics

In the recent AAPM newsletter, Dr. George Starkschall responded to two major issues that he has encountered while serving as the Chair of the Education Council. In this post, we will summarize the issues and major points made by Dr. Starkschall. These issues are specific to medical physics students who are working towards full certification by the American Board of Radiology (ABR) and want a clinical position.

Issue 1: Short-term supply of residents

“Are there going to be a sufficient number of residents to meet workforce needs after the 2014 deadline that requires candidates who wish to take the ABR exam to complete a CAMPEP-accredited residency?”

Dr. Starkschall feels that the current number of CAMPEP-approved (and pending approval) residency programs will provide enough residents to meet the minimum expected demand in both imaging and radiation therapy. In order to support more residency programs, the AAPM and RSNA have collaborated to establish residency program funding for three new programs: the University of Alabama-BirminghamMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and University of Wisconsin.

Furthermore, some residency programs are incorporating private physics practices into a “hub-and-spoke” model. The residency program serves as the hub for multiple residents, providing infrastructure, any necessary classes, and possibly resident stipends. Each private practice offers one position for training and supervision of the resident in a clinical setting.

Issue 2: Surplus of medical physics graduates

“What is the AAPM doing about the mismatch between numbers of students graduating from accredited graduate programs and the number of residency positions available for these graduates?”

Dr. Starkschall explains that this issue is a nuanced one. Overall, there are simply less residency positions than there are students graduating from CAMPEP-accredited medical physics programs. Annually, more Master’s degrees are awarded than Ph.D.’s. However, residency programs are more likely to accept Ph.D. graduates than Master’s.

The AAPM and medical physics graduate programs are making a great effort to increase the number of residency positions, with an emphasis on placing Master’s students in these positions. An alternative degree path, the professional doctorate program (DMP), offers a guaranteed residency position. Several graduate schools are hoping to establish DMP programs, following in the footsteps of Vanderbilt University. These initiatives will certainly mitigate the graduate/residency mismatch in the future.

Non-clinical careers exist

In the near future, it is very unlikely that every medical physics graduate will find a clinical residency position. But, the truth is: not everyone needs a clinical residency position. Medical physicists have successful careers outside the clinical setting: in entrepreneurship, in state and national regulatory bodies, in industry, and in academia.

In our next post, we will feature short interviews from non-clinical medical physicists.