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SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS of the 50th AAPM Meeting in Houston, July 27 to July 31

10. CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF WOMEN IN MEDICAL PHYSICS

As part of the celebration of its 50th annual meeting, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine will honor contributions of distinguished women scientists in its membership. Panelists will discuss topics ranging from the past, present and future of radiation therapy, to the impact of growing ranks of women on the field, to the emergence of non-traditional medical physics and novel methods for teaching physics, such as addressing the physics of soccer.

In 1958 when the organization was formed, 20 of its 133 members -- 15% -- were women. In 2008, women make up 19% of the AAPM membership (1,297 women and 6,597 men. “This ratio is much lower than in other countries. For example in the United Kingdom, approximately 50% of undergraduates pursuing medical physics are women,” says Cari Borrás, D.Sc., Women’s Coordinator of the Minority Recruitment Subcommittee of the AAPM. (cariborras@starpower.net) “This discrepancy between the U.S. and Europe suggests there's a great role for AAPM to play in women's medical physics education to open this important career field to more women.”

From early pioneering work to current discoveries, AAPM's female members have made seminal contributions in radiology, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy, as well as in some non-traditional areas of medical physics such as mechanics, optics and electromagnetism. They have also held key leadership roles within the organization of the AAPM, and won distinguished awards. These awards include the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977, by Rosalyn A. Yalow; the AAPM William D. Coolidge Award in 1977 by Edith E. Quimby, and the AAMP Award for Achievement in Medical Physics by Mary Louise Meurk in 2000, Azam Niroomand-Rad in 2006, and Marilyn Stovall in 2007.

Symposium (WE-E-342-2), "(Part II) 50 Years of Women in Medical Physics -- Symposium organized by the AAPM Minority Recruitment Subcommittee" is at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday July 30, 2008 in Room 342. Abstract: http://www.aapm.org/meetings/amos2/pdf/35-9986-65686-861.pdf.

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HOW TO COVER THE MEETING

Reporters who would like to attend the meeting in person should fill out the press registration form on the AAPM Virtual Press Room. See: http://www.aapm.org/meetings/08AM/VirtualPressRoom/documents/pressregform.pdf.

Reporters who would like to cover the conference remotely will find releases and articles on the Virtual Press Room highlighting many of the interesting and important talks presented at the meeting. Even if you can't make it to Houston, the Virtual Press Room will make it possible to write stories about the meeting from your desk.

ABOUT AAPM

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) is a scientific, educational, and professional nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the application of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. The association encourages innovative research and development, helps disseminate scientific and technical information, fosters the education and professional development of medical physicists, and promotes the highest quality medical services for patients. In 2008, AAPM will celebrate its 50th year of serving patients, physicians, and physicists. Please visit the association's Web site at http://www.aapm.org/.

ABOUT AIP

Headquartered in College Park, MD., the American Institute of Physics is a not-for-profit membership corporation chartered in New York State in 1931 for the purpose of promoting the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare.

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Media contacts:

Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics,
301-209-3091 (office) 858-775-4080 (cell)
jbardi@aip.org

Jeff Limmer, AAPM Media Relations Subcommittee Chair
jeffl@aspirus.org