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Building and Strengthening the First Master's Program in Medical Physics in The Gulf Region

N Maalej

N Maalej1*, A Al-Karmi1, J Al-Sadah1, W Abdel-Rahman2, (1) King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran,Saudi Arabia ,(2) King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

SU-E-E-4 Sunday 3:00:00 PM - 6:00:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: The first medical physics Master's program in the Arabian Gulf region was started in 2002 at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Methods: After consulting with national and international representatives from the AAPM, IOMP, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) we constructed a versatile and rigorous curriculum. The program requires the completion of 7 core courses, 7 required labs, a minimum of 3 elective courses, a research project, a four-month clinical rotation and passing and a comprehensive examination. The success of the program required very close collaboration with national hospitals such as King Fahad Specialist Hospital in Dammam (KFSH-D), KFSHRC, and Riyadh Military Hospital. We cemented the collaboration with a formal agreement between KFUPM and KFSH-D, whereby the clinical medical physicists are actively involved in teaching lectures and labs, evaluating students' performance and co-supervising their clinical rotation and research projects. In order to prepare our graduates for their medical physics careers, we emphasize innovative learning methods such as students centered learning, execution of course projects, experiential learning and acquiring research skills and tools such as Monte Carlo simulations.

Results: Our graduates have succeeded in securing clinical positions in some of the best hospitals in the region and achieved high employer satisfaction. Some students have gone to pursue their PhD's in North America and Europe. Many of our students succeeded in publishing their projects in international journals and international conferences. One of our students was instrumental in obtaining a US patent (US Patent # 785298) for an innovative x-ray tube design.

Conclusions: We have achieved national recognition through the excellence of our graduates. In order to maintain high education quality standards and achieve international recognition, we are presently working to acquire IAEA approval and CAMPEP accreditation.

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