Volume 22 No. 4 July/August, 1997

AAPM President's Column

Energized in Milwaukee
by Stephen R. Thomas
Cincinnati, Ohio

Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Center have now been added to the distinguished list of host cities/facilities for the Annual Meeting of the AAPM. We have returned to our home institutions energized through scientific, educational, and social activities. On behalf of the AAPM I want to extend thanks and congratulations for a superbly organized week in Milwaukee. Many individuals and groups deserve credit. Let me start with Chuck Wilson, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), and the LAC Committee members who provided outstanding hospitality and a stimulating environment for the week's events. (To Peggy Lescrenier, the memory of the German style "Welcome Fest" will truly live on!) KenVanek, Chair of the Annual Coordination Committee (ACC) and the ACC members should be recognized for organization of the many faceted aspects of a highly sophisticated meeting. To Bob Gould, Chair of the Program Committee, Mitch Goodsitt and Mary Martel, Scientific Program Director/Co-Director, and Tony Seibert Education Program Co-Director, we extend our appreciation. Not to be overlooked, the AAPM headquarters staff under the guidance of Sal Troff played a critical role, and we extend a special "hats-off" to Angela Keyser and Lisa Rose Sullivan. Through the efforts expended, the number of commercial exhibitors has grown, with the exhibit space increasing approximately 15% compared to the previous year. I thank all of the exhibitors for their commitment to our Annual Meeting with particular mention of Med-Tec, Inc. for providing the official tote bags and Gammex RMI, Inc. for sponsoring the Fun Run. Congratulations to all award winners who were honored at the Awards Ceremony on Monday night The list of awardees is provided in an accompanying article.

It is a pleasure to induct new Fellows into our Association as this represents due recognition to those members who have contributed their volunteer efforts in support of the AAPM and the profession of medical physics. The highest honor bestowed by the AAPM, the Coolidge Award, was received by Jim Purdy for his outstanding contributions to the field, while Bob Gorson was acknowledged for lifelong(and continuing) Achievement in Medical Physics. I also want to salute John Laughlin who was honored during the special Tuesday Symposium on Electronic Communications for leading our Journal, Medical Physics, to preeminence through his years as editor. Also, as an advance program preceding Milwaukee, I want to give credit to the highly successful Summer School held at Georgetown University. The 255 scientific attendees experienced a stimulating and educational week devoted to the topic of "The Expanding Role of Medical Physics in Diagnostic Imaging." Our thanks to Marlene McKetty, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), and to members of the LAC as well as to the Program Directors, Don Frey and Perry Sprawls. A reorganization of the Board proposal for organizational restructuring has been put forward within the report from the Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) on the Composition of the Board of the AAPM, chaired by Bill Hendee with members Paul DeLuca, Donald Frey, Wendell Lutz, Rick Morin, and Randy Ten Haken.

The AHC's charge as constituted by Past President, Bhudatt Paliwal, was to review the structure/role of the current 37 voting-member Board of Directors and recommend alternatives for functional effectiveness if so warranted. In brief, the AHC has proposed to create a streamlined 15 voting-member board consisting of five officers of the Association, six elected at-large members (two elected per year for three-year terms), and four council chairs, including the chair of a new Council of Chapters. A program for transition to the new board structure was provided. This far reaching report will be reviewed at many levels including, most importantly, that of the local chapters. The ideas presented clearly deserve careful analysis as they have the potential for improving efficiency at the Board of Directors level, while maintaining the ecumenical influence of the Chapters on the Association through the Council on Chapters. Now it is up to all of us to evaluate the proposal with a vision toward the future and let our opinions be known to our chapter representatives.

The Trilateral Symposium- "Adapting to Managed Care"

The Trilateral Committee with member organizations including the AAPM, the American College of Medical Physics (ACMP), and the American College of Radiology (ACR) has been active in coordinating efforts to address issues on behalf of medical physics. Various focus areas for this Committee have been described within the Newsletter and other vehicles over the past years. Current topics of attention include medical physics manpower perspectives and accessibility of CME credits, to mention only two. A tangible example of the pro-active nature of the Committee's initiatives is the Trilateral Professional Symposium on "Adapting to Managed Care" which was held in June. Alex Turner (ACMP), Geoff Ibbott (AAPM), and Don Tolbert

(ACR) served as Co-Directors. A broad spectrum of viewpoints was presented ranging from that of the hospital CEO, to the medical center physician director, to private medical business service consultants, to medical industry executives, to government agencies, to the medical physicist, and others. The intent was to present a unified overview of the managed care environment (various facets of which are experienced by all of us) and to provide strategies by which the medical physicist can successfully adapt to the changing climate. The symposium proceedings are available and may be ordered from AAPM Headquarters. There are positive take home messages for medical physicists within an academic institution, hospital practice, or private consulting settings. We can all look forward to timely future symposia on other professional topics sponsored by the Trilateral Committee.

Medical Physics Contributions

An Issue-of-Impact (IOI) for our profession is to ensure that the public and our professional colleagues alike are aware of the contributions made by medical physics to the health care industry. In line with this initiative, I draw your attention to the new series of four brochures targeted for hospital administrators which promote the services of medical physicists. The first of these was provided in the May/June Newsletter. These multi-color presentations prepared by the Professional Information and Clinical Relations (PICR) Committee chaired by Mary Fox of the Professional Council, portray the medical physicist as we: (1) advance radiation oncology, (2) contribute to cost effective health care in the 21st century, (3) assist in the new world of medical imaging, and (4) transform scientific research into improved quality of patient life. The second in the series is reproduced in this issue of the Newsletter. Other steps in the direction of educating the public have been taken by the AIP which has advertised the medical imaging aspect of physics contributions through a descriptive flyer entitled "Physics Saves Lives" included in its series on Physics Success Stories.

Finally, let me mention the occasion of the 150th birthday celebration of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to be held in 1998. As one of the AAAS' nearly 300 affiliated science and engineering organizations, the AAPM has been enlisted to assist through provision of historical material connecting our Association with the AAAS and through other support activities which will be utilized in advertising the role of science in benefiting the public good. (Please see the associated announcement in this Newsletter.) John Laughlin, our historian, and Bob Gorson, our video history archivist, are developing material in response to this request. We congratulate the AAAS on this milestone and are pleased to be of assistance in the 150th birthday celebration which serves also to promote the contributions made by medical physics to American science.