Volume 22 No. 6 November/December 1997

AAPM President's Column

A Year in Review - Some Accomplishments

by Stephen R. Thomas
Cincinnati, Ohio

A Year in Review - Some Accomplishments

With a tip-of-the-cap to calendar year 1997, I turn reflective in the usual manner of retiring Presidents. I can chart where we have sailed during the past 12 months - but has it been bountiful? With all humility - reasonably so! We have accomplished a number of objectives but, assuredly and not unexpectedly, not all . The ship of our Association is managed by a truly competent crew with the talent to maintain trim sails. From the AAPM Board, to EXCOM, to headquarters staff, to the council, committee and task group structure, to individual membership participation - the willingness as well as expertise is available for success. As I reported in the last Newsletter, we now have a formal Mission Statement which provides the cartography for passage. The AAPM use of the world-wide-web has expanded through Home Page functionality to include interactive forums on issues of significance (eg., Ad Hoc Committee on Reorganization of the Board of Directors). Various member services have been implemented on line. A powerful new database has been installed at Headquarters which will further promote the efficiency with which the Association serves the membership. A pioneering system for electronic abstract submission is being configured for the 1998 Annual Meeting. Our Journal, Medical Physics, has continued with pre-eminence following the transition in editors and relocation of the editorial operations to Headquarters. (The banners hoisted by John Laughlin remain high under the editorship of Colin Orton). The Association has been able to respond in a timely fashion on behalf of medical physics for a number of national issues affecting regulatory and professional matters. Productive cooperation has been maintained at the trilateral level through coordinated efforts and programs of the AAPM, ACR and ACMP (witness the Trilateral Professional Symposium on "Adapting to Managed Care"). Initiatives have moved forward to increase the number of sponsored clinical medical physics residencies administered by the AAPM (witness the proposal submitted to the RSNA for their sponsorship of two diagnostic medical physics clinical residencies). Finally, the financial stability of the Association reflects the presence of an extremely even-keel. The ledger for 1997 is firmly in the black - a measure in large part to the success of our Annual Meeting in Milwaukee which enjoyed the highest total attendance in our history.

The Challenges Ahead

Previously I have outlined the concept of Issues-of-Impact (IOIs) for the AAPM with a list of twenty five IOIs (March/April Newsletter) representing tasks which would extend well beyond 1997. Yet even with realism tempering aspiration, there are areas of disappointment due to lack of constructive outcome. As a profession, we must resolve the conflict involving competing certification boards for medical physicists. The desire is that there be one board, and, according to the original directive of the AAPM Board of Directors, the intention was for consolidation under the American Board of Radiology (ABR). Hopefully, future initiatives will bring this to pass. I firmly believe that the best interests of our profession are served by maintaining close alliance with our physician colleagues. In this regard I am pleased that the AAPM Board of Directors reaffirmed our dedicated sponsorship of the ABR at the Milwaukee meeting. Through this association involving recognition by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), medical physicists are accepted as professional equals within the medical world.

Other IOIs left for 1997 and beyond include medical physics manpower and training (Are we adequately engineering the supply and demand pipeline?), CME credit availability for medical physicists (How do we implement CAMPEP CME on the web?), reimbursement for medical physics services ( Including, what are the realities concerning direct billing for medical physics services?), quality evaluation of medical physics services (How do we effectively influence national agencies regarding appropriate recognition of medical physics activities?), public awareness of medical physics contributions (How do we more effectively promote the image of medical physics?). One can point to additional unfinished tasks within the IOI categories. I am confident that they will be addressed with resolve in the coming years. Of course, new ones will appear to provide challenges to be solved as the ship navigates the reefs.

World Congress 2000

The World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering held its tri-annual meeting in September 1997 in Nice, France. A successful and wide ranging technical exhibition took place which provided an international forum for scientific exchange and promoted education and training in these fields. On the international scene we now look forward to World Congress 2000 which will be co-hosted by the AAPM at the Navy Pier in Chicago (July 23-28, 2000). Bill Hendee and Alfred Potvin serve as co-presidents of this event and are developing a meeting which "reflects the rapid evolution of electronic, analytical and communication technologies in science and health care, and recognizes the immediacy of a new millennium for scientific research, technological development and improved health care". The design of World Congress 2000 focuses on the creation of communication links and networking to solve world wide problems. You can find details of the planning and tracks for scientific presentation on the World Congress 2000 web site under "Meetings" on the AAPM Home Page (http//www.AAPM.org).

Full Sail Ahead

As I hand over the helm of Presidency, I know that incoming President Larry Rothenberg will move forward with productive authority. President-Elect for 1998 Geoff Ibbott, Treasurer-Elect Melissa Martin and continuing Secretary Jim Galvin represent a crew of high caliber with the management skills to keep all quarters shipshape. I thank outgoing treasurer Jim Smathers for his years as our fiscal manager par-excellence and Bhudatt Paliwal, outgoing Chairman-of-the-Board, for his dedicated service to our Association.. Finally, I look forward to my year as your Chairman-of the-Board. Bon voyage and safe journey to all!