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New Medical Physics Residents Learning and Providing Care Locally

By Kimberly Larkin, Communications Lead, Northern Ontario School of Medicine - October 25, 2017

oct-25-2017-mcghee-and-suliman

Dr. Suliman Barhuom (left) and Dr. Peter McGhee, Program Director of NOSM’s Medical Physics Residency Education Program and Head of Medical Physics at the Health Sciences Centre (right)

This fall, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) in Thunder Bay and Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury accepted their first medical physics residents through the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s (NOSM) Medical Physics Residency Education Program (MPREP).

Medical physicists are health-care professionals with specialized training in the medical applications of physics. Their work often involves the use of x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic and electric fields, infrared and ultraviolet light, heat and lasers in diagnosis and therapy. Most medical physicists work in cancer care centres or hospital diagnostic imaging departments.

The program—to which admissions is extremely competitive—provides practical training and experience in the clinical application of medical physics within the specialty of radiation oncology. During the course of the two-year program, the residents are full-time employees of the academic health sciences centres and enhance their learning with contributions to clinical work based on their level of training.

Dr. Suliman Barhoum received his PhD in Physics from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is a resident in the Medical Physics Residency Education Program at TBRHSC. He says the field of medical physics is a unique career which directly impacts patients’ health, is multidisciplinary in nature, and has a clinical and academic component. “There are couple of reasons why I applied to the program offered by NOSM,” says Barhoum. “The program is accredited, which ensures high standards of training. It also provides a good opportunity for me to receive quality mentorship in relatively small cancer centre,” Barhoum says. Thunder Bay is famous for its outdoor activities, and it’s one of the reasons he was drawn to the city. “I also recently started a family, and my wife and I are interested in a smaller, friendlier environment in which to live,” says Barhoum.

Dr. Sungjoon (Daniel) Cho completed his PhD at McGill University in Montréal and says he decided to become a medical physicist because of the job’s unique role in health care. “I am able to help patients at the front line by delivering radiation therapy,” says Cho. “I’m also able to quench my desires to continue doing academic research and I have the privilege of getting hands-on experience on various radiation therapy techniques.”

“There are many benefits to training medical physicists in our community,” says Dr. Peter McGhee, Program Director of NOSM’s Medical Physics Residency Education Program and Head of Medical Physics at TBRHSC. “Of course, the main benefit is better patient care. When my colleagues and I are teaching, there is added incentive to keep up to date on the latest literature, techniques, and technology as we relay this information on to the residents,” says McGhee. “The residents are here to learn, but they also have opportunities to contribute to clinical care, under supervision.”

More information about MPREP can be found at nosm.ca/mprep.

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