Clinical Medical Physics in a Field Other than Radiotherapy

In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of specializing in medical physics with a background in optics, specifically in the fields of photomedicine or molecular imaging. While there is a strong demand for clinical physicists in radiation therapy, the demand for these specialties is not as high. However, there are still opportunities for research and clinical work in these areas, and it is possible to pursue both simultaneously as long as clinical duties are fulfilled. One example of a program with a strong molecular imaging track is the CAMPEP accredited Biomedical Physics program at UCLA, which has a dedicated institute for molecular imaging and renowned experts in the field.
  • #1
akol369
3
0
Hello.

I am currently considering doing my graduate work in the field of medical physics. Most of the programs I'm looking at have specialties in either radiotherapy or medical imaging. As I have a strong background in optics I would like to pursue if possible photomedicine or molecular imaging. If I find a program that would let me specialize in these fields would I be able to find work in a hospital as a clinical physicist that does not deal with radiation oncology directly?
 
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  • #2
The vast majority of clinical medical physics work is related to radiation therapy and most of the accredited graduate programs that I'm aware of have a heavy concentration on topics related to radiation therapy.

That being said, there is a lot of interesting work being doing in the fields of molecular imaging and optics these days. I know (or have known) a few graduate students and working medical physicists who have projects in these fields. The problem is that the routine clinical demand for such physicists isn't as strong as it is in radiation therapy. There are clinical positions in nuclear medicine departments and MRI-support physicists, but just not as many as the more "conventional" radiotherapy positions.
 
  • #3
Thanks for the response! One more question. If that is the case, then would it be possible to do clinical work in radiation therapy while doing a research project in imaging or optics on the side? I read that many medical physicists aren't tied down to one job, but am now wondering if research and clinical work should be related directly or if there is room to breathe a little.
 
  • #4
Yes.

The research the medical physicsts do can vary considerably. Naturally, a lot of the research is directly related to their clinical work, and it's not difficult to see why this is. To branch out into a "non-clinical" area usually requires significant outside funding and equipment, whereas for projects directly related to radiation therapy you already have much of the equipment you need at your disposal, provided you are willing to stay late on a few nights.

There is however no rule that dictates "thall shalt perform research in field X." My experience is that as long as I get my clinical duties done, I'm basically free to pursue whatever research projects capture my interest, so long as I'm being reasonably productive.
 
  • #5
The CAMPEP accredited Biomedical Physics program at UCLA has a great molecular imaging track. They have an entire institute (Crump institute) dedicated to molecular imaging, and all the powerhouses (and inventor) of PET still are around.
 

Related to Clinical Medical Physics in a Field Other than Radiotherapy

1. What is clinical medical physics?

Clinical medical physics is a branch of medical physics that focuses on the application of physics principles in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. This includes the use of various imaging techniques, radiation therapy, and other technologies to aid in patient care.

2. What fields other than radiotherapy are included in clinical medical physics?

Clinical medical physics includes fields such as diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, radiation oncology, and medical health physics. These fields use physics principles to diagnose and treat medical conditions, monitor radiation safety, and ensure the proper use of medical technologies.

3. What role do clinical medical physicists play in patient care?

Clinical medical physicists work closely with healthcare professionals to ensure the safe and effective use of radiation and other medical technologies in patient care. They may perform quality assurance checks, develop treatment plans, and provide guidance on radiation safety protocols.

4. What qualifications are required to become a clinical medical physicist?

To become a clinical medical physicist, one must typically have a graduate degree in medical physics or a related field, as well as specific training and certifications in their chosen field of practice. Many countries also require licensure or registration to practice as a clinical medical physicist.

5. What are some current advancements in clinical medical physics?

Some current advancements in clinical medical physics include the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in medical imaging, the development of new radiation therapy techniques, and the integration of medical physics into precision medicine approaches for individualized patient care.

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