BEIJING, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chinese Society of Medical Physics (CSMP), with support from Varian Medical Systems, has launched a program to provide selected Chinese medical physics students with access to web-based medical dosimetry training offered by Stanford University. The two-year Stanford University Dosimetry Training Tool (DTT) is an online computer-aided distance learning program.
The CSMP will administer the program in China, and provide the students with access to the learning program and to mentors who will monitor the students’ progress as they work through the 500-600 hours’ worth of online course materials. Varian Medical Systems, the world’s leading provider of radiation therapy equipment and software, is providing funds for the enrollment fees. In addition, Varian will sponsor practical hands-on training sessions to be led by leading physicists from around the world in the company’s new Beijing Education Center.
"The purpose of this educational program is to improve students’ medical physics training so they can better apply their skills to help treat cancer patients with advanced forms of radiation therapy," said Ling Zhang, Varian's marketing manager in Beijing, where the company also operates a manufacturing facility. "Although there are 1200 medical physicists in China, many of them may benefit from additional medical physics training. With this project, the CSMP is taking a big step toward systematically improving the dosimetry skills of medical physicists across China."
Medical dosimetry is a specialized set of skills that are central to the radiation oncology treatment process," says Arthur Boyer, PhD, a renowned medical physicist who was instrumental in developing the Stanford University Dosimetry Training Tool. "In the United States, medical dosimetrists work alongside doctors and medical physicists, and use sophisticated computer programs to process data from diagnostic imaging scans (X-ray, CT, MRI, PET) and design customized treatment plans for maximizing the radiation dose delivered to the tumor while minimizing exposure of the surrounding healthy tissues."
According to Prof. Yimin Hu, Chairman of the CSMP, training programs in medical physics are still being developed in China, so there are only a limited number of well-trained, professional medical physicists available. "This has the potential to negatively impact the safety and quality of radiation therapy treatments, and may also slow the adoption of advanced treatment techniques," he says. "Varian is cooperating with CSMP to bring Stanford’s web-based dosimetry training program to young Chinese physicists. It’s the right move at the right time, and absolutely will improve matters for the entire Chinese medical physics community."
"The program will enroll physicist candidates from every province in China, plus fifteen graduate students from the leading teaching universities in China," said Thomas Duffy, marketing and business development director for Varian Medical Systems Beijing Co. Ltd. "The CSMP has chosen the first group of students from a field of over 200 who participated in a trial program last year."
The first of the Varian-sponsored hands-on workshops for students in the program, scheduled for July 30-August 1, 2009, was taught by two distinguished medical physics scholars and clinicians from the United States: Fang-Fang Yin, PhD, professor and chief of medical physics at Duke University and Joseph Ting, PhD, chief medical physicist at the MIMA Cancer Center in Melbourne Florida.
"In recent years, scientific advances in the field of radiation therapy have included: developments in three-dimensional imaging, the increased use of computers in treatment planning, and the use of sophisticated beam shaping and image-guidance technologies that enhance tumor targeting during treatment. These developments have increased the need for qualified medical dosimetry professionals around the world," Zhang says. "Varian is pleased to be working with the CSMP in China, to provide sponsorship for this important educational program."
ABOUT VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and China and approximately 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com.
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