Each year on November 7th, we celebrate the birthday of one of the great minds of science, a pioneer in the medical physics world, and an inspiration for women around the world – Marie Curie.
The International Day of Medical Physics falls on Madame Curie’s birthday, as does another movement to recognize women who excel in a historically male-driven field – #WeWhoCurie. On this day, Provision CARES Proton Therapy wants to recognize our own medical physicists, who play a vital role in keeping patients safe, as well as all the amazing women who are part of our team.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF MEDICAL PHYSICS
The International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP) is an effort led by the International Organization for Medical Physics. The theme for #IDMP2021 is “Communicating the Role of Medical Physicists to the Public.”
“Did you notice how difficult it is to explain to the public what medical physicists do?” questions Ibrahim Duhaini, IDMP Coordinator. “Do people really realize the responsibilities of medical physicists to protect people from the harmful use of radiation?”
Duhaini goes on to explain that the purpose of IDMP 2021 is to raise awareness of who medical physicists are and what they do, helping the public better understand the integral role of medical physics in healthcare.
For example, the Medical Physics team at Provision works closely with radiation therapists, medical dosimetrists, physicians, and patients. Sammie Hedrick, Director of Physics at Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville says medical physicists are the safety checks behind every step of the radiation planning and delivery process, and the drivers for innovation in the clinic.
“We are proud to use our education and passion to safely treat our patients and keep Provision moving towards the future of proton therapy,” says Hedrick.
Marie Curie was the first woman to ever win the Nobel Prize. She conducted pioneering research in radioactivity and was one of the world’s first medical physicists.
To break stereotypes in a traditionally male-dominated field, the Society for Women in Radiation Oncology (SWRO) launched the first #WomenWhoCurie Day in 2018. It’s a day when women are encouraged to take a picture that captures what it means to be in the radiation oncology field and share it on social media.
The SWRO hopes to use the power of the “hashtag” to celebrate women and gender minorities who are treating cancer patients with radiation and conducting research. In addition, they hope their cause will inspire female students to pursue radiation oncology as a career.
In order to be more inclusive, the SWRO shortened the hashtag to #WeWhoCurie in 2021.
“As an organization, we strive to continuously reflect and grow in advocating for those who have been traditionally underrepresented in our field,” their website says. “Over the past year, it has become evident that members of our community, in particular, women of color and our non-binary colleagues, have not felt supported.”
Regardless of whether it’s #We or #Women, we can safely say we have the utmost respect for every female in the radiation oncology field. And we are especially proud of the women here at Provision CARES Proton Therapy and everything they do for our patients!