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Graduate programs earn rare accreditation

Stamp of approval for biomedical physics extended for five years
By: Dana Yates
February 06, 2018
From left: Carl Kumaradas, James Gräfe, Ana Pejović-Milić and Vladislav Toronov

Photo: From left: Department of Physics professors Carl Kumaradas (graduate program director), James Gräfe, Ana Pejović-Milić (chair) and Vladislav Toronov. Photo: Clifton Li.

Ryerson's graduate programs in biomedical physics have received a five-year extension of a prestigious accreditation and Ana Pejović-Milić, chair of the Department of Physics, is clear about the significance of the accomplishment. "This is the biggest achievement for the department since it was established in 2006," she says.

Both the master's and PhD programs in biomedical physics, which offer an option in medical physics, have once again earned full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP). The specialized stream first received CAMPEP's stamp of approval in 2012, and in a rare move, the accrediting body approved Ryerson's application for an extension without recommending any program changes or requiring a site visit. The current accreditation term will apply through to Dec. 31, 2022.

As the lone CAMPEP-accredited program in the Greater Toronto Area, and one of only a dozen across Canada, Ryerson's pathway ensures graduates have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue a career in medical physics. Indeed, completion of a CAMPEP-accredited program is mandatory for applicants to post-graduate residency programs in the field. Students then focus on, for example, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology or nuclear medicine.

The training process is long and rigorous for good reason. A clinical medical physicist plays a critical role in the process of treating cancer with radiation therapy. Precision is key; he or she must ensure the right amount of radiation is delivered exactly where it's needed to treat the disease.

Ryerson students develop an understanding of clinical practice and research through the physics department's close relationship with the Odette Cancer Centre, part of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. In fact, 25 per cent of students in the CAMPEP-accredited stream are doing their research projects at the hospital. 

Among the six students who have graduated from the master's program to date, five are now pursuing a PhD and one works in the high-tech sector. Meanwhile, one of the two PhD-program graduates is now a postdoctoral research associate at the Washington University School of Medicine and the other is a medical physics resident at Northwell Health in New York.

The broad range of academic and career options available to graduates reflects the diverse topics they explore at Ryerson, says Carl Kumaradas, graduate program director in the physics department. Along with biomedical physics professors James Gräfe and Vladislav Toronov, Kumaradas wrote the highly detailed report upon which CAMPEP based its decision.

"The extension demonstrates that Ryerson's program meets CAMPEP's stringent standards, including oversight of students' progress, access to high-quality student mentorship and a strong record of success among our graduates,” says Kumaradas. "It also shows that our program delivers professionally relevant training for our graduate students."

Find out more about the grad programs in biomedical physics at the open house Feb. 8.

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