THE THEME for the 2016 National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Annual Meeting is titled Meeting the Needs of the Nation for Radiation Protection. Where is the human capital, where are the radiation professionals? We have many good people in the profession, we just do not have enough. So the goal today is not just to reiterate the problem, which we have been talking about for over 20 y, but to see if we can come up with any viable solutions to address the dwindling numbers of radiation professionals in our nation. Judith L. Bader (National Cancer Institute), Kathryn H. Pryor (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), and Richard E. Toohey (M.H. Chew & Associates) put together this marvelous program with the essential help from the Program Committee: Donald P. Frush (Duke University Medical Center); Pamela J. Henderson (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission); Jerry W. Hiatt (Nuclear Energy Institute); Kathryn A. Higley (Oregon State University); William E. Kennedy, Jr. (Dade Moeller); Chad A. Mitchell (Krueger-Gilbert Health Physics); Wayne D. Newhauser (Louisiana State University); Robert C. Whitcomb, Jr. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); Jacqueline P. Williams (University of Rochester); and Patricia R. Worthington (U.S. Department of Energy). They are to be congratulated for organizing and producing such a superb, informative, and stimulating Annual Meeting! NCRP also would like to extend a special thanks to Colorado State University and to the military volunteers for their support during the program.
OVERVIEW OF THE 2016 ANNUAL MEETING
The challenges facing the nation and the future of radiation protection are captured in this 2016 Annual Meeting. An informative and pictorial summary appeared in the June 2016 issue of Health Physics News written by Richard Toohey with photos by Casper Sun (Toohey 2016). The full proceedings are published in this issue of Health Physics as a series of peer-reviewed articles.
In June 2013, NCRP hosted a workshop to address a national crisis: “Where are the radiation professionals?” This question regarding the future supply of qualified radiation professionals has been raised by professional societies, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office as the largest birth cohort in U.S. history, the so-called “baby boomers,” reach retirement age and transition out of the workforce. This issue, known by the acronym WARP, has been considered independently by various entities, and the purpose of the workshop was to bring representatives of professional societies, government agencies, educational institutions, and the private sector together to exchange information and develop action plans to mitigate a dichotomy between the growing use of radiological methods in medicine, research and industry, and the declining numbers of available experts in radiological protection. In addition, the threat of radiological terrorism exacerbates the potential need for a cadre of highly trained radiation experts. NCRP recently published Statement No. 12, Where Are the Radiation Professionals?, which summarizes the workshop proceedings and the actions recommended by NCRP to ameliorate the situation (NCRP, 2015a). The annual meeting will take a more in-depth look at the issues raised by the WARP workshop, featuring presentations by a number of experts from the concerned sectors and providing examples of actions already underway and additional actions needed to ensure that the needs of the United States for radiation protection expertise are met in the future.
Current and planned innovations
As Randall H. Hyer mentioned at the Annual Member’s Dinner (Hyer and Covello 2017), the world continues to change; all of us must compete, improve, and evolve; and we must use evidence-based tools and techniques. If we don’t, we won’t survive as a Council or as a viable profession! We are trying gradually to change and have been doing so over the years with regard to the format and content of the annual meeting. One of the new and inspiring innovations was to begin today with a presentation of the colors by the Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard from the Military District of Washington, DC, and the singing of the National Anthem by Kimberly Gaskins. This will continue!
Another innovation that continues to enhance the value of the annual meeting is for attendees to write questions during the presentations that are discussed and then published, along with the responses, in Health Physics.
An expansion of outreach is publishing the annual members’ dinner presentation. Last year former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner Allison Macfarlane talked about radiation protection in the post-Fukushima era, and her presentation was published (Macfarlane 2016). This year we will publish Dr. Hyer’s dinner presentation on effective communication and how you can get your point of view across in today's world (Hyer and Covello 2017).
For the first time this year, we published summaries of each of the seven program area committees (PACs): past, present, and future visions. They appeared in the February 2016 issue of Health Physics, along with the proceedings (NCRP 2016a).
The continued improvements and enhancements for the 2016 Annual Meeting include:
- medals presented for the Sinclair Speaker and Taylor Lecturer;
- second publication of the annual members’ dinner presentation;
- continued publication of written questions and answers;
- continued taping of presentations and making them availability on the NCRP website;
- brief bios and photos in program of all participants, along with extended abstracts;
- the goal for the proceedings to be published in the same year as the annual meeting is held remains elusive but does occur before the next annual meeting is held;
- brief “email” survey after meeting for suggestions on how to improve and topics for future meetings;
- continuing the reception line for the Taylor Lecturer and family;
- rapid publication of the meeting summary in Health Physics News (Toohey 2016) starting with the Presentation of the Colors; and
- singing of the National Anthem.
NCRP and the Radiation Research Society (RRS) were pleased to welcome the fourth NCRP/RRS Scholars-in-Training to this year’s annual meeting. The three young scientists below received competitive travel awards made possible by the generosity of RRS. This initiative is aimed at encouraging and retaining young scientists in the field of radiation science. Eligible applicants included junior faculty or students in the radiation sciences or junior health or medical physicists:
- Daniel Adjei, Military University of Technology, Institute of Optoelectronics, Poland;
- Shaowen Hu, Wyle Science, Technology and Engineering Group, Houston, Texas; and
- Yuan-Hao (Chris) Lee, Municipal Wan Fang Hospital, Taiwan.
NCRP IN 2016.
The 2015 calendar year was productive with the publication of NCRP commentaries, reports, proceedings, and scientific articles as well as committee activities.
- Report No. 175 [Decision Making for Late-Phase Recovery from Major Nuclear or Radiological Incidents, December (NCRP 2014a)];
- Commentary No. 24 [Health Effects of Low Doses of Radiation: Perspectives on Integrating Radiation Biology and Epidemiology, November (NCRP 2015b)];
- Commentary No. 25 [Potential for Central Nervous System Effects from Radiation Exposure During Space Activities. Phase I: Overview, February (NCRP 2016b)];
- Statement No. 11 [Outline of Administrative Policies for Quality Assurance and Peer Review of Tissue Reactions Associated with Fluoroscopically-Guided-Interventions, December (NCRP 2014b)];
- Statement No. 12 [Where Are the Radiation Professionals (WARP)?, December (NCRP 2015a)];
- Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting in 2015, NCRP: Achievements of the Past 50 Years and Addressing the Needs of the Future, February [published in Health Physics (NCRP 2015c)];
- Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting in 2016, Changing Regulations and Radiation Guidance: What Does the Future Hold? February [published in Health Physics (NCRP 2016c)];
- Twelve columns written for the Health Physics Newsletter [The Boice Report (Boice 2015)];
- Joint Health Physics Society (HPS)/NCRP Symposium at RRS Annual Meeting [Lens of Eye Guidance-Next Steps A Stakeholder Workshop on Implementation and Research (NCRP 2016c)];
- Re-establishing the Resource Committee under the Finance Committee to address long-term financial needs; and
- Fukushima video interview (8 min) prepared by RRS (2015).
New opportunities and changes include:
- first Council Committee (CC) 1 was created to address radiation protection guidance for the United States (Chairs: Kenneth R. Kase, John D. Boice, and Donald A. Cool);
- CC 2 was approved by the Board to address the continuing Needs of the Nation for Radiation Protection (WARP Factor 2!) (Chairs: Richard E. Toohey, Kathryn A. Higley, and Kathryn H. Pryor);
- PAC 1 on Biology and Epidemiology has a new Co-Chair (Jonine Bernstein) to assist Gayle E. Woloschak;
- PAC 7 on Communications has a new Vice President (Randall N. Hyer);
- Scientific Committee (SC) 5‐2 on Recommendations for a Uniform Approach for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM)/Technologically Enhanced NORM was formed and has conducted two workshops already (Chairs: William E. Kennedy and John R. Frasier);
- SC 1‐25 on Recent Epidemiologic Studies and Implications for the Linear Nonthreshold Model was formed (Chairs: Roy E. Shore and Lawrence T. Dauer);
- second joint RRS/NCRP symposium was held at the RRS Annual Meeting featuring SC 1‐23 on Guidance on Radiation Dose Limits for the Lens of the Eye; and
- updating the medical component of NCRP Report No. 160 on the increasing population exposure to medical radiations.
Check out the NCRP website [http://www.ncrponline.org (NCRP 2016d)] for details on these continuing activities:
- U.S. Radiation Workers and Nuclear Weapons Test Participants Radiation Dose Assessment (Chair: Andre Bouville);
- The Million Person Study of Low Dose Health Effects (Coordinator: John D. Boice);
- Radiation Guidance for the United States (update Report No. 116) (Chairs: Donald A. Cool and Kenneth R. Kase);
- Guidance on Radiation Dose Limits for the Lens of the Eye (Chairs: Eleanor A. Blakely, Lawrence T. Dauer)—soon to be published;
- Radiation Exposures in Space and the Potential for Central Nervous System Effects: Phase 2 (Chairs: Leslie A. Braby, Jacob Raber);
- Guidance for Emergency Responder Dosimetry (Chairs: Stephen V. Musolino, Adela Salame-Alfie)—soon to be published;
- Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Terrorism: What Are Remaining Gaps and Is There Need for Realignment of National Efforts (2017 Annual Meeting) (Chairs: Armin Ansari, Adela Salame-Alfie);
- Radiation Safety of Sealed Radioactive Sources (Chair: Kathryn H. Pryor)—soon to be published;
- Radiation Protection in Dentistry Supplement: Cone Beam Computed Tomography, Digital Imaging, and Handheld Dental Imaging (Chairs: Alan G. Lurie, Mel L. Kantor)—soon to be published;
- Radiation Safety Aspects of Nanotechnology (Chairs: Mark D. Hoover, David S. Myers)—soon to be published;
- Evaluating and Communicating Radiation Risks for Studies Involving Human Subjects: Guidance for Researchers and Reviewing Bodies (Chair: Julie E.K. Timins);
- Improving Patient Dose Utilization in Computed Tomography (Chair: Mannudeep K.S. Kalra);
- Biodosimetry workshops (at the Radiological Society of North America);
- Biological Effectiveness of Photons as a Function of Energy (Chair: Steven L. Simon)—soon to be published;
- Radiation Protection for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) and Technologically Enhanced NORM from Oil and Gas Recovery (Chair: William E. Kennedy);
- WARP—Where are the Radiation Professionals? Now CC 2 (Chairs: Richard E. Toohey, Kathryn A. Higley, Kathryn H. Pryor); and
- Boice Report—a monthly column since June 2012 in Health Physics News intended to provide brief reports on recent activities in radiation protection, measurements, science, and health.
NCRP will continue the following activities in 2016:
- encourage each Council member to be associated with a PAC and having more frequent PAC meetings;
- partner with RRS to provide travel awards for young scientists to attend the annual meeting;
- attend national and international conferences and meetings to present an overview on CC 1 deliberations on the development of protection guidance for the United States, and solicit advice and suggestions (e.g., presentations were made at the International Radiation Protection Association 2016 Conference in Cape Town and at the Spokane 2016 HPS meeting);
- become more attuned to the modern age with social networking; and
- increase NCRP visibility and impact; take part in meetings or conferences such as those we participated in during 2015–2016, including 5th Expert Symposium on Fukushima, American College of Radiology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, HPS, International Commission on Radiological Protection, Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards, National Academy of Sciences, National Cancer Institute, NRC seminar series, first Radiation Protection Week in Oxford, Radiological Society of North America, RRS, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation; and seminar series sponsored by Harvard University, Louisiana State University, the University of Tennessee, Columbia University, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Our reports, activities, members, programs and more can be found on the NCRP website at http://ncrponline.org (NCRP 2016d). The NCRP program of activities is made possible by the partnership and financial support from many governmental agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Gifts from our corporate sponsors and many collaborating organizations remain critical to our continued success and are gratefully acknowledged. Finally, the NCRP remains a dynamic and influential organization only because of the generous contributions of time and knowledge made by the Senior Vice President, Scientific Vice Presidents, Board of Directors, Council members, scientific and administrative committee members, consultants, and the NCRP staff!
These continue to be the best of times, and opportunities abound for innovations and critical guidance in radiation protection. We’re only limited by our imagination (and unfortunately our pocketbooks). These are also the worst of times, and opportunities are diminished because of the declining number of radiation professionals and the declining financial support for radiation science and protection in particular. Please help NCRP as we strive together to help the nation in all things radiation!
INTRODUCING THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER, DR. RICHARD E. TOOHEY
In 2003, Warren K. Sinclair, the second President of NCRP (1977–1991) and President Emeritus (1991–2014), made a generous contribution to NCRP that established a keynote address series named in his honor. Each year a distinguished scientist in the field of science on which the annual meeting is focused is selected to present the Warren K. Sinclair Keynote Address. Warren died at the age of 90 in 2014, and his lovely wife, Joy, died shortly thereafter. Warren and his legacy continue to be remembered with appreciation and affection (Boice and Schauer 2014). NCRP will continue to recognize Warren for his generous contribution that “keeps on giving” and continues to make this annual meeting highlight possible. The speaker receives an honorarium and a plaque commemorating this honor.
It is now my great pleasure to introduce my friend and colleague, Dr. Richard Toohey, as the 13th Warren K. Sinclair Keynote Speaker. Dick has been on the Board of Directors since 2010, on the Council for over 10 y, and on the Budget and Finance Committee during these challenging financial times. Dick is co-chair of this year's Annual Meeting. He is co-chair of one of our important ongoing initiatives on dosimetry aspects for the Million Person Study, which is complex because it includes atomic veterans, nuclear utility workers, industrial radiographers, U.S. Department of Energy workers, cardiologists, medical oncologists, and other medical workers.
Dick received his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Cincinnati. He was president of HPS and treasurer of the International Radiation Protection Association. He formerly worked at Argonne and Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Dick specializes in internal dosimetry, dose reconstruction and emergency response, and is the chair of our ongoing activities on WARP, now CC 2, on meeting the needs of the nation to replenish the declining workforce in radiation science.
Dick remains an effective advisor, contributor, and leader for NCRP, and a trusted advisor to me personally. I am very glad to introduce Dr. Toohey, who will be presenting the 13th Warren K. Sinclair Keynote lecture entitled "WARP: Where are the Radiation Professionals?" (Toohey 2017).
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