Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Strahlenbiologie und Medizinische Physik
Société Suisse de Radiobiologie et de Physique Médicale
Società Svizzera di Radiobiologia e di Fisica Medica
Swiss Society of Radiobiology and Medical Physics

President's Annual Report 2002
Bulletin 3/2002


President's report


Nachruf Prof. Horst

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Published in Bulletin 3/2002

Read to the Annual General Assembly on 06 November 2002 in Villigen-PSI

Dear Colleagues,

the society's year started after the annual congress in Sion: Jean-Yves Ray and his colleagues had organised a scientifically rewarding and financially successful meeting - so I would like to start my report by expressing our thanks to the Sion team for hosting us.

Board elections had been due for the Membership Assembly. Horst Nemec had decided to retire, after 8 years on the board, including 6 years as editor of the SGSMP-Bulletin. I am sure all members appreciate what he has contributed to the society, and I am glad that he still has an open ear for society matters, especially as contact person to our colleagues in ÖGMP. As his successor on the board, Werner Roser (PSI) was elected - who had already succeeded him as one of the bulletin editors two years ago. All other board members were re-elected.

Nigel Crompton had represented the radiation biologists on the board since 1999. When the board constituted itself, he took over the position of Vice-President from Jean-François Germond, who had filled that position as Past President during the last two years. Nigel Crompton proved to be a great asset for the board, often questioning physics-biased assumptions from a different viewpoint, always in his very considerate and co-operative manner. This often helped to clarify certain situations, and we very much regret to loose him as a board member (and potential future President) of our society: Nigel Crompton had been offered a Professorship in the United States, an opportunity he could hardly turn down; he regrets not being able to attend this meeting at PSI, where he had been working for many years, as by now he is already in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He sends his greetings, however, combined with his best wishes for a thriving SGSMP. As a consequence of this the board recommends to elect a replacement for Nigel Crompton at this meeting.

The Board met four times, in addition to regular e-mail and telephone contacts. Especially the discussions on alternative models for setting up a Professional Society of Medical Physicists made such regular contacts a necessity. Léon André was chairing the Working Group on this topic, and therefore it only seemed natural to invite him along to the (last 3) board meetings to update the board on the development and exchange views.

This Working Group "Professional Medical Physics" was likely the most important one during the last year. It had evolved from the WG "Competencies and Responsibilities of the Medical Physicist in Radiotherapy" and was officially set up during the Sion meeting. The first good news is that quite a number of younger colleagues have joined the group, which will hopefully have an impact on their standing as medical physicists in their future careers. The group has met three times (see report in last Bulletin). Initial discussions on the aims and alternative structures for a professional organisation resulted in the recommendation for an independent sub-society, but under the umbrella of SGSMP. This will require also changes to the SGSMP statutes, which will be discussed later today.

The WG with the longest tradition is "Medical Radiation Physics" (chaired by Jean-François Valley): The first of three meetings this year dealt with a variety of topics connected with dosimetry, incl. recommendations and intercomparisons. The second meeting discussed radiation protection aspects in radiotherapy and also featured an "introductory course" on TARMED, given by Bert Pastoors (Geneva). The last meeting, today's "Seminar on Radiation Biology and Biomedical Applications of the Swiss Synchrotron Light Source", forms the scientific environment for this year's membership assembly, and I would like to thank Hans Blattmann and Werner Roser for hosting us here at PSI. This is at the same time this year's meeting of the "SLS" WG (chaired by Jean Albert Laissue).

The sub-group "Intravascular Brachytherapy" (chaired by Hans-Peter Hafner) has met four times and is making good progress towards a recommendation on the application of beta emitters for intravascular brachytherapy, with the emphasis on cardiovascular therapy.

There were no urgent issues to be discussed by the sub-group "Stereotactic Convergent Beam Irradiation" (chaired by Stefan Scheib), but this will likely change when the DIN norm on radio-surgery will be published next year.

The sub-group "Quality Management in Radiotherapy" was trying to address a problem not relating to physics only, but also of importance to our medical colleagues. It is hoped that a combined project with SASRO, which is being discussed right now, will be more effective.

The WG "Quality Control in External Beam Radiotherapy" (chaired by Nicoletta Lomax and Uwe Schneider) has completed most of the work on the update of the very first SGSMP Recommendation, originally published in 1982 and revised in 1992. A status report was published in the last Bulletin.

The WG "Quality Control in Brachytherapy" (chaired by Beat Leemann) has been re-activated, following some re-organisation of membership to be more representative for the HDR manufacturers on the market in Switzerland.

The WG "Radio-Onkologie-Klinik-Informations-Systeme" (chaired by Peter Pemler) is a joint effort together with a large number of other organisations in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. A fairly advanced draft is under discussion at the moment, so this WG seems to be "on track" as well.

The two Working Groups on Dosimetry Recommendations, namely for Low and Medium Energy X-Rays (chaired by Horst Nemec) and High Energy Electrons (chaired by Jean-François Valley) have completed their work. The Recommendation Nr.9 (X-Rays) had been distributed during the Sion meeting, and the Recommendation Nr.10 (Electrons) has also been printed in the meantime. In addition both recommendations may be accessed online on our web page. I would like to thank the chairmen and all group members for providing us with such useful guidelines for our work in radiotherapy.

Other Working Groups, which had not really been active over the last couple of years, had been suspended by the board - in some cases with great regret, as their topics were still considered to be of great interest. Active participation of a larger number of members is the conditio sine qua non, however, to keep a large number of Working Groups alive. Let me therefore stress at this point the importance of the Working Groups for SGSMP: it is the Working Groups conducting the most important activities of a society like ours! Their impact on our profession cannot be overestimated, and I would like to express the board's appreciation to all WG members, especially the chairpersons.

Not really a Working Group is the METAS/SGSMP Contact Group (chaired by Walter Münch). Although there are no urgent issues to be discussed at the moment, it was considered useful to continue with the group to be prepared for any further immediate discussion, should the need arise.

There are further activities being performed on behalf of SGSMP, which are not really Working Groups either - but still very important.
Roman Menz and Werner Roser are now producing the Bulletin in their third year: an important information channel for our members. Beginning with the first issue 2002 the entire Bulletin may now be viewed online (pdf).
Hans Schiefer has organised our national dosimetry organisation for the second time in 2002. Preliminary results are reassuring; final results will be presented at the joint SASRO/SGSMP meeting to be held in Geneva in April 2003.
I want to express my thanks on behalf of the membership to all three colleagues.

This brings me to meetings - the highlights in any society's year. I had mentioned the 2001 Annual Meeting in Sion at the beginning of my report. The scientific a href=""> Annual Meeting 2002 took place early September in Gmunden (Austria) as a joint meeting with our colleagues of ÖGMP and DGMP. This was also the occasion to welcome our new Honorary Member, Prof. Bernhard Rassow (Hamburg), who had been elected last year, to the society. To give him a chance to deliver a lecture to a larger number of SGSMP members, Bernhard Rassow was also invited to contribute to our symposium in Geneva, planned for October 2003.

Bernhard Rassow was honoured for his activities related to the education of younger (and not so young) medical physicists, namely his role in setting up the DGMP/ÖGMP/SGSMP Winter Schools in Pichl. In March 2002 the second week in Pichl on "Bildverarbeitung in der Medizinischen Physik" was co-organised by an SGSMP member: Bernhard Asendorf.

Roberto Mini and Jean-François Valley and their teams organised an SGSMP seminar "Dosimetrie und Bildqualität in der Röntgendiagnostik" at Inselspital Bern in April. SGSMP co-sponsored the 3rd Zuppinger Symposium "From bench to bedside", also held at Inselspital in July.

Events like these are important for the Continued Professional Development required for our members with "Fachanerkennung". The second year of experience with CPD confirms that "collecting points" is no problem for colleagues taking their profession seriously. Three candidates were newly granted Fachanerkennung in November 2001; our congratulations go to them - and our thanks to the Commission, chaired by Jean François Valley.

One expression of the scientific activities of our members are the applications for the Varian Price, which has been a tradition since 1991: there were five applications in 2002, making it a difficult decision for the Price Committee, chaired by Walter Burkard.

Zeitschrift für Medizinische Physik, the official organ of SGSMP, DGMP and ÖGMP has further developed and is now included in Medline. Jakob Roth represents SGSMP as Vice-Editor, with Hans Blattmann, Ernst Born and Jean-François Valley helping him on the Consulting Editorial Board.

My thanks go to all involved in the above mentioned pursuits, spending time on SGSMP matters, usually in addition to their normal working hours. I would also like to thank Charlotte Lichtsteiner at Inselspital, working somewhat in the background - but without her involvement the members might not see the Bulletin in their hands, and the president wouldn't have meeting minutes to file.

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