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Roles and responsibilities

The medical physicist is an expert in physics and instrumentation with a good knowledge of the relevant biology, and provides technical support for therapeutic and diagnostic medical procedures and treatments as a member of a team of health care professionals.

The roles and responsibilities for clinical medical physicists vary depending upon the sub-specialty in which they are employed. However, the tasks are mainly related to the safety and performance of related equipment and computer systems. Sub-specialties include Radiotherapy, Diagnostic Imaging, and Nuclear Medicine. Medical physicist's roles often also include  radiation protection responsibilities. To date, several organizations have drafted documents that outline the specific responsibilities of a clinical medical physicist, and are linked to in the "Related Links" section.

The IAEA is currently working on an international initiative to strengthen the field of medical physics through addressing several issues. This project is a joint effort, involving input from a cross section of experts from geographically varied regions. A large part of this initiative is to define internationally endorsed roles and responsibilities of a Medical Physicist, and standard requirements for their education and training, including clinical preparation. A report has been prepared to provide specific  guidelines on the role and responsibilities of clinically qualified medical physicists and the basic requirements for their education and clinical training. The IAEA report has been published as “Human Health Series No. 25”. The IAEA publication has been endorsed by the by the International Organization for Medical Physics and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. A recorded PowerPoint presentation of the first part of the Human Health Series No.25 dealing with the roles and responsibilities of clinically qualified medical physicists is available under this link.