To celebrate and promote our diversity IPEM we launched this programme in June 2017 to increase the visibility of underrepresented groups in our group. We hope that these inspiring members can show the diversity within our community. As mentors for others they also act as a point of contact for those members that feel they share the same characteristics and wish to discuss them.
Dr. Robert Farley
I am the Head of Medical Physics at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with a scientific specialism in radiotherapy physics, and the Deputy Director of the Professional and Standards Council at IPEM; I also identify as cis-gay.
One of the difficulties that LGBT+ people face, in particular, is their inherent invisibility, which means that they have to make their identity known in a proactive manner by ‘coming out’; this in itself presents many challenges and is a continuous, life-long process. I find it quite stressful and very hard work when I am in an environment where I am not out, so inevitably it happens that I do come out (though not always in the way I intend). My colleagues have always been very supportive and I have never once regretted being out at work.
Nevertheless, two things in particular have struck me during my career in medical physics: the first is that, until very recently, I wasn’t aware of any other medical physicists who identified as LGBT+, which made me feel quite isolated. The second is that since I have started raising these issues with various organisations at different levels, I have discovered how little understanding there is in the cis-straight community about what it means to identify as LGBT+ and our specific social, work and healthcare needs. Nevertheless, what I have often found is a real enthusiasm to understand and start to address the issues, and with so much work still to be done we need all the support we can muster.
Ms Keratiloe Moyo,
I am an engineer working for Toshiba Medical Systems in a Managed Equipment Service at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in London.
I was born in Rhodesia and came to London at the age of 18 years to study engineering but had no idea what I was letting myself into at the time. I was surrounded by men in the classroom then and this is still the case at work now. I grew up under apartheid, so to me, a white person was always superior and better than me in every way. It has taken me long time to finally value myself! I am as capable as the next person and I can do a lot of good in this world.
From my experience over many years working as an engineer and managing engineers, I know that it is hard for a woman to be taken seriously. It is even harder for an African female engineer to be accepted in London. I have overcome discrimination and sometimes I simply ignored it. This does not make the pain of being overlooked any less. I have tended to look for something I can do well and focused my energies on that.
I got seriously active working with IPEM as the Regional Chair for London a few years ago. I am currently Assistant Honorary Secretary and I chair the Regional Chair’s meetings.
Working with IPEM has helped me find my voice and self-confidence. I love encouraging people around me at work or in society to do more and to believe in themselves. I totally dislike any deliberate unfairness and when I identify it, I get very upset.
I have been to some conferences over the past 13 years and I have met very few black engineers. I know they are out there. I would love to see them participating in IPEM activities much more. I would love to network with them but I am not sure where to start. I would also love to see more black boys and girls studying engineering at university.
If I can help to make the quality of someone’s life better by being a role model, I would be very blessed indeed.
Mrs Freda Amponsa Dadzie,
I am a Clinical Technologist working in the Nuclear Medicine department at University College Hospital in London. My journey to becoming a Clinical Technologist begun in 2014; having reached a career plateau working within Pharmacy, I sought new opportunities to developing a fulfilling career. My years of experience in Pharmacy was riddled with a lot of challenges; I had many moments of demotivation and a feeling of being incapable. There were many instances during my career span when I was overlooked or turned down when opportunities to progress surfaced. All these challenges came to make me a stronger person; as a Christian, I drew strength from the bible, encouraging myself and refusing to give up.
At one of my lowest points, I decided to step out of my comfort zone by applying for an advertised Practitioner Trainee Program (PTP). Not knowing much about Medical Physics at the time, I researched the field; I became specifically interested in Nuclear Medicine. I had finally found a career path that brought together most aspects of my knowledge and experience (Physics, Bioscience, Pharmacy). I remember the day my training hospital King’s College contacted me with news of being accepted as a trainee Clinical Technologist; although I was not sure what I was getting myself into, I did expect to be pushed out of my comfort zone with many opportunities to develop and learn. I was committed to my training through self discipline; I was determined to succeed. As part of my training, I undertook a piece of research into image quality in brain imaging techniques which won me the 1st student prize from the British Nuclear Medicine Society.
Having reflected on the entire experience since qualifying as a Clinical Technologist, I have concluded that setting and reaching smart goals is an excellent motivator and confidence booster that creates a great sense of accomplishment and fulfilment. This feeling is heightened by knowing I am making a positive contribution to patient care through one of the most important opportunities offered to me.
As a member of IPEM, I am part of a network of people who are keen to advance Physics and Engineering applied to Medicine and Biology for the public good. I hope this encourages someone to rise up, persevere, be determined, explore and take up opportunities that may arise.
Over the next few months we will add the stories of more role models on our website to hopefully achieve our aim of greater visibility and show that the profession is open to everyone. If you are interested in becoming a role model or if you need help contacting one of them please get in touch with Eva McClean or Christine Usher Saint on firstname.lastname@example.org
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