New IPEM President Professor Stephen O'Connor (left)
with Professor Mark Tooley
PEALS of laughter ringing round a venue aren’t something you would perhaps normally associate with a medical physics and clinical engineering conference.
If, however, you happened to be at MPEC in Bristol that’s exactly what you would have heard coming from the plenary lecture hall on the free-to-attend Members’ Day.
Scientist, broadcaster, journalist and author Vivienne Parry had just received her Honorary Fellowship of IPEM from outgoing President Professor Mark Tooley when she took to the floor. She proceeded to give a hugely entertaining and very humorous talk on her path to becoming a scientist, a presenter on Tomorrow’s World, an agony aunt on the News of the World and her journey into healthcare science.
Vivienne said she felt very humbled to be made an Honorary Fellow of IPEM, given her limited knowledge of physics, but she promised to champion the Institute whenever she could.
Earlier in the day, Professor Tooley chaired the keynote session on Health Science Strategy: A UK-wide perspective, with a panel made up of Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England, Rob Orford, Chief Scientific Officer for the Welsh Government, and Karen Stewart, Healthcare Science Officer for the Scottish Government.
This year’s theme, as Dr Tony Dix, Chair of the MPEC Programme Committee, said in his opening programme notes, was all about The Role of Science and Engineering in Shaping the Future of Healthcare. There were sessions exploring the future for workforce development, whilst also looking into service improvement.
There were workshops on how medical physicists and clinical engineers can support LGBTQ+ and people from other minority groups, chaired by Dr Robert Farley, and an environmental sustainability workshop chaired by Dr Robert Chuter, looking at things we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment.
In one of his last acts as President, Professor Tooley made a special award to Katharine Thomson, the winner of the Great IPEM Short Story competition, before handing over the chain office to Professor Stephen O’Connor during the Annual General Meeting. Professor O’Connor then presented Gold Medals, Early Career Awards and other prizes to members, which you can read about here.
A new award was launched by Professor Dan Clark, Vice President International. The LMIC Sponsorship Award seeks to support future leaders in the field of physics and engineering in medicine from low and middle income countries (LMIC) to develop themselves and establish professional activities in their local areas. The award provides Associate Membership for two years, mentorship from an experienced IPEM professional, a certificate of recognition and eligibility to apply for funding from the IPEM LMIC Support Grant. More details about this can be found here.
To round off Members’ Day, a party was held to mark the 40th anniversary of IPEM’s international journal Medical Engineering & Physics, with current Editor-in-Chief Dr Richard Black there to lead the celebrations. As ever, delegates could broaden their horizons through the multi-disciplinary approach of the meeting, and benefit from the opportunity to meet and talk with fellow members. The social programme provided rest and recreation, from a guided city walk, a boat tour of the famous Bristol docks and an Italian dinner.
Days two and three were the scientific meeting, opening with a fascinating talk by IPEM Fellow Dr Francis Duck on his book In search of Edith Stoney. This was followed by the winners of the Roberts’ Prize and the Martin Black Prize presenting their papers from IPEM’s two other international journals Physics in Medicine and Biology and Physiological Measurement respectively. IPEM's publishers IOPP had a stand at MPEC, displaying hard copy versions of the IPEM ebooks series.
There were a wide variety of sessions held across the two days, including two chaired by Past Presidents of IPEM, Professor David Brettle and Professor Stephen Keevil. The sessions included collaborative working, quality accreditation and improvement, MRI in radiotherapy, education and training, machine learning, physiological measurement/engineering, future workforce development and treatment planning. A trainees/early career scientists session looked at IPEM’s outreach opportunities and explored potential career paths.
Professor Berne Ferry, Head of the National School of Healthcare Science, brought MPEC to a close with a talk on Future Workshop Challenges in Response to the Long Term Plan, which neatly rounded off the theme of this year’s conference.
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