Starting and running medical physics graduate and residency programs requires a great deal of creative and administrative effort on the part of each individual institution, but without an easy mechanism for learning from the successes of other institutions. SCARD, for example, provides annual educational activities to instruct new chairs how best to structure and run academic radiology departments; no such corresponding structure exists for medical physics.

Furthermore, there are many practical challenges that face directors of medical physics educational programs. For example, how can a program that is constrained by practical limitations on the clinical time of its faculty provide adequate hands-on training for its trainees? How many MS and PhD students should a program attempt to support, based on the job opportunities available? What are effective strategies for making a program financially self-supporting? In which employment sectors are students finding jobs upon graduation? Which curriculum strategies have been shown to best prepare students for research as well as clinical jobs? These and other questions face program directors routinely. While organizations such as the Education and Training Council of AAPM, CAMPEP, ABR and others have addressed various components of these questions, there is currently no means for program directors to meet together regularly to help one another sort out the best answers to these challenges.

SDAMPP is new society formed to facilitate the interaction of key leaders in academic medical physics programs. SDAMPP aims to provide program directors many of the needed resources noted above. It further aims to be a resource to institutions starting new programs. While this effort would be beneficial to all new programs, it would be especially beneficial for our medical physics colleagues in developing countries with limited medical physics infrastructure. SDAMPP would see its mission to include assisting medical physicists around the world as they seek to establish their own local educational programs.

A final component of SDAMPP’s purpose is that it provides a forum for program directors to discuss issues of mutual concern, and to formulate thoughtful and unified responses to issues such as professional requirements for trainees that would have significant impact on the future health of academic programs. An independent organization that gives voice to the perspective of program directors would be one party to the larger dialogue as such professional issues are considered.

While SDAMPP is an independent organization, it works closely with AAPM, COMP, IOMP, CAMPEP, ABR, and other organizations to advance the collective mission of enhancing medical physics educational opportunities.


SDAMPP aims to promote better coordination between academic MP programs, to foster establishment of best practices, to monitor production of students relative to job market, to help new programs get started, and to serve as a voice for academic program directors.

Elements of this vision include the following:

  1. Meeting annually to discuss topics of concern/interest to academic medical physics programs
    1. Sharing curricula
    2. Suggestions on program funding
    3. Sharing ideas on career planning for students and training in professionalism
    4. Evaluating trends in hiring of students
    5. Measuring total production of MS and PhD graduates
    6. Providing help on preparing for accreditation
    7. Providing feedback to CAMPEP and ABR
    8. Monitoring changing trends in the discipline and plan needed changes in education
    9. Being a society for the medical physics discipline with a purpose similar to the Society of Chairmen in Academic Radiology Departments (SCARD)
    10. Having membership open to current and past directors, chairs, associate directors, vice chairs, DGSs, and other individuals in positions of leadership in academic programs
    11. Supporting key leaders of all medical physics academic programs, both accredited and non-accredited
    12. Being international in scope, although initial efforts would emphasize supporting academic programs in North America
    13. Having a role in helping medical physicists from developing countries establish academic programs in their countries
    14. Being an independent society, but working in close collaboration with AAPM, ABR, IOMP, COMP, CAMPEP, etc
    15. Being financially self-supporting through membership due and meeting fees. Dues would pay for such items as:
      1. Support-staff expenses
      2. Expenses for website, educational materials
      3. Travel expenses to host medical physicists from developing countries to attend SDAMPP meetings
      4. Helping programs of comparable size network with each other
      5. Having an annual meeting that includes both educational sessions as well as discussion sessions.  The annual meeting would coincide with AAPM, ASTRO, or RSNA meetings
      6. Having rotating elected officers (President, etc) and board of directors
      7. Helping academic institutions establish and promote excellence in residency programs as well as MS and PhD training
      8. Supporting the formation of an organization of medical physics students (similar to SPS)