Add the dates of the following Health Physics Society meetings to your calendar. Check the Meetings and Conferences page of the website for the most current information.
67th Annual Meeting: 16–21 July 2022; Spokane, Washington
2022 IRPA North American Regional Congress – Meeting the Challenges in the Practice of Radiation Protection: 20–24 February 2022; St. Louis, Missouri
IRPA 16 – Radiation Harmonization—Standing United for Protection: 6–12 July 2024; Orlando, Florida
On 21 July 2021, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) released Keeping the ICRP Recommendations Fit for Purpose, a paper that details the topics being considered for the review and revision of the System of Radiological Protection. Professionals and organisations are encouraged to read the paper and participate in the corresponding digital workshop later this fall. To access the paper, and learn more about the digital workshop, click here.
Brant Ulsh, CHP, PhD, Health Physics Editor in Chief
One of the great pleasures of emerging from the long shadow of COVID-19 is reconnecting with colleagues from across the country. By the time you read this, the 2021 Health Physics Society Annual Meeting in Phoenix will be in full swing or will have concluded. Throughout the pandemic lockdowns of the past year, the editorial staff here at the Health Physics Journal were very mindful that we were a lifeline to keep in touch with colleagues around the world. The August issue of Health Physics presents three articles on radon from far-flung parts of the globe. Our colleagues from China, Songsong Li and Songbo Tan, present a "Study on the Performance of an Alpha Energy Spectrum Radon Measuring Instrument Based on CdZnTe Detector." From South Africa, Rikus le Roux and colleagues report on "The Anthropogenic Impact on Indoor Radon Concentrations for Secunda, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa." And finally, Paula Sergio Cardoso da Silva and colleagues write to us about "Radon Concentrations in a Nuclear Reactor Center in Brazil."
To round out the August issue, Darya Oslina and colleagues from Russia present their study of "Biomarkers of Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease in Workers Chronically Exposed to Ionizing Radiation" and Eunjoo Kim and colleagues from Japan offer their work on "Estimation of the Early Cs-137 Intake of Evacuees From Areas Affected by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident Based on Personal Behavioral Data and the Latest Atmospheric Transport and Dispersion Model Simulation."
Be sure to check out the August issue and reconnect with your international peers.
The new Health Physics Society (HPS) web page "Celebrating Women in Radiation Protection" continues to grow as the Public Information Committee keeps collecting biographies of notable women. Our most recent articles are featured under "Women Leadership of the HPS" where we have included newly elected HPS Treasurer-elect Kendall Berry and Board member Adela Salame-Alfie; Rio Grande Chapter Past Presidents Christine Bullock, Sarah Goke, and Kris Hyatt; and State of Texas Chapter Past President Janet Gutiérrez. Get to know these impressive women by reading their bios!
Charles Wilson, 2021 Annual Meeting Task Force Chair
Get ready! The virtual portion of the hybrid 2021 Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting starts next week, and we have a jam-packed exceptional program. Quick—there is still time to register here.
The Program Committee has worked hard to meet the challenges over the past year and is very appreciative of all the speakers, chairs, and section officers who have worked with us to build a quality program. We have speakers across the globe connecting to a new form of meeting for the HPS.
A few frequently asked questions:
How do I register for the virtual-only portion (20 and 22 July)? The virtual week is included for all registrants automatically. Anyone registering for the hybrid week will automatically receive connection information before the meeting begins.
What do I need to download for the virtual week or as a remote attendee for the hybrid portion (25–29 July)? Nothing. The platform (SignalWire) for the program is completely browser based. A link will be sent to you to connect.
I'm giving a talk but haven't heard anything lately. Reach out to the Program Committee ASAP! This could mean our communication has been filtered or we don't have your contact information. All remote speakers and chairs should be practicing test connections with Cassidy Burk currently. All speakers should be uploading PowerPoint presentations for review. And all prerecorded speakers should be uploading their MP4 files.
What can I do if two sessions I want to see are happening at the same time? This is one of the reasons hybrid is great. All sessions will be recorded, and you can watch them later.
Here are a few final program highlights:
Remember the exceptional Academic, Industrial, Research Radiation Safety (AIRRS) Section virtual session last year? AIRRS is doing it again. New topics, new speakers, with polling-the-audience interaction. Log in to participate on 22 July.
Does radiation safety overemphasize prudence not backed by science? Monday afternoon (26 July) features a five-person panel, moderated by incoming HPS President Dr. John Cardarelli, that will discuss the conservatism approach in radiation safety and how opinions from five corners for radiation see it.
Get an update on the latest with the HPS Government Relations Program Tuesday morning (28 July) featuring HPS Congressional Liaison David Connolly and speakers from industry, the US Department of Energy, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Join the Environmental Section of the HPS in covering environmental justice Wednesday afternoon (28 July) in a special session covering how environmental justice efforts can be applied to address actions of the nuclear industry in the past, present, and future.
See previous newsletter articles for more information about several of the other topics, including a veterinary health physics special session, a three-part pandemic special session, a full-day special session on the cesium irradiator incident in Harborview, the future of health physics, and more.
Students—there is still time to sign up for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Email Emily Caffrey for your chance to win an Amazon gift card.
2022 North American Regional Congress Coming Soon
Finally, the Program Committee has begun working on the 2022 HPS/IRPA North American Regional Congress (20–24 February, Saint Louis, Missouri). Have any ideas for talks or speakers? Contact Charles Wilson.
International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) Executive Officer Ana Bomben sent a letter to the Health Physics Society and other member societies expressing thanks from Jong Kyung Kim (IRPA15 president) and Hee-Seock Lee (IRPA15 secretary general) for all the support for IRPA15.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention invites interested parties to submit nominations for individuals to serve on the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH) for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. The ABRWH was established pursuant to Section 3624 of Public Law 106–398 and Section 4 of Executive Order 13179, ''Providing Compensation to America's Nuclear Weapons Workers,'' dated 7 December 2000.
In the past, the Health Physics Society (HPS) submitted nominations for this board. Given the call for nominations, HPS would like to do that again.
There is a need for those with internal dosimetry knowledge as well as an understanding of operational health physics. The deadline for nominations is 2 August 2021, so time is short. If you would like to be nominated by HPS or would self-nominate and like support from HPS, please contact Society Operations Editor Craig Little and attach your CV. The Federal Register announcement has more details.
The Southeast Compact Commission (Commission) is seeking a self-motivated and highly accomplished executive director with a demonstrated record of success to provide leadership for day-to-day operations of the Commission and to assist the Commission in developing and implementing a vision and strategic plan to guide the organization.
- Part-time contract position of approximately 20 hours/week
- Location to be determined
- Salary based on applicant's proposed rates of compensation
- Commensurate with applicant's qualifications and experience
- Opening date: 1 July 2021
- Closing date: 31 August 2021
- Starting date: 1 November 2021
The Southeast Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Compact (Compact) is an interstate compact, which is a quasi-governmental entity established by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 and its 1985 Amendments. It is responsible for the proper management of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) in the southeast region. The states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia are party states to the Compact. The Southeast Compact Commission oversees the administration and implementation of the Compact agreement. The defined mission of the Commission is "to ensure that adequate, reliable, and appropriate services are available to manage low-level radioactive waste streams generated in the Southeast Compact Region and to promote and facilitate the maximum use of those services by the party states."
Please see the Commission's website for a link to the Contract Position Notice with a description of the position's duties and responsibilities, the candidate's criteria and qualifications, compensation, and the application process.
Dan Sowers, CHP Corner Editor
The July 2021 issue of the CHP Corner has been posted to the American Academy of Health Physics website. This edition is all about service: a couple hours in Phoenix and/or a few years on a committee will serve you, your profession, and your Academy well! Check out the article and volunteer some of your time in service to your Academy!
Fred McWilliams, Section President
NIR Section Special Session at 66th HPS Annual Meeting
The Nonionizing Radiation (NIR) Section of the Health Physics Society (HPS) is holding a special session at the 66th HPS Annual Meeting in Phoenix. This virtual special session will be held on Tuesday, 20 July 2021, 10:10 am to 12:40 pm PST, the week before the in-person meeting.
- Introduction—Fred McWilliams
- ANSI Z136.8 Laser Safety for Researchers, Second Edition: Recognizing an Unmet Safety Guidance Need—Ken Barat
- Practical Laser Safety Calculations: Case Studies in Supercontinuum Lasers—Melissa Spence
- Modeling a Thermoacoustic-Based High Power Microwave Directed Energy Exposure Detection System—James Frey
- Did Microwaves Harm US Employees at Its Embassy in Havana?—Ken Foster
Not included in the official program listing, the awarding of the NIR Section Distinguished Achievement award will immediately follow the presentations.
Other Annual Meeting Presentations of Interest to NIR Section Members
- 28 July 2021, WPM-A.11, Room 121: The Need of the Health Physicist to Be Versed in NIR—FF McWilliams, PJ Sprenger, et al.
- 29 July 2021, THAM-B.2, Room 122: Managing Third-Party Lasers in a Healthcare System—DH Elder
NIR Section Participating in IRPA Meetings
The NIR Section has been asked to participate in, contribute to, and help organize special sessions for two upcoming International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) meetings. Both are being held in the United States and will be a good opportunity for many to be able to attend.
- 2022 IRPA North American Regional Congress: "Meeting the Challenges in the Practice of Radiation Protection"—20–24 February 2022, Union Station Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri
- The 16th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA 16): "Harmonization of Radiation Protection Principals"—7–12 July 2024, Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, Orlando, Florida
The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) is accepting nominations for the John D. Boice, Jr. Young Investigator Award. This award is given to recognize an early-career professional engaged in some aspect of science pertaining to radiation protection and measurements. While there is no specific age requirement, in keeping with the intent of the award, early in career is typically considered to be within 10 years of completion of training (e.g., post-doc, residency, fellowship), which most often is under age 40 years. The work upon which the nomination is based must be in one or more of the areas of radiation research represented by one or more of the Program Area Committees of the NCRP.
The recipient of this award will receive $500 and a travel grant to attend the annual meeting of the NCRP where they will be recognized for their accomplishments. In addition, the awardee will be given electronic and hard copies of five NCRP reports of their choosing.
The consensus study report Space Radiation and Astronaut Health: Managing and Communicating Cancer Risks has been released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The press release summary for the report notes that longer-duration mission crews will likely face unique health-related risks. Cancer risk is one of those, which will likely increase with longer flights. The summary goes on to say, "Assessing, managing, and communicating radiation-induced cancer risks associated with spaceflight are challenging because of incomplete knowledge of the radiation environment in space, limited data on radiation-induced cellular damage mechanisms, lack of direct observations from epidemiological studies, and the complexities of understanding radiation risk." Both hard-copy ($50) and PDF versions (free) of the report are available on the National Academies website.
The July short course offerings have been posted on the Short Courses page of the HPS website. Information on the following courses is available:
Packaging and Shipping Class 7 (Radioactive) Material—Plexus Scientific Corporation
Laser Safety Officer (LSO) Training—Kentek Corporation
Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) School and Refresher Class—RSO Services, Inc.
Radiation Safety Officer Training—ORAU's Professional Training Programs
Medical Radiation Safety Officer Training—ORAU's Professional Training Programs
Photo courtesy of Lodging Hospitality Management
It's time to start planning to travel to St. Louis, Missouri, in February 2022 for the inaugural International Radiation Protection Association North American Regional Congress. The Health Physics Society (HPS) and the Canadian Radiation Protection Association are cosponsoring the regional congress, the first in North America. The Mexican Radiation Protection Association is supporting the meeting as well. The congress will be held in the beautiful Union Station Hotel complete with a congress social program and much to do at the venue. The Organizing Committee is currently putting together a great list of topics and both radiation safety and protection courses. Once the HPS annual meeting has concluded, the HPS Program Committee will issue a call for presentations. If you have questions or suggestions on topics, you may email Charles Wilson.
Bookmark the meeting website to stay up to date as we move forward.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced in June 2021 that it has awarded 30 grants to 26 academic institutions, in 19 states, totaling nearly $10.7 million. Recipients include four-year universities and colleges, two-year trade schools and community colleges, and minority-serving institutions, which are a federally recognized category of educational establishments.
Congress authorized the NRC to provide federal funding opportunities to qualified academic institutions to encourage careers and research in nuclear, mechanical, and electrical engineering, health physics, and related fields to meet expected future workforce needs. Recipients are to use the grants for scholarships, fellowships, and faculty development.
These grants include seven undergraduate scholarships, one trade scholarship, 11 graduate fellowships, and 11 faculty development awards. Each undergraduate scholarship provides up to $20,000 in financial support to students over the course of the two-year program, and each graduate fellowship provides up to $200,000 over the course of the four-year program. The NRC's trade and community college scholarships provide financial support of up to $10,000 to students over the course of the two-year program. The NRC's faculty development awards provide up to $450,000 over a single three-year period.
Since the grant program's inception in 2009, the NRC has awarded 546 educational grants totaling more than $177 million. This amount includes funding for 155 faculty development grants, 142 scholarship grants, 164 fellowship grants, and 85 trade school and community college scholarship grants, which have reached more than 150 individual faculty members and 4,000 students located in 38 states and Puerto Rico.
The complete list of grants awarded and general information about the grant program are available on the NRC's website. The NRC announces grant opportunities on www.grants.gov, which enables the public to find and apply for federal funding opportunities.
On Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 9:00 am–4:30 pm ET, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are hosting a virtual workshop on targeted alpha-emitting radiopharmaceuticals, with a focus on actinium-225. The workshop will feature four sessions with presentations by regulators and industry representatives, each followed by panel discussion of audience questions.
Session topics include:
- Session I–Targeted Alpha Emitters With Focus on Actinium-225 Radiotherapies
- Session II–Novel Radiopharmaceuticals: Standards Development, Product Quality Considerations, Supply and Demand
- Session III–Clinical Considerations for Development of Novel Radiopharmaceuticals
- Session IV–User and Industry Perspective
The workshop will be conducted using Cisco Webex and will also be broadcast live on the NRC's Webcast portal. (Please note that the NRC's Webcast portal will allow you to watch a live broadcast of the workshop, but in order to ask questions of the presenters via chat or audio you must register for and attend the Webex meeting.)
If you would like to submit questions to be considered by the workshop hosts and presenters, please submit them via email any time before the event.
See the FDA's Workshop Page for more information and to register.
IRPA Bulletin 30 has been posted on the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) website. The bulletin is packed with information, including recollections on Fukushima, updates on international radiation protection societies, news about upcoming webinars and symposia, and much more.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announces a position opening for Unit Head (Transport Safety Unit) at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria. As a team leader reporting to the section head, the unit head develops the IAEA's program on the safe transport of radioactive material and leads the unit's activities to ensure the efficacy of the IAEA's program on a global level.
For more information and to apply, go to the IAEA website career section.
On 23 June 2021, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Planning Committee for the 6th International Symposium on the System of Radiological Protection (ICRP 2021) released a statement officially postponing ICRP 2021. To read the full statement and learn more about ICRP 2021+1, see the announcement on the ICRP website.
Congratulations to the recipients of the following awards, which will be presented in July during the 2021 Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting in Phoenix.
Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award: Steve Simon
Distinguished Public Service Award: Patricia Milligan
Founders Award: Bob Cherry
Elda E. Anderson Award: Matt Mille
Fellow Award: Brooke Buddemeier, John Crapo, Danny McClung, Nora Nicholson, Mike Noska, Alan Jackson
G. William Morgan Lectureship Award: John Till
Dade Moeller Lectureship Award: Choonsik Lee
Robert S. Landauer, Sr., Lectureship Award: Chris Passmore
Military Health Physics Section
John C. Taschner Leadership Award: Commander James R. Cassata, MSC, USN (Ret.) (Posthumously)
Superior Civilian Service Award: Gerald A. "Jerry" Falo, PhD, CHP
Young Military Health Physicist of the Year: Major Nadia Halim, USAF, BSC
Homeland Security and Emergency Response Section
2021 Service Award: Adela Salame-Alfie, PhD, FHPS
John and Melinda Cardarelli at Chernobyl
John Cardarelli will become Health Physics Society (HPS) president at the 2021 HPS Annual Meeting in Phoenix in July. Here he shares with us his background in health physics and HPS, his thoughts about the field and the Society, and his plans as president.
Why did you run to be the HPS president?
I've been a member of this society since the beginning of my professional career, 30 years ago. I also joined my local chapter, the Cincinnati Radiation Society (founded in 1952 and the first local chapter of the HPS), to connect with other professionals, and I quickly learned about the diverse applications of radiation protection. My career evolved in a way I couldn't have imagined. Serving as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service and as a federal civil servant in research and regulatory agencies forged my commitment to science, specifically as it is applied to public health.
After volunteering on various committees within the HPS and in several roles for my local chapter, I became aware of the significant contributions the Society makes toward improving people's lives through the safe use and application of radiation. Our Position Statements represent an unrelenting commitment to science that contributes to positive impacts in public health. The reliance on objective science appealed to me, and the HPS Code of Ethics serves as my compass in decision making. When I was approached to consider running for president, it took me several days and lots of discussions with my wife and professional colleagues before deciding to proceed. As members of this great organization, our Code of Ethics calls us to "...accept every opportunity to increase public understanding of radiation protection and the objectives of the Society." For those who read our code of ethics, you will see that I left out the word "gladly" before "accept" because I can't say I was initially glad about being asked because I questioned if I could commit the time and effort necessary to do justice to the Society. Once I processed my personal and professional thoughts and realized that being asked to lead was not only a humbling experience but a great honor, I decided to gladly run and be fully committed to carrying out the Society's mission and vision.
How would you summarize your health physics career (first and last jobs, changes from start of career to now, etc.)?
Rewarding! My first job was as a nuclear engineering co-op student where I worked at a commercial nuclear power plant, learning reactor physics, auxiliary systems, and business acumen. I also volunteered in a nuclear medicine department at a local hospital. Upon graduation, I pursued my master's in health physics and worked at a Department of Energy (DOE) facility that processed uranium ore as part of the US nuclear weapons complex. I learned all about the uranium fuel cycle and its associated radiological hazards from decay products to enriched uranium. This experience, combined with lucky timing, prepared me to take on a new opportunity with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), conducting dose reconstructions for epidemiological studies of workers exposed to radiological and chemical hazards throughout the nuclear weapons complex. I was fortunate to visit nearly every DOE facility associated within this complex, learning the processes, evaluating exposure risks, estimating doses, and—most importantly—understanding the strengths and weaknesses of how these dose estimates are applied in epidemiologic studies. Along the way, I earned my doctorate in environmental health and industrial hygiene, became a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service, and developed a deep and profound respect for workers who contributed to our nation's defense. After 9/11 and the anthrax attacks in 2001, I transferred to a group in NIOSH that conducted health-hazard evaluations and provided practical recommendations to prevent or reduce workplace hazards from ionizing and nonionizing radiation, chemicals, and biological agents. I was among the first to deploy to DC in response to the anthrax attacks and served on the original environmental clearance committee.
In 2005, I joined the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was creating a team to focus on long-term recovery efforts following large-scale biological, chemical, or radiological incidents. While there, I continued to work on legacy issues associated with anthrax, but my passion for the radiological field was fueled by a new challenge to work with a team of top scientists and engineers to develop the nation's only radiological, chemical, and photographic remote detection aircraft known as ASPECT. Today it remains the nation's only 24/7/365 response aircraft with wide-area characterization capabilities for emergency response and environmental cleanup activities. Radioactive sources were needed to calibrate ASPECT, so I obtained a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license, became a radiation safety officer (RSO), and started a Rad Source Program. My license permitted me to use these sources for training purposes and to transport them throughout the United States and its territories, so I started to offer access to these sources to conduct training and exercises. Little did I know that there was a huge demand to exercise in an elevated, but safe, radioactive environment. This program ultimately deployed nearly 150 times, supporting Department of Defense, EPA, DOE, and many state and local exercises. My time at EPA gave me invaluable experience about implementing government regulations and policy development. In 2019, I retired from the Public Health Service and became a civil servant at NIOSH and now work in a compensation program under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act. I never thought this journey would lead me back to NIOSH serving those workers who helped win the cold war.
When and why did you join the HPS?
I joined the HPS and the Cincinnati Radiation Society as a graduate student in 1991. While pursuing my master's degree in health physics, these organizations provided networking opportunities through which I was able to find mentors such as Bob Gallaghar, Jerry Gels, and Henry Spitz, who provided early-career guidance and encouraged me to actively engage with the HPS.
Did you learn anything new about the Society during your time as president-elect?
Yes! I learned several new things about our Society. Most importantly, we exist because of the hundreds of volunteers who contribute to its success every day. Our members and committees are resilient and adapted to COVID challenges by organizing a hugely successful 100% virtual meeting in 2020. We are among the first large organizations, if not the first, to conduct a hybrid meeting in 2021, under the ever-changing environment associated with COVID health and safety recommendations. Finally, I learned that there are areas for improvement, such as strengthening communication between chapters, marketing and sharing the value of membership, and addressing membership recruitment and retention. We are already working on these areas, and I look forward to sharing specifics in the coming months.
Did you have any surprises during your time as president-elect?
Yes! COVID—enough said. LOL. I'm an advocate for communicating via multiple methods and enjoy making short videos and learning new technologies. So I had this idea to create a video to introduce myself and the great benefits of HPS membership and printed a QR code on the back of my "HPS business cards" that I would hand out during my chapter visits. Unfortunately, my visits were all virtual so I'm now stuck with 500 "bookmarks." If you're interested in what you missed, click here.
As president, what are your plans and goals for the coming years?
I ran for president on three initiatives: pro-science platform, expanding membership, and maintaining focus on our strategic planning process. These initiatives form the foundation by which I plan to lead our Society. Our vision is to be the home for radiation safety specialists and the trusted source of radiation safety information that enables the safe use of radiation to improve people's lives. A pro-science platform is critical to maintaining that trust. Expanding membership occurs through active engagement with future health physicists via new and innovative ways, marketing the benefits of membership, and creating an environment of belonging to a special group that is welcoming to all potential members. One of my goals is to curtail the downward trend of membership and improve recruitment and retention efforts, but it will take all of us to achieve it. We can meet these expectations by focusing on our strategic planning process.
What are your plans to reverse the downward trend in HPS membership?
The downward trend in HPS membership is the result of several factors. We will focus our efforts on factors that we can control. For example, we learned from past surveys that many members didn't see the value of their membership, which made us consider how to increase awareness and create more ways to retain and recruit new members. I listed 11 benefits in my "Welcome" video and we recently updated our membership rules to make it clear that working toward a degree in a creditable area or having relevant professional experience will qualify applicants for membership, especially technicians. We are also working to improve our marketing efforts and adding new tangible benefits for our members. Our recent addition is FREE access to the HPS Zoom account for ANY member to hold Zoom meetings, provided they are consistent with our mission. Finally, we are working to improve communication among our 39 chapters by developing a Chapter Resource Page, where all members can see what is happening and participate virtually if available.
What are your strategic objectives for ensuring the Society's future viability and relevance?
This should be an easy question to answer because we have an annual strategic planning process. The 2021 Strategic Plan and 2022 Strategic Plan define our annual priorities as developed by HPS leadership. These plans provide specific, reasonable, and achievable short-term goals. We track our progress monthly during Board meetings and the Board of Directors meets quarterly to further discuss and address how to support the strategic plan. I also hold weekly meetings with our executive director. This planning and monitoring process ensures the viability of the Society. Our relevance is derived from how we maintain our role among the radiation protection community, specifically being the trusted source of radiation information. A proposal put forth by Styrlund and Hayes suggests four steps for achieving relevance. First, be more authentic. I see our Code of Ethics as defining who we are as an organization. Second, achieve more mastery. We must constantly seek to improve ourselves by being proactive with a willingness to go beyond deeply rooted beliefs and a commitment to truth. Third, be more empathetic. As a trusted source of radiation information, the HPS not only needs to sense what the public wants but understand their needs and be a credible source to provide answers to their questions that improve their lives (e.g., reduce anxiety, increase knowledge of radiation risks). Finally, take more action. HPS must be fully engaged with our stakeholders at all levels to ensure our vision is achieved, no matter how small the task or how controversial the topic may be.
What are your plans to enhance Society support to students and young professionals?
Once a student becomes a member, we have an established mentoring program called HP Connect. The goal is to pair students with professionals in specific areas of interest. In 2021, we started a mentoring task force to make the HPS mentoring program more successful and relevant to students and early/switching career members. This task force will provide a white paper with suggestions to increase the value and participation in the program. Stay tuned for more information to be announced in the coming months!
It's also worth noting that HPS proudly supports students with travel grants to attend the annual meetings by providing free registration, hotel accommodations, and partial airfare. We have been doing this for more than a decade and have invested more than $450,000 in this mission. Obviously with COVID, things were different for 2020, but we have started them again in 2021.
Finally, beyond the mentoring program, task force activities, and travel grants, support for our students and young professionals is a key part of our 2022 Strategic Plan under Goal B: Improve engagement with stakeholders. Within this goal, we've identified three subtasks and B.2 focuses on increasing the number of new members. Within this subtask, we will work on four activities to develop and implement a process to (1) improve transition between membership categories, (2) recruit chapter members to become HPS members, (3) recruit non-health physicist radiation safety professionals, and (4) bring awareness of health physics as a career option to associated disciplines.
Do you have plans to make any additional significant changes in Society governance?
No. We just completed a fairly aggressive transition in our governance structure, going from nine to six members of the Board of Directors. I'm the second president serving a two-year term under these changes. Did you know that our first president, K.Z. Morgan, served two consecutive one-year terms? We have embraced a strategic planning process and it's just reaching a point of maturity where we are seeing benefits with regard to better understanding of our roles, responsibilities, and holding ourselves accountable. That said, we are experiencing an increased workload with higher expectations of ourselves and desires to achieve things more quickly. Please recognize that your elected leaders are all volunteers with a strong passion for serving the Society and sometimes our personal or professional lives prevent us from accomplishing things in a manner we initially thought possible. Rest assured, we are an active, energized group performing at a high level. If any changes occur in the governance, they will be reflected in our annual strategic planning process and be commensurate with our respective workloads.
John and Melinda Cardarelli at Tikal National Park in Guatemala
What can HPS members do to aid you in your job as president?
There are many things you can do to help our Society; I'll list my top five. First, get involved in your chosen profession by joining one of our 39 local chapters. Second, volunteer to serve on one of 20+ HPS committees by clicking the "volunteer" button at the bottom of the page or become active in any one of our 12 sections. Third, update your profile: Log in >>> click "Directory" >>> click "Update Directory" >>> scroll down and check any of the boxes to place your name on a list to become an HPS Subject Matter Expert to help us answer questions from (1) other HPS members or (2) members of the public or to become a (3) presenter at chapter meetings or (4) presenter at public or education events. Fourth, encourage your colleagues to become members. Tell them about the many benefits of joining the Society. Finally, please share your ideas with any member of HPS leadership. We are listening and willing to adapt to our members' expectations.
What do you think is the most important issue facing health physicists today?
Connecting with and educating the public about the risks and benefits associated with radiation exposures in low dose or low dose-rate environments. I'm specifically referring to the levels we all are exposed to every day, anywhere in the world. This includes exposures to both ionizing and nonionizing radiation. Our mission is excellence in the science and practice of radiation safety. Our vision is to be the trusted source of radiation safety information that enables the safe use of radiation to improve people's lives. Improving people's lives is the metric by which we can demonstrate public health impact—and I believe this is one of the most important issues facing our profession today. How can we do this? Part of the answer lies within our Code of Ethics, which enumerates the principles by which we maintain a professional level of conduct. Part of the answer lies with you and how you engage with others and your familiarity with our position statements. The HPS is a trusted "authoritative" source of information. And finally, another part of the answer lies in how we, as a profession, control the narrative through scientific, unbiased, transparent, and objective exchanges with those who may dismiss our messages. It matters, because when the next large-scale nuclear or radiological incident occurs, our efforts to communicate and educate the public about the risks and benefits of radiation exposure today will reduce their fears and anxieties—and this will result in better decision making, thus improving their lives.
What do you think is the most important issue of concern to the HPS?
During my virtual chapter visits, I was particularly interested in listening to the needs of our members, and one common theme expressed was improving communication. Smaller chapters expressed a desire to have better communication and knowledge about what larger or more active chapters were doing—and how they were doing it. Larger or very active chapters expressed a willingness to share their activities with other audiences (e.g., other chapters, the public, other society chapters) but didn't have the means to market or advertise these "services" to a wider audience.
The greatest inventions of all time involved a better way to improve communication—radio, TV, automobiles, airplanes, phones, internet, and new applications to make it easier to communicate. Our members expressed interest in sharing information more efficiently and effectively. As a result, I will focus on improving our website to include a Chapter Resource Page through which our chapters can better communicate with each other and thereby add more value to your membership.
Is there anything else you would like to say to HPS members as their new president?
I am honored and humbled to be elected as the 65th president of the HPS. During the next few years, our profession will be addressing fundamental questions about the role radiation protection standards play in our everyday lives. Is there too much conservatism built into the standards? Are we achieving our mission and pursuing our vision appropriately? I will rely on science and our Code of Ethics to serve as my compass in decision making when representing our Society. I'm also asking that every member of HPS help make a tangible positive public health impact any way you can—you have an army of radiation professionals and an HPS Toolbox willing to help you too.
What is one of the most fun things you've done as a health physicist?
Most of my career has been in emergency response and some of my best memories reside with times spent on a response with my colleagues. Spending long hours taking measurements or writing reports all weekend were grueling but kept my job exciting and challenging. Building the airborne radiological detection capabilities for the EPA ASPECT aircraft was perhaps the most fun and challenging accomplishment of my career. Also, serving as the RSO of the Rad Source Program and providing training and access to radioactive sources to our nation's response personnel (federal, state, and local) was fun because playing "hide-and-seek" was easy and addressed a desperate need for our responders to gain real-world experience to work in an elevated radioactive environment and gain familiarity with a variety of instruments that seldom get used.
What do you like to do in your down time (do you have any down time)?
I love to travel with my wife and our two children, and their significant others if schedules permit. Both kids recently graduated from college and have entered the workforce, so we are starting a new chapter in our lives. If we're not exploring new destinations, I enjoy playing tennis or pickleball and usually have my racquet or paddle handy to partake in a spontaneous game. Bring your A game!
Health Physics Society (HPS) member Krista Kay Wenzel passed away in February 2021. Her obituary can be found on the HPS website In Memoriam page.