Newswise — Alexandria, Va., June 3, 2022 – The work and knowledge a medical physicist brings to medical imaging and treatment typically focuses on science and technology. But more and more, these scientists are taking the lead on a people-first approach to improve health care for those who need it.

During the President's Symposium titled "Important Conversations" at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), three keynote speakers will discuss the human condition of the patients served by medical physics as well as the developing opportunities for medical physics to contribute robustly to health care innovation in the United States. The AAPM 64th Annual Meeting & Exhibition will take place in Washington, D.C., on July 10-14, with the symposium scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on July 11.

"The 2022 Annual Meeting: 'Celebrating Medical Physics-Transforming Human Health' highlights the accomplishments of medical physicists over decades, as well as, given the COVID era, the opportunity to now meet together," said J. Daniel Bourland, president of AAPM. "Our members, corporate affiliates, and associated individuals are all enthusiastically looking forward to being together and sharing our scientific, educational, and professional discoveries and accomplishments.

"Whether having impact through a new technology or scientific discovery, or through the compassionate provision of medical physics-based care for a particular patient, medical physicists are transforming human health by the applications of medical physics – we 'improve health through medical physics.'"

The keynote speakers for the President's Symposium will provide "important conversations" for the medical physics community and all those vested in improving health care approaches for patients.

The Alzheimer's Epidemic

Edward G. Shaw, radiation oncologist and geriatric/caregiver counselor from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, will discuss the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, which is progressive and incurable.

Shaw will compare the patient's experience of cancer and Alzheimer's disease and describe the medical physicist's role in the Alzheimer's disease epidemic. He will share professional and personal perspectives as an academic radiation oncologist specializing in treating brain tumors who also served as caregiver for nine years to his 53-year-old wife, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.

What We Can Learn from Patients and Why We Need to Listen

Rebecca Milman, associate professor and diagnostic medical physicist from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, will detail the dynamics of patient engagement and how patients have been absent from discussions about diagnostic imaging and radiation-based therapies.

Milman will outline how actively seeking patients' perspectives and experiences can help further AAPM's mission of improving health through medical physics.

Advanced Research Project Agency for Health and Cancer Moonshot

Tara Schwetz, acting principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health, will discuss two health research initiatives prioritized by President Joe Biden's administration: the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health and Cancer Moonshot.

Schwetz will provide the latest information for these two national initiatives that are being positioned for significant and transformative impact for human health – catalyzing health care innovation and ending cancer – including the challenges and opportunities that are relevant for contributions by the medical physics community.

The AAPM Annual Meeting & Exhibition draws about 4,000 participants to the world's largest program of scientific, educational, and professional presentations plus technical exhibits and social programs that targets the medical physics community specifically. This year's event is a live and in-person meeting featuring the theme "Celebrating Medical Physics: Transforming Human Health."

Those interested in attending the AAPM 64th Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., receive early registration savings when they sign up by June 8. More information is available at


About the American Association of Physicists in Medicine

AAPM is the premier organization in medical physics, a scientific and professional discipline that uses physics principles to address a wide range of biological and medical needs. The mission of AAPM is to advance medicine through excellence in the science, education, and professional practice of medical physics. Currently, AAPM represents over 9,000 medical physicists in over 96 countries.


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American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM)