Physics and Health

The health of a population is a fundamental element contributing to progressive sustainable development in all regions of the world. Virtually all sciences contribute to the maintenance of human health and the practice of medicine; each makes its specific contributions.

Throughout the course of medical history, physics has been one of the fundamental medical sciences. First, it was applied to understand the functions of the human body. There is a long and rich history of applying physical principles and the development of many types of technology for both the diagnosis of disease and injury and for a variety of therapeutic purposes.

Physics and health experienced a major revolution following the discovery of “a new kind of radiation” by a physicist, Professor Wilhelm Roentgen, in 1895. This was soon followed by the discovery of radioactivity. Roentgen radiation (x-rays) and radiation from radioactive materials soon became the physical agents for major medical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. For over a century physicists and engineers have developed and supported the clinical application of radiation.

This has been complemented by the continuing developments in technology that utilize other forms of physical energy such as sound, light, heat and RF radiation and magnetic fields to expand the capabilities of the medical specialties of Radiology or Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology. Associated with this is the extensive growth of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering as two of the major healthcare professions.

The Conference (WCPSD) provides a unique opportunity to enhance healthcare in the developing countries by organizing partnerships and collaborations through a variety of resource projects that support applications of medical physics, biomedical engineering and medical technology.

Factors driving this opportunity include:

  • The rapid development of medical technology and its increased availability in the developing countries.
  • The expanding need for medical physicists and biomedical engineers educated and trained to provide professional support for the effective utilization of medical technology.
  • The availability of digital technology, including the internet, that will be the foundation of innovative projects for the continuing development and support of the physics and engineering professions.

Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering

World health benefits from many forms of technology used for diagnosis, treatment, and the general management of medical care. Medical physicists and biomedical engineers are the professionals who develop and support the effective utilization of this medical science and technology.

A significant contribution to quality healthcare within any region is the education and training of a wide spectrum of medical and healthcare professionals to insure that investments in medical technology produce maximum benefits to society.

The technology infrastructure of healthcare spans five major applications:

  1. Imaging used for diagnosis, guidance of therapeutic procedures, and the general management of patient care.
  2. Therapy using a variety of radiations and energy applications to the human body. 
  3. Management of healthcare functions through information processing and access to medical information on an international basis.
  4. Communication of medical data, images, consultations, reports, etc., within local clinical networks and internationally in the practice of telemedicine. 
  5. Education and Training with extensive web-based and digitally recorded learning resources.

Conference Objectives in Physics and Health

The second day of the two-day Conference will be devoted to presentations and discussions of specific Resource Projects, Partnerships, and Collaborations that will collectively form the overall Physics and Engineering Resources for Healthcare Development (PERHD) Project of the Conference.Conference Physics and Health Program Committee

The Physics and Health Program Committee includes members from both the developing and developed countries who bring extensive experience in all areas of medical physics, biomedical engineering, and programs to address the specific physics and engineering needs in the developing world. Specific Committee functions include:

  • Identifying the specific needs that can be addressed by the Conference Program and Projects
  • Developing descriptions of specific Resource Projects that meet the needs
  • Selecting Resource Projects and Partnerships to be included in the Conference Program
  • Promoting participation in the Conference Physics and Health Program and the PERHD Project in the many healthcare related organizations and geographic regions
  • Participation in the Conference
  • After the Conference, continuing to promote additional PERHD projects and their utilization in countries that can benefit.

Physics and Engineering Resources for Healthcare Development Project

Physics and Engineering Resources for Healthcare Development (PERHD) is both a major component of the physics and health related program within the World Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development and the embedded project that is the foundation for the program.

The program objectives are to:

  • Identify specific needs in the developing countries relating to physics and engineering applications to healthcare.
  • Lead potential resource providers in the development and sharing of resources and the formation of partnerships and collaborations in the form of defined resource projects.
  • Provide an organizational structure to identify and provide visibility of all available resource projects submitted to the Conference.
  • Provide a point of access for medical physicists, biomedical engineers, and other healthcare professionals in the developing countries to identify and obtain access to appropriate resources.
  • Promote the use of PERHD in the developing countries on a continuing basis.

Physics and Engineering Resources for Healthcare Development

The Physics and Engineering Resources for Healthcare Development (PERHD) sponsored by the World Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development, will be the permanent communications link between the resource projects, partners, collaborators, and the users.Resource Project

The many individual resource projects that are brought together in the PERHD project of the World Conference will be a major contribution to enhancing physics and engineering support of quality healthcare in the developing countries. Potential resource projects include, but are not limited to the following:

Education and TrainingResearch and Development
National and Regional Education Programs and Courses
Online and Digital Media Based Courses
Development of Faculty and Learning Facilitators
Access to International Faculty and Visiting Experts
Development of Model Curricula
Books, Scientific, and Technical Documents
Scientific and Professional Journals and Publications
Support for Continuing Professional Development
International Coordination of Continuing Professional Development Schemes
Access to Graduate Study
Access to Clinical Physics Training
Collaboration on R and D Projects
Development of Medical Equipment for Applications in Developing Countries
Development of Communications Infrastructures
Development of International Partnerships
Resources for Technology Assessment
Quality Assurance and Maintenance

Partners and Resource Providers

Sustainable development and quality healthcare on a global basis requires a significant sharing and distribution of resources. The resources that will enhance medical physics and biomedical engineering in the developing regions of the world are currently present in many forms within various organizations, institutions, agencies, and the medical technology industry.

  • Scientific and Professional Organizations
    The many scientific, medical and engineering organizations, both nationally and internationally, have extensive resources including their professional members, publications, and education programs and materials that will be the foundation for their resource projects, partnerships, and participation in the World Conference.
  • Educational Institutions
    Educational institutions, especially those with medical physics and biomedical engineering programs, have extensive resources such as experienced faculty, educational programs, and other education and training materials that will be incorporated into innovative projects for the World Conference.
  • The Medical Technology Industry
    The medical technology and related industries have a vested interest in effective utilization and quality performance of medical equipment and systems. They also have the most extensive experience and technical resources to support the practice of medical physics and biomedical engineering in many clinical environments. The resource projects provided by the industry will reach beyond their existing support for customers and the installed base. Resource projects under this program will benefit the global healthcare community.
  • Agencies
    The mission of many agencies is to support the development of effective healthcare and the safe utilization of medical technology and applied physics. There are significant advantages in their participation with specific projects in partnership with the Conference.
  • Individual Physicists and Engineers
    Many physicists and engineers have a desire to share their extensive experience and resources with colleagues in the developing countries through teaching, collaborations, consultations, and working partnerships. Organized resource projects will increase the opportunities by establishing communications between resource providers and partners.

Resource Project Characteristics

Resource Projects that are to be included within the Physics and Engineering Resources for Healthcare Development Project of the World Conference will be:

  • Provided and fully supported by the Resource Provider for use at no cost for the developing countries.
  • Accessible through a specific project web site provided by the Resource Provider that will be linked to from the PERHDP web site.
  • Available for a minimum of three years with the opportunity for renewal.