Biomed Imaging Interv J 2007; 3(3):e32
© 2007 Biomedical Imaging and
EFOMP: the European roof for medical physics
W Schlegel, PhD
Department of Medical Physics in Radio-Oncology, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
(dkfz), Heidelberg, Germany
Keywords: EFOMP, Medical Physics, education and training,
Medical Physics is a field of applied physics and as such a
comparatively young discipline. The roots of Medical Physics go back to the
application of ionising radiation in diagnostics and therapy in the beginning
of the last century. Between the years 1950 and 1970, the increasing importance
and specialisation of Medical Physics led to the foundation of Medical Physics
societies in most European countries. Currently, nearly all European states
have Medical Physics societies, with more than 6,000 personal memberships.
Due to an initiative of the English hospital physicists
association (HPA), there was a suggestion in 1979 to form a European Roof organisation
that included all national societies. In May 1980, this proposal led to the
foundation of the �European Federation of Organisations in Medical Physics�
(EFOMP) as an association of the European national societies in Medical
Physics, which, in the EFOMP nomenclature are called �National Member Organisations
(NMOs)�. Starting with 14 foundation member states, EFOMP today has 35 NMOs,
which are not only restricted to the area of the European Community (EC), but
also includes non-EC-member states such as Switzerland, and in the meanwhile
also includes most East-European countries, and associated countries like
Israel, Algeria and South Africa (Figure 1).
The reason for the foundation of a European roof organisation
was due to the fact that Medical Physics was practiced in the different states
in quite a different way. In European countries, there was a large variation in
education and training that was very differing or even missing regulations, and
a very underdeveloped scientific collaboration between the countries.
The structure of EFOMP is shown in Figure 2. The principal
group of EFOMP members are the National Medical Physics Organisations. In
addition, EFOMP has Honorary Members � individual medical physicists who have
made a significant contribution to the field, and industrial members, which are commercial companies wishing to support the Federation.
The ruling body of EFOMP is the Council, which
meets annually. The Council is made up of representatives of NMOs (two for each
NMO), all of whom have votes. The number of votes (from 1 to 3) cast by a given
NMO is determined by its size.
The Council elects a Board of Officers,
responsible for the running of the Federation in accordance with the Council�s
wishes. The Officers comprise the President, Vice-President, Treasurer,
Secretary-General and the Chairmen of the Federation�s Committees.
Due to the EFOMP statutes, the mission of the Federation is,
first of all, to harmonise and advance Medical Physics at an utmost level in
its professional, clinical and scientific expression throughout Europe; second,
to strengthen and make the activities of the NMOs more effective by bringing
about and maintaining a systematic exchange of professional and scientific
information, and by the formulation of common policies, and last but not least
by promoting education and training programmes.
According to the mission, tasks of EFOMP are:
To promote science in the Medical Physics area, e.g. by cooperating and
interacting with other organisations (like the ESR, EANM, ESTRO, ESMRMB and
others, see Figure 3), by organising EFOMP congresses and by the support of
meetings and courses. A new initiative in this context is the EFOMP Journal �Physica
Medica/ European Journal of Medical Physics (EJMP)�. Publishing of the EJMP is
currently being started by Elsevier. The scope of the journal is
described in Table 1.
To promote and harmonise European education and training in Medical
Physics. EFOMP has been publishing guidelines and policy statements [5, 6, 7,
10], set up working groups [3, 9], and together with the European Scientific
Institute (ESI) running the European School of Medical Physics (ESMP) in Archamps/France.
ESMP has been continuously running for 10 years now with 5-week courses (see Table
Last but not least, EFOMP is promoting the Medical Physics profession
and best practice of Medical Physics in Europe, mainly by publishing guidelines
and policy statements by EFOMP, and by registering national education and
training programmes [1, 2, 4, 8].
The operative work of EFOMP is performed via its committees.
EFOMP�s officers chair the five Committees consisting of
core and corresponding members. The functions of each Committee are as follows:
The Education, Training and Professional (ETP) Committee
The ETP Committee deals with issues of physicist education
and training, and with many of the matters surrounding the responsibilities and
roles of medical physicists. The successful EFOMP Summer Schools are organised
largely by ETP-Committee working groups.
The Scientific Committee
The Scientific Committee is responsible for EFOMP�s
activities in furthering the science of medical physics. The scientific committee
is the body within EFOMP which organises conferences and congresses (see Table
3), nominates members to program and organising committees and which liaises with
external scientific organisations such as the European Congress of Radiology.
The Standing Committee on Registration Matters
The Standing Committee on Registration Matters implements
and develops EFOMP�s registration scheme of national registration schemes.
The Committee on European Union Affairs
The Committee on European Union Affairs recognises the
growing importance of EU policies even to physicists in non-EU countries.
The Communications and Publications Committee
The Communications and Publications Committee is responsible
for disseminating information, both to EFOMP members and to the wider public.
The chairman is also the webmaster of the EFOMP website.
Future goals of EFOMP
There are three important fields of activities within EFOMP:
education and training, professional affairs and science.
Education and training
As far as education and training is concerned, the goal is
to promote and harmonise European education and training in Medical Physics.
The current situation in education and training in Europe was investigated by
the EFOMP-ETP committee during the last 3 years, and it turned out that regular
education and training programs are missing in most European countries and
further harmonisation is urgently required .
A recent activity within an ESTRO/EFOMP working group
(2002-2003) was to establish guidelines for education and training of medical
physicists in radiation oncology . Another group is working on guidelines
for education and training of medical physicists in radiology since 2006.
A future activity of EFOMP is to establish, in cooperation
with the NMOs, a European network of Pro Medical Physics Training Schools
Professional affairs of Medical Physics
Promoting the Medical Physics profession and best practice
of Medical Physics in Europe is the second-most important aim of EFOMP. The
encountered problems are Medical Physics is currently not listed on the list of
professions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and it is also not
registered as an official profession in most European countries. As a
consequence, mobility of Medical Physicists between countries is difficult to
perform. In the frame of a declaration, which was worked out in the last
council meeting in Malaga (the so called Malaga declaration, see
www.efomp.org), EFOMP is trying to introduce Medical Physics as a health
profession on the ILO list. The Malaga declaration also includes a statement
that the responsibility for radiation protection in hospitals has to be taken
over by Medical Physicists.
Science in Medical Physics
The third field of concern is Medical Physics as a science
in Europe. There are two major problems, first, there are only very few
independent departments or Chairs for Medical Physics at European Universities
or research centres, and second, the scientific activities in Medical Physics
are distributed to many different medical societies (ESTRO, EANM, ESMRBM, ESR,
etc.). This situation makes interdisciplinary collaborations difficult. EFOMP�s
goal is to strengthen Medical Physics science in Europe, and there are
different approaches currently being discussed, e.g. changing the legal status
of EFOMP in order to enable participation in EU-funded projects, establishing
scientific communication and publication platforms, and inaugurating a strong
scientific �European Congress on Medical Physics�. Such a first, �European
Congress in Medical Physics�, solely organised by EFOMP, is now being organised
to take place in Pisa, Italy, in September 2007.
Figure 1 National member organisations of EFOMP.
Figure 2 Structure of EFOMP.
Figure 3 Organisations around EFOMP.
Table 1 Scope of the official EFOMP journal Physica Medica (see: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/712167/description#description).
Table 2 Themes and topics of the 5-week courses of the European School for Medical Physics held yearly in Archamps/France (see: http://lemoigne.web.cern.ch/lemoigne/esiweb/esmpn1.htm).
Table 3 EFOMP congresses between 1985 and 2009.
EFOMP Policy statement No. 5: Departments of Medical Physics - Advantages, Organisation and Management. Physica Medica XI 1995; 3:126-8.
EFOMP Policy statement No. 6: Recommended guidelines of National Registration Schemes for Medical Physicists. Physica Medica XI 1995; 4:157-9.
Belletti S, Dutreix A, Garavaglia G et al. Quality assurance in radiotherapy: the importance of medical physics staffing levels. Recommendations from an ESTRO/EFOMP joint task group. Radiother Oncol 1996; 41(1):89-94.
EFOMP Policy statement No. 7: Criteria for the Staffing Levels in a Medical Physics Department. Physica Medica XIII 1997; 187-94.
EFOMP policy statement No. 8: Continuing Professional Development for the Medical Physicist. Physica Medica XIV 1998; 81-3.
EFOMP Policy statement No. 9: Radiation Protection of the Patient in Europe: The Training of the Medical Physics Expert in Radiation Physics or Radiation Technology. Physica Medica XV 1999; 149-53.
EFOMP Policy statement No. 10: Recommended Guidelines on National Schemes for Continuing Professional development of Medical Physicists. Physica Medica XVII 2001; 97-101.
EFOMP Policy statement No. 11: Guidelines on Professional Conduct and Procedures to Be Implemented in the Event of Alleged Misconduct. Physica Medica XIX 2003; 227-9.
Eudaldo T, Huizenga H, Lamm IL et al. Guidelines for education and training of medical physicists in radiotherapy. Recommendations from an ESTRO/EFOMP working group. Radiother Oncol 2004; 70(2):125-35.
EFOMP ETP Committee Report: The Present Status of Medical Physics Education and Training in Europe. New perspectives and EFOMP Recommendations, 2007 (to be published as policy statement 12). Available at http://www.efomp.org/.
|Received 4 June 2007; accepted 10 June 2007
Correspondence: President of EFOMP; Chief, Department of Medical Physics in Radio-Oncology; Coordinator, Innovative Diagnostics and Therapy Research Program, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (dkfz), D 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wolfgang Schlegel).
Please cite as: Schlegel W,
EFOMP: the European roof for medical physics, Biomed Imaging Interv J 2007; 3(3):e32
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