I feel deeply honoured to have been asked to assume the post of Representative Director of the Japanese Board for Medical Physicist Qualification, following the tenure of Professor Shogo Yamada. The certification regulations for the Medical Physicist Qualification in Japan has a long history with the first certification exam carried out in 1987. Since then, with the remarkable advances in radiation therapy, the necessity to train well qualified medical physicists has increased. With this background, the Japan Society of Medical Physics, the Japan Radiological Society, and the Japanese Society for Radiation Oncology established the Japanese Board for Medical Physicist Qualification, and developed the certification system that strictly and comprehensively conforms to clinical settings in 2009. Since then, we have accredited outstanding medical physicists with the greatest care, thanks to the efforts of my many predecessors including Professor Shogo Yamada as well as the solid generous support and encouragement extended from many other fields involved. As the incoming Representative Director I am firmly determined to make the very best efforts to continue and expand the pathways former office holders have opened. I sincerely hope and wish for you to provide me with continued cooperation.
Medical physicists need to be equipped with much of highly specialized knowledge and competence. Here it is extremely important that a third party is called on to approve that a person has qualified and is in possession of the competence that will ensure reliability for those who benefit from the results of their work. We at the Japanese Board for Medical Physicist Qualification conduct examinations in a variety of specialties to evaluate and prove that examinees have the necessary competence to perform the duties as medical physicists meeting to the highest international standards. Medical physicists are not exempt from further evaluation once their skills and techniques have been certified. Our board ensures regular verification of individual certified medical physicists, to maintain the skills and techniques that their field requires.
Medical physicists are engaged in a wide range of tasks in the field of radiation medicine, and the task that society places the greatest importance on is related to the treatment of cancer. Regulations for cancer treatment in Japan are periodically and regularly revised based on the Cancer Control Act (2006 act No.98), and the “Basic Plan to Promote Cancer Control Programs” (approved by a cabinet decision on June, 8, 2012) (the Basic Plan), which grows out of the provisions of the Cancer Control Act. Further, the Japanese government has encouraged the establishment of regional cancer centers to make quality cancer treatment available everywhere in Japan. On January 10, 2014, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) announced guidelines for hospitals that provide cancer treatment such as the designated cancer centers and hospitals, cancer hospitals specializing in specific cancers, and designated regional cancer hospitals, based on the “Guidelines for establishing Designated Cancer Center Hospitals (Guidelines)” promulgated in the name of the director of the Health Service Bureau of the MHLW. Hospitals recommended to be “Designated Cancer Center Hospitals” must undergo an evaluation before the determination of whether they comply with these guidelines is made.
The Guidelines specify the detailed requirements of the regulations in II Requirements for designation as a Regional Cancer Center Hospital. Among the requirements there is the elaboration that the “Designated Cancer Center Hospitals must employ at least one full-time engineer who is engaged in accuracy control of equipment for radiation treatment, verification of irradiation plans, and is available to assist in the work related to irradiation plans. It is preferable that such engineers are medical physicists certified by the Japanese Board for Medical Physicist Qualification”. This is in addition to physicians, clinical radiological technologists, and nurses.” in clause (ii) Employment of medical professionals equipped with specialized knowledge and skills other than physicians of medical professionals. Here, we of the Japanese Board for Medical Physicist Qualification pledge to certify medical physicists who have a thorough knowledge of medical physics and outstanding skills in accurate and exhaustive control, imbued with a sense of responsibility and understanding of medical ethics.
Japanese Board for Medical Physicist Qualification