An innovative “Train the Trainers Workshop on Medical Physics Support for Nuclear or Radiological Emergencies” was held at Fukushima Medical University (FMU) from 22 to 26 June 2015 as one of the cooperation projects between FMU and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 21 trainees from 17 countries (including Japan) participated in this workshop, together with 5 lecturers from Sweden, the UK, Germany, Malaysia, and Austria, and 3 members of the IAEA staff. Lecturers from the National Institute of Radiological Science, Japan (NIRS) and FMU also participated. Moreover, 3 exchange students from the UK and the US joined this event in the last three days of the workshop.
As medical physicists are not routinely involved in Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (NRE) situations, they might lack some of the specific knowledge and skills that are required in such situations, especially if such topics are not part of their training programme. To address this, the IAEA, in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP), and the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA), developed a specific training package to help prepare medical physicists to support NRE situations. The training package was developed with the kind support of the Government of Japan and in collaboration with FMU and the NIRS.
This project was implemented under the memorandum between IAEA and Fukushima Prefecture, which was signed in December, 2012.
(Objective of the Workshop)
The objective of the workshop was to provide the participants with a good understanding of their potential complementary roles in Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (NRE) situations, and to prepare them to contribute effectively to support the response to an NRE situation as identified in emergency preparedness plans. The participants are also expected to contribute to the training of other health care professionals in the response to NRE situations.
This workshop will also introduce the participants to a multidisciplinary team approach in dealing with NRE situations.
(Structure of the Workshop)
This five day workshop consisted of lectures, demonstrations, simulation, role playing, and practical sessions followed by discussions with the workshop participants. The topics to be covered include the following 14 Modules:
Module 1: Introduction
Module 2: Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies
Module 3: Radiation Measurements and Instrumentation
Module 4: Dose Assessment and Dose Reconstruction
Module 5: Monitoring and Decontamination of People – Scene and RMU
Module 6: Monitoring and Decontamination of People – Hospital
Module 7: Large Area Surveys – Monitoring of Food and Water
Module 8: Biological Effects of Radiation – Cell and Tissue Effects
Module 9: Biological Effects of Radiation – Stochastic Effects
Module 10: Protection Strategies for the Public
Module 11: Protection Strategies for Workers
Module 12: Medical Management
Module 13: Psychosocial Effects and Impacts on Mental Health
Module 14: Effective Risk Communication
Effectiveness of the workshop
Test results, before and after the workshop, indicated that the workshop brought about a very significant improvement of participants’ knowledge regarding the role of the Medical Physicist in Nuclear or Radiological Emergencies (NRE). The average grade in the after-workshop test was 61.84%. Compared to the average grade of 46.98% in the pre-workshop test, this improvement is considered to be extremely statistically significant by conventional criteria (The two-tailed P value equals 0.0005). Further analysis of test results showed a clear improvement (P<0.05) of participants’ knowledge in the domain of “Monitoring and Decontamination of People” after the workshop.
In the relevant survey, more than 85% of participants provided positive opinions on the various aspects of the workshop, related to the length and content of the modules, as well as the organizational aspects of the workshop.
The survey identified some suggestions coming from the participants that could improve the content of the workshop. More specifically, participants proposed to increase the time allocated for:
- Monitoring and decontamination
- Radiological emergency training
- Practical sessions
Participants also proposed that overlap among modules and length of some presentations could be reduced.
IAEA’s report of this workshop, and access to their online learning platform, can be viewed at:
Presentations by FMU’s Prof. Kenneth Nollet are structured differently from the usual IAEA format, so they are available here for personal scholarship and non-commercial educational activities in accordance with “fair use” copyright and other applicable laws:
Participants acquired skills and knowledge necessary to contribute effectively to the response to an NRE situation as identified in emergency preparedness plans. They now have a better understanding of their potential roles in NRE situations and are in a position to contribute to the training of others in the response to NRE situations. In 2016, another workshop for medical physicists is scheduled to be held in the United States as part of the same training initiative.