EMERALD BULLETIN

 
EMIT AND EMERALD PRESENTED AT THE WORLD CONFERENCE "PHYSICS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT" IN DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

December 2005




The World Conference "Physics and Sustainable Development", organised by UNESCO, ICTP and IUPAP in Durbam (November 2005) included a special track PHYSICS AND MEDICINE. Emit and Emerald projects were presented at this track with a new expanded demo material, which could be used in various developing countries. The project was accepted together with the project for developing a Model MSC Curriculum in Medical Physics (to be announced soon through the Education and Training Committee of the IOMP).

The new demo is available from http://www.emerald2.net/WCPSD/







EMIT WINS THE FIRST EVER LEONARDO DA VINCI AWARD

December 2004


Dear Colleagues, we are very happy to inform you that on 15 December 2004 our EU project EMIT (European Medical Imaging Technology Training) was awarded the first ever LEONARDO DA VINCI AWARD. The award ceremony took place at the high level Conference of EU Ministers for Education "Strengthening European Co-operation in Vocational Education and Training", held in Maastricht, Holland, on 14-16th December. The event was organised by the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission together with the European Union Dutch Presidency. It was co-hosted by the new EU Commissioner for Education and Culture, Jбn Figel and the EU Dutch Presidency, represented by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Maria van der Hoeven.

The Leonardo da Vinci Award is the new international award, which EU launches to acknowledge achievements in Education and Training. 165 exemplary projects had been selected from more than 4000 EU projects (in the last 10 years). From these, 32 "success-stories" have been nominated for this prestigious Award and an International Committee of Experts selected 3 projects for the Award. EMIT project Consortium was the first to be announced as Winner of the first Leonardo Award. The specially made trophy (with engraving from the Leonardo's "Flying man") was presented to Dr Slavik Tabakov (EMIT Coordinator) and Dr Neil Leis (representing the Contracting Institutions King's College London and Kings College Hospital NHS Trust) by Mr Nicolas van der Pas - EU Director General for Education and Training. The innovation and the volume (more than 1 GB) of our e-Learning materials for Medical Physics Training (both in project EMIT and its predecessors EMERALD and EMERALD - Internet Issue) were described as "unmatched in their breadth and depth". The three winning projects were: E-learning develops medical imaging skills (EMIT) Leonardo Power Quality Initiative (LPQI) Giving credit for accumulated knowledge and skills benefits everyone (AKS)

EMIT Consortium thanks heartily to all colleagues who contributed to the development and assessment of these important for our profession e-learning materials.



EMERALD at the EMIT International Conference

October 2003


The International Conference on Medical Physics Training using e-Learning materials (under the project EMIT) supported the development of and EMERALD and Medical Physics e-Dictionary. For the moment the Dictionary extends to 4000 terms (in 7 languages). More information about will be available though the EMIT web pages at this site.





EMERALD Update News

January 2003


The EMERALD Image Database Update includes some 60 new images (most on CR, DDR and CT field). The new X-ray tasks are: Testing CR and DDR systems (part 1, 2 and 3) and Spiral CT - Basics and QC. The authors contributing these tasks are David Evans and Maria Lewis. Updates on Radiotherapy and Nuclear medicine will perhaps be available after the completion of the EMIT project (2004).





EMERALD e-Learning used in ICTP College

September 2002


The EMERALD materials were used for "vitual labs" at the International Medical Physics College at the ICTP, Trieste, Italy (The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, operating under the auspices of UNESCO and IAEA). The feedback from all participants to this college presented a background for planning a future e-Dictionary in Medical Physics.





New authors joined the EMERALD'02 Update

May 2002


Several new authors joined the team to prepare the new EMERALD'02 Update for the X-ray Diagnostic Radiology module. These include David Evans, Maria Lewis and Chris Lawinski. The new tasks are covering training competencies in the filed of Computed Radiography, Direct Digital Radiography, Spiral CT scanning, etc. The images accompanying these tasks will be included into the updated Image Database. The format used for the new tasks and images will be exactly as the previous format in order to facilitate the update of the existing e-training materials. The Updates on radiotherapy and Nuclear medicine will follow soon after the X-ray Update.





EMERALD Internet Issue free for a limited period

February 2002


The EMERALD Consortium has decided to remove the password from the "Training-on-Demand" Web site and allow colleagues from various countries to use free the e-training materials. These include all text of the training tasks (in PDF format) and a number of medium-quality (easy to download) pictures. This will prepare the users of EMERALD for the new coming EMERALD'02 update and will allow these who own the version of 1999 to download the additions to the version of 2001. This practice (of free downloads ) will be used in future for regular updates.





New Training Project follows EMERALD

November 2001


A new training project EMIT (European Medical Imaging Technology Training) has been approved by the EU Leonardo program. The project aims to develop training materials (e-books, image database, etc) in the field of Magnetic Resonance and Ultrasound Medical Imaging. The project will use the expertise and networks developed under EMERALD to produce the first fully structured training materials in these fields. The e-training materials will be available through the existing Web site of EMERALD. The materials will be developed in 2 languages - English and French (and the EMIT Guide will be available in 5 languages). The EMIT project will also include a free internet-based digital vocabulary of medical physics terms.







e-Edition of the book MEDICAL RADIATION PHYSICS - A European Perspective

August 2001


Medical Radiation Physics A European Perspective is a book containing most of the education and training initiatives and programs in Europe. It was based on the contributions to the First European Conference on Post-graduate Education in Medical Radiation Physics, held in Budapest on 12-14 November 1994.

Hundreds of copies of the "blue book", which second Internet-edition is presented here, were distributed all over Europe and other countries in the world. Based on this book more than 10 new post-graduate courses in Medical Physics were initiated in various East European countries.

The new Internet-edition of the book here requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.







EMERALD Feedback Seminar in London

April 2001


The Feedback Seminar of EMERALD in UK and the Consortium meeting (London 16-17 March 2001) attracted both trainers and trainees. The newest all-digital EMERALD training materials were presented at this meeting. These training materials "EMERALD - Internet Issue" consists of Internet-distributable Workbooks with hyperlinks to appropriate digital images (e-Workbooks). These are used through an Internet browser (either from the Web, or from CD-ROM) and Adobe Acrobat Reader. The materials incorporate the text from the existing printed Workbooks (with some modifications) and the images from the existing Image database. These both are now inter-linked aiming improved learning process.

Following the presentation, the participants tested the new EMERALD materials. The round table discussion incorporated questions related both to the new materials and to the EMERALD training as a whole. The feedback on use of EMERALD will be useful for colleagues from various countries (some 110 Universities, Hospitals and other Institutions from 38 countries have already obtained the EMERALD materials).

A summary of the discussion is presented below:

1. It was underlined that EMERALD is a resource, which could support various training schemes, and not a replacement of these. This has not been understood well by many colleagues and needs to be further flagged-up.

2. EMERALD has been built to suit the needs of various training schemes. Its greatest value is the flexibility offered - from one side the training tasks could be used 'as is' building a full training package, from another side these can be used to substitute existing training schemes.

3. Some colleagues from UK, who initially have taught that EMERALD contradicts wit the existing IPEM Training scheme, stated that actually the flexibility to use just separate tasks (or even parts of tasks) would be very helpful for their trainees.

4. From another point of view the colleagues from France have decided to use EMERALD 'as is' and build on it their training.

5. The prescriptive character of some of the tasks in EMERALD could provide background for lesser activity of the Supervisor. This should be avoided and the trainees would be more active in seeking various ways to fulfill the tasks, rather than blindly following all of these.

6. In some Centers, where very different procedures exist, the tasks of EMERALD have been used as an example for alternative practices. This has been particularly useful in lesser developed countries.

7. The Training Timetables of EMERALD have been found useful for suggesting further areas of training and competencies. The times to complete each task should be used only as indicative.

8. Most of the trainees have found EMERALD workbooks useful in ensuring that they have covered all the necessary aspects of the subject. This has provided them with extra information, pointing out areas where they may not have a complete understanding of a topic.

9. The trainees have had initial concerns on eventual similarity in their portfolios, while using EMERALD. Later it has been recognised that EMERALD has stimulated further tests and thoughts about the theory and any possible problems, thus enriching the material to go to the portfolio.

10. The Image Database has been found very useful for the needs of training. However very few colleagues have realised its hidden educational potential - from keyword search to image processing. The images have been heavily used for teaching.

11. The new e-Workbooks have been found very futuristic and attractive, however perhaps more time is necessary for some colleagues to adopt the usage of all-digital training materials. The EMERALD will incorporate possibility to print the digital materials and use them as normal printed matter.

12. A Glossary of Term could be very useful for the future use of EMERALD.





EMERALD International Seminar in Sweden

February 2001


The International EMERALD Seminar in Lund, Sweden (26-27 January 2001) addressed the Medical Physics training in the Nordic countries. The Seminar incorporated very interesting talks on the Professional recognition of the Diplomas within EC (by Mr Leif Gudmundson) and on the World Wide Web training for Radiologists (by Prof. Holger Petterson). It was agreed that EMERALD could offer additional training materials to other professional groups like radiologists and radiographers. The first results from the alpha testing of the new Internet distributable training materials of EMERALD were presented at this forum and were also tested by the participants. The form of these was appreciated by the participants as intuitive and easy to use in practice.

Following the Seminar further possibilities for development of new training materials in the field of Medical Imaging Technology (specifically - MRI and Ultrasound Physics) were discussed.





EMERALD International Seminar in Portugal

December 2000


The MeRPE International Conference in Lisbon, Portugal (20-22 November 2000) fostered an intense dialogue in the profession - focusing both on scientific development and education/training issues. Two dedicated Sessions described EMERALD and triggered many questions related to Medical Physics Training. The colleagues from Portugal, Spain, Italy and France were enthusiastic about the possibilities, which the training pack offers. Special attention was given to the fact that EMERALD can be used as a Framework, in which some of the existing training tasks could be exchanged (or updated) according to the local needs. The EMERALD Network was enlarged at this meeting and decided to open a call for further new optional tasks to be included in the training modules. According to the attendees further modules to address the new imaging modalities (MRI and Ultrasound) would strengthen the profession, providing guidance for both the young colleagues and all other colleagues who want to increase their knowledge in the filed.

During December the French Medical Physics Society announced its readiness to introduce EMERALD in the training centers in France. The first sets of the all-digital EMERALD training materials will be tested in France.





EMERALD collaboration with IOMP in Eastern Europe

October 2000


During September and October 2000 EMERALD project was presented at two special International Seminars in Eastern Europe. Both events were organised in collaboration with the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP), aiming to help the development of the Medical Physics profession in the Region. The first event was a special Seminar in Prague, which attracted senior professionals from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Ukraine. The Seminar incorporated 3 parallel Workshops and was highly appreciated. All delegates received free sets of EMERALD materials to be further distributed in their own countries. The first such event was in Bulgaria, where as part of the National Conference in Medical Physics and Bioengineering, a session was held incorporating a full EMERALD presentation. Being related with the new EURATOM Directive 97/43, this session emphasized the importance of EMERALD training for reduction of patient dose in medicine.





EMERALD at the Word Congress in Chicago (WC2000, July)

August 2000


The World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering in Chicago (WC2000) was a major professional event for both the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) and the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). The professional issues at WC2000 were of extreme importance, because from this year both IOMP and IFMBE are members of the International Council for Science (ICSU) - a step, which finally resolves the recognition of the profession in many countries in the world. In this connection the new Vice-President of IOMP (Prof. Niroomand-Rad) emphasized the importance of the development of Medical Physics Education and Training. The new structures of the IOMP (through all member societies) need to address these questions in the context of the future international recognition of professional knowledge and qualifications. EMERALD project (now used in about 35 countries) was mentioned several times as an example during WC2000. The milestones of EMERALD were presented at a special session in Chicago.





First EMERALD International Seminars (Ireland and France)

June 2000


The first two International Seminars of EMERALD took place in Dublin (Ireland) and Lille (France). Both events were organised in close collaboration with the respective National Medical Physics Societies. More than 40 senior colleagues attended the Seminars and the incorporated Workshops. These aimed to give further practical help to the Trainers (supervisors) using EMERALD. The guidance was associated not only with the physical aspects of the subject, but also with the pedagogical methodology and training organisation. The feedback received was very encouraging. On this basis a new call for additional images was issued for the second edition of the CD-ROM image database. The new images will be collected by the end of March 2001. The specialists on these Seminars discussed the future of the Medical Physics training and decided that the EMERALD approach is very useful and it would need to be extended in other areas of Medical Physics (on the first place - MRI). The French Medical Physics Society will further discuss the implementation of this training in most of the Trainign Centres in the country.





EMERALD REVIEWED

IPEM SCOPE 9(1) March 2000 (pages 19-21)

SCOPE 9(1) March 2000 (pages 19-21)

The article is presented with the kind permission of the SCOPE Editor-in-Chief



This is training material for postgraduate physicists aiming to work in medical radiation physics, developed by a consortium of specialists from various Universities and Hospitals in the UK, Sweden, Italy and Portugal (see SCOPE 8(4) Dec.1999).

This work has been supported by the EU grant (UK/9 5/2/2620/P/lI. 1 .l.c)IFPC of the EC programme Leonardo da Vinci.

Emerald consists of three Training Modules, Course Guide and CD-ROMS of:

Physics of Diagnostic Radiology developed mainly by the UK partners.

Physics of Nuclear Medicine developed mainly by the Swedish partners.

Physics of Radiotherapy developed mainly the Italian and Portuguese partners.

(see SCOPE ref. for prices)



Each module incorporates:

List of competencies (based on the IPEM scheme)

Student workbook with tasks (performance of each task leads to a specific competency)

Structured timetable (describing the approximate time for each task)



The workbooks for each subject are intended for trainees of medical physics with a basic knowledge in nuclear and radiation physics. In the UK most such trainees are supernumerary and either have an MSc from an IPEM accredited university course, or are doing the MSc part time while training in a post in a UK hospital. UK trainees also work to a list of competencies in University in each of these 3 subjects (if they are doing radiation subjects only). These competencies are simple statements, such as: 'The trainee shall be able to: calculate monitor units (or treatment time) taking into account field size factors, wedge factors, change in FSD and any other patients in common use".



Successful completion of these competencies will lead the trainee to qualify for DipIPEM, with their supervisor's help. This hurdle consists of a portfolio of evidence for each subject and an end point viva. The EMERALD material in each workbook builds on this approach to training by extensively elaborating on the simple competency statements, identifying a number of tasks to be undertaken as well as introducing each subject area with material that isn't easily available in text books.



To take the Physics of Radiotherapy workbook as an example the following subjects are addressed:

1-5: calibration of ionisation chambers and radiation sources (external beam)

6-8: beam data acquisition

9-10: treatment planning and monitor unit calculations

11-14: most quality assurance topics, including basic checks of a treatment planning system

15-20: all aspects of Brachytherapy required by the new trainee physicist.



The training required is considered to be on an individual basis with an experienced supervisor. However, it was recognised by the development team that trainees across Europe will have diverse backgrounds and experience different levels of supervision. For this reason the tasks are written out in some detail and are highly prescriptive. However, the introduction to the module states that: 'it is natural that the supervisor has the freedom to modify the prescribed performance of some of the tasks according to the national regulations, local protocols, available equipment, and other requirements, using in this case the EMERALD task as a "good practice guide".'



Each task has a time allocated for its performance and many have useful references. There is a place for the trainer's signature at the end of each section. The entire module is intended to be completed in 80 days, which fits neatly into the minimum training period of a UK IPEM trainee doing 3 subjects in 15 months (following a full-time MSc). This is excellent material that has obviously had a great deal of thought and time put into it. It will undoubtedly assist UK trainees and their supervisors by providing precise material that relates directly to the underpinning knowledge.



Although it is possible to argue that trainees need to spend some time interpreting the competencies for themselves as part of their core training, several people involved with training are concerned that the guidance from IPEM is on the thin side, particularly with the tight timetable available, and welcome the EMERALD type of approach. Training should be on an individual basis and to a certain extent the outcome of training will also depend on the resources of the training centre. By adopting EMERALD material in UK centres there will inevitably be more consistency between training centres and this can only be for the good, as long as the material is used flexibly and not as the only route the trainee should follow.



I have some reservations about the CD ROM material when considering it for the UK trainee. For trainees already in the particularly well-equipped training environment, e.g. radiotherapy physics within radiotherapy, these images have limited value. It would have been fantastic if this part of the computer package could have been interactive, however, I recognise that this would have been extremely costly. The CD images which must have taken a great deal of effort to put together (there are 1400 in the 3 volumes) - will be of value to trainees in other environments. They are also of value as a general resource for all teaching and training in these three radiation subjects to various groups within the NHS, and in vocational training at Universities.



All in all this is a valuable box of training material in an enterprising new form, and is worthy of a place in every training centre.



Edwin Aird





PRACTICAL QC SESSIONS WITH THE EMERALD

DIAGNOSTIC RADIOLOGY MODULE

December 1999


Special practical sessions were organised during 1999 in several countries aiming to promote the development of Quality Control (QC) activities in Diagnostic Radiology. These were in Brazil (University of Campinas - UNICAMP), Lithuania (Technological University of Kaunas), Latvia (Technical University of Riga) and during the Medical Physics College at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy.

The tasks developed in EMERALD Diagnostic Radiology Workbook were used as examples during all of these sessions. All attendees highlighted the usefulness of the EMERALD tasks for developing national programs on Diagnostic Radiology QC. Further practical sessions will be planned in the field of Nuclear Medicine QC.





EMERALD PROJECT SESSION AT THE 5th ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF IPEM

September 1999


A special session and exhibition were organised during the 5th Annual Conference of the UK Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), Nottingham, UK, September 1999. The topics presented at the session included:

1. The EMERALD approach to Medical Physics Training

2. EMERALD X-ray Diagnostic Radiology Physics Module

3. EMERALD Nuclear Medicine Physics Module

4. EMERALD Radiotherapy Physics Module

5. EMERALD Image Database CD-ROM

6. EMERALD Training - Supervisor's experience

7. EMERALD Training - Trainee's experience





ROUND TABLES ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING AND MEDICAL PHYSICS EDUCATION

June 1999


Two mini-symposia (round tables) on Biomedical Engineering Education and Medical Physics Education were organised during the 11-th Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering. The one on Medical Physics addressed questions on training as well. Considerable interest was shown to the EMERALD training modules. A number of seminars on Quality Assurance (using EMERALD) were planned in the three Baltic States. The topics presented at the mini-symposium included:

1. EMERALD Scheme for Medical Radiation Physics Training

2. Inter-University Education Centre and MSc Course in Medical Radiation Physics and Engineering

3. An Overview of Some European and International Activities in the Field of Medical Physics Education, Training CPD, Supported by of IOMP and EFOMP

4. Hospital Physicists: from Training to Education (Finland)

5. Medical Physics in Joint Baltic Courses





EMERALD FOR POST-GRADUATE EDUCATION

February 1999


The EMERALD training materials have been successfully used for lecturing in the Medical Radiation Physics MSc course at the Inter-University Medical Physics Centre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The images from the CD-ROM were directly used to support the delivery of the Diagnostic Radiology Physics module. Several of the tasks were used as Lab tasks during the same module. This link of the training materials for education purposes was highly appreciated by the students.

Representatives of several other Universities (UK, Greece, Estonia, Australia, USA) purchased EMERALD CD-ROMs to support their lecturing in Medical Radiation Physics.





A NEW PROJECT - EMERALD II APPROVED BY EC

December 1998


A new project EMERALD - Internet Issue (EMERALD II) has been approved by the EC program Leonardo da Vinci. The project includes the existing EMERALD partners and additional partners from Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The project aims to disseminate the EMERALD Training scheme in Europe through 5 Seminars "Train-the-Trainer" and to further develop the EMERALD multimedia.

The development of the new project will be for 2 years. It was decided the first enlarged EMERALD Consortium meeting to be in Florence, the city where Leonardo da Vinci spent many years of his life. The agenda of the meeting will cover aspects of the organisation of the Seminars, planning the multimedia development and launching a new web site of EMERALD with discussion forum. The meeting will also address the commercialisation of EMERALD materials.



EUROCONFERENCE EMERALD

ON MEDICAL RADIATION PHYSICS TRAINING

ICTP, Trieste, Italy

25-26 September 1998 .


This first EuroConference on Medical Radiation Physics Training aimed to assess and disseminate the results of the project for European Medical Radiation Learning Development (EMERALD).

The EuroConference was attended by senior Medical Physics professionals from: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Yugoslavia and United Kingdom. Many of the delegates were officers to the European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics (EFOMP) or of its affiliated national societies.

The first day of the EuroConference was devoted to familiarisation with the results of EMERALD - three training modules in Medical Radiation Physics (Physics of Diagnostic Radiology, Physics of Nuclear Medicine, Physics of Radiotherapy). These modules are for young graduates and post-graduate students in medical physics or related disciplines, their tutors, as well as other Hospital employees applying radiation to medicine. Each delegate received a full set of the pre-print edition of all training materials (3 Workbooks and a Course Guide). The philosophy of EMERALD, the training timetables and the contents of all modules were presented in detail. A Trainer and a Trainee presented the first results from the tests of EMERALD in practice.

During the second day of the Conference the delegates worked in three separate Workshops, where the practical implementation of the EMERALD Training Scheme was discussed in detail for each separate module. Each Workshop was repeated in order to allow one delegate to visit two different modules. The feedback from the Workshops was collected and reported to the Conference Feedback session by the External Referees of EMERALD. It was agreed that the views from this feedback would be incorporated in the last edition of the training materials.

The last session of the Conference was devoted to the further EMERALD Development - a CD-ROM with Medical Physics Images and Internet distributable Multimedia. These received enthusiastic support from the audience. It was discussed that a need exists for development of additional training materials on the new medical imaging modalities with non-ionising radiation (ex. MRI and Ultrasound scanners).

All delegates to the Conference expressed their high appreciation for the EMERALD training materials developed under the project. A number of further Seminars to help the Trainers using EMERALD were planned. The delegates agreed to form the hub of an EMERALD Network, which will facilitate the development of the Medical Physics Training in Europe. It was agreed full sets of all training materials to be sent to the Education and Training Committees of EFOMP and IOMP as well as to the IAEA.