An original member of the ABR’s Medical Physics Initial Certification Advisory Committee, Samantha Simiele, PhD, jumped at the chance to contribute when invited to become part of the group in 2016.
“Joining the team allowed me to contribute to a process so integral to the medical physics profession and at such an early stage in my career,” said Dr. Simiele, who was asked to be part of the committee after the ABR reached out to the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs, among other groups, for member suggestions.
“I couldn’t pass up the chance to sit in the same room with members of the ABR Board of Trustees and relay both my own experiences with the ABR exam process as well as the experiences of my colleagues,” she said.
Dr. Simiele is an assistant professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she contributes to genitourinary, gynecological, and brachytherapy clinical services. She enjoys being part of a committee that seeks to enhance communication with exam candidates and leaders of graduate programs, residency programs, and societies.
The committee has enabled discussions and two-way feedback about the processes, decisions, timing, and delivery of exams, and provided valuable thoughts for improving the MP certification experience.
“Members of the ABR need to hear from candidates who are using these resources in high-stakes situations, such as actual exams, to learn what works well and where areas for improvement exist,” Dr. Simiele said. “Even when the best intentions are present, there are always additional considerations that can only be learned by hearing from the stakeholders.”
Dr. Simiele has seen the committee’s focus sharpen in her five years. The members used to meet annually in person during the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Conference. They recently began getting together quarterly in virtual meetings that include ABR MP Trustees Matt Podgorsak, PhD (committee chair); Kalpana Kanal, PhD; and Robert Pooley, PhD; Governor J. Anthony Seibert, PhD; and Associate Executive Director for MP Geoffrey Ibbott, PhD (committee secretary).
“I hope the team encourages transparency, provides a voice to the stakeholders, and enhances the overall certification experience,” Dr. Simiele said. “With each meeting of the committee, different perspectives are shared, and modifications to the process are made. I hope this dialogue between candidates and the ABR continues well into the future.”
The committee is most effective when it receives thoughts from MP candidates and others who have recently completed the process. Members can use those ideas to spark better discussions and improve results.
“I encourage any physicist who is in the process of becoming certified to contact our committee with any concerns or suggestions,” Dr. Simiele said. “The committee exists to promote transparency and improve the initial certification experience for candidates. No question is too big or small and the committee wants to hear from you!”
Other members of the committee include Jay Burmeister, PhD; Wendy Harris; David Walter Jordan, PhD; Reed Kolany; Bruce Libby; Brian Loughery; Kristin McConnell, PhD; Wayne Newhauser, PhD; Graham Owen; Joann Prisciandro; Jacob Rembish, and Sameer Taneja.