Meet a Team Member
Wolfram Laub, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Director of medical physics, OHSU Department of Radiation Medicine
When they think of radiation therapy, most people don’t think about physics. As a medical physicist, I’m part of the team deciding what equipment to purchase and which technologies will serve people best. We calibrate the machines and review the data from each treatment to make sure you receive the correct dose. Before you show up for your first treatment, medical physicists are part of treatment planning. I have a Ph.D. in physics with an emphasis on medical physics. I’m able to look at how good the computers’ calculations are and see where the dose needs adjusting.
At OHSU, we have seven medical physicists, the largest group in Oregon. I’ve worked in other clinics, and I believe OHSU has the widest array of technology and specialty procedures. Our image guidance program is very strong. We use the Calypso system with GPS tracking, laser scanning for correct positioning and other systems. The technology we have is amazing.
We offer a master’s program in medical physics with Oregon State University, and we have graduate students and foreign exchange students. Research and education change our culture. Patients benefit because we don’t sit back and get comfortable. We have to have answers – we’re always moving and changing, always innovating. We think, “OK, what’s next?”
Often when people come for radiation treatment, they’re afraid. We grow up learning how bad radiation is, and here we are using radiation to cure people. I want to assure them we are doing our best to keep them safe and make sure we hit the target – the tumor. We do our best to minimize any side effects.
When a report came out about radiation safety in the New York Times, I helped prepare a response from OHSU. Some of the things that were reported, I just don’t see happening here. In those cases, staffing levels were below what they should be. We have very good staffing levels here. Our staffing levels allow us to do things right and not take any shortcuts. No one is working till midnight and then coming back to work at six in the morning. I know many places have lower staffing levels than we have, but OHSU puts the resources where they serve the patient best.