What is medical physics?

According to the AAPM, “Medical Physics is an applied branch of physics concerned with the application of the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease.”

Learn more about medical physics basics here!

Program evolution and history

In 2006, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Oregon State University (OSU) agreed to offer a graduate degree in medical physics; the newly created program was called the Oregon Medical Physics Program (OMPP). The motivation behind this joint degree program was born of a desire to tap into local experts in radiation physics and medicine. In 2014, the OMPP added a track in diagnostic imaging physics to complement the radiation therapy physics track. In an effort to increase the time students spend in the clinic, students began matriculating directly to OHSU in 2016. This allows students to establish their research projects and root their understanding in clinical medical physics at Oregon’s only academic hospital. As of 2021, the program is now exclusively offered through OHSU where students remain for the entirety of their degree program. Now called the OHSU Medical Physics Graduate Program, our goal is to offer an optimal educational experience for future clinical and research medical physicists. The OHSU Medical Physics Graduate Program is the only CAMPEP-accredited program in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently accredited through 2025.

Oregon Medical Physics Program Students

Program goals and objectives

The OHSU Medical Physics Graduate Program has one simply-stated goal (and a few basic objectives), which align directly with CAMPEP's published standards.

The Medical Physics Graduate Program's overarching goal is:

To provide education, clinic-based training, and experience to our medical physics students in order to prepare them for success in their future careers.

The following basic objectives are the drivers for achieving this goal:

  • To demonstrate consistent practices which reinforce safety, continual learning, collegiality, and ethical behavior at all times
  • To teach the theoretical underpinnings of the processes involved in clinical medical physics so students are equipped to make accurate judgment calls when confronted with clinical problems
  • To prepare graduates for the clinical rigors of residency through a combination of didactic and hands-on therapeutic and diagnostic medical physics course work in a large hospital setting
  • To expose students to a wide array of educational references, research areas, and clinical situations, which will allow them the breadth of information to choose the area in medical physics that suits their interests and abilities
  • To critique students in didactic, research, and clinical work in an effort to establish truthful self-assessment within each individual
  • To encourage innovative and clinically translatable research, providing students with the guidance and tools to accomplish their research goals
  • To integrate an ethical framework within education and practice which makes teamwork and self-awareness inextricable components in medical physics practice