The College of Science and Health Professions, Department of Physics, offers the Master of Science degree in Physics with a specialization in Medical Physics along with its newly accredited Medical Physics Graduate Certificate. The specialized master’s degree and graduate certificate are offered as joint programs with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF). Both programs are currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP).
Medical physics is a field devoted to the safe and effective use of ionizing radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Among other duties, medical physicists evaluate the performance of medical imaging devices, help design radiation treatment plans for cancer patients, and ensure regulatory compliance. Their activities can be categorized into three areas: clinical service and consultation, research and development, and teaching.
Program Co-director, Dr. Xiang Li, describes the Medical Physics specialty: “To prepare individuals for a successful career in medical physics, the joint CSU-CCF programs offer classroom courses in medical radiation physics, radiation therapy physics, medical imaging physics, radiation safety, radiation biology, and the supporting subjects of biophysics, computational physics, image processing, and electronics (with labs). In addition to the classroom courses, students in the MS program perform two to three semesters of clinical observation and research projects under the supervision of board-certified medical physicists at the Cleveland Clinic. The goal of the clinical observation is to expose the students to the actual clinical environment, its complexity, and its diversity. Training is provided on ethical behavior, patient safety, as well as effective communication. The goal of the research project is to expose the students to the frontier topics of medical physics and to develop their competency in using basic research methodology to solve problems encountered in clinical practice. The various training components prepare students for admission to a medical physics residency program or a PhD program in medical physics.”
The Cleveland State University Master of Physics program is ranked 7th among 62 of the largest physics master’s-granting departments in the U.S. according to the American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center’s April 2014 report.
John Muryn, MS Medical Physics student, 2nd year
John Muryn serves as a research and teaching assistant in the Physics Department. His research with advisors Dr. Xiang Li of CSU and Dr. Allan Wilkinson of CCF is focused on Monte Carlo CT simulation and brachytherapy.
Muryn, who was admitted to five other medical physics programs, shared “I liked CSU best because of the close affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic. Plus, I love the city of Cleveland. I have had such a positive experience studying here because the staff physicists from the Cleveland Clinic and the professors here at CSU are greatly invested in my future success.”
Muryn wanted a career which would combine his interests in physics and in helping people. He shared, “I was soul searching during my senior year of college and I ran across information on medical physicists. I learned that they use their physics background in clinical settings to help with the diagnosis of disease or with the treatment of cancer. I instantly knew that medical physics was the field that I wanted to go into. Because of the experience that I have gained here, I am prepared to fill either diagnostic or therapy residency positions.”
Currently interviewing for residency positions in both diagnostic and therapy medical physics, Muryn plans to work as a clinical medical physicist in a large institution and to also hold a teaching position in the future. He earned an undergraduate degree in Physics from Baldwin Wallace University and will complete the CSU’s Master of Science in Physics with a Medical Physics Specialization in May, 2015.
Allan Wilkinson, PhD DABR*, Program Director
Dr. Wilkinson, Director of the Medical Physics MS and Certificate Programs, received his PhD in Biophysics from Yale University and then joined the Physics Department at Carnegie-Mellon University as a researcher in biophysics. He later went to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh working in radiation therapy and hyperthermia. Dr. Wilkinson was instrumental in the establishment of the CSU medical physics graduate program. He serves as Vice-Chief of Physics in the Radiation Oncology Department and Director of the Physics Residency Program at the Cleveland Clinic. *Diplomat of the American Board of Radiology.
Xiang Li, PhD DABR*, Program Co-director
Dr. Li is a native of China. She received her MS degree in Physics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. This was followed by a PhD degree in Medical Physics from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Before joining the CSU faculty in fall 2013, Dr. Li also completed a three-year residency program in diagnostic medical physics at Duke University Medical Center. She is certified by the American Board of Radiology (ABR) in Diagnostic Medical Physics. Li is passionate about research, teaching, and helping students to develop their professional careers. Currently, she serves as the Co-Director for the Medical Physics MS and Certificate Programs. *Diplomat of the American Board of Radiology.
The Physics Department and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Radiation Oncology Department and Radiology Section have collaborated since 1999 to offer the Medical Physics specialization. It is the only program of its kind in northeast Ohio. In addition to Medical Physics, the Physics Department of Cleveland State University also offers specializations in Optics and Materials, and Optics and Medical Imaging.
The first cohort of the Medical Physics certificate program will begin in fall semester, 2015. For further information contact Dr. Kiril Streletzky, Graduate Program Director, Master of Science in Physics, email@example.com, or Dr. Xiang Li, Medical Physics Program Co-Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.