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IAEA Curricula for Nuclear Medicine Professionals, Improving Nuclear Medicine Worldwide

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Participants at the 'ICNMP: Elevating Learning through Innovative Strategies' side event, held during the 60th General Conference. (Photo: J. Krickl/IAEA)

Demand for expertise in nuclear medicine and related sciences is increasing steadily as nuclear medicine applications expand and technology advances. Competent, well trained and properly qualified human resources are vital to sustaining safe and efficient nuclear medicine. The IAEA Curricula for Nuclear Medicine Professionals (ICNMP), developed to address the training needs of these professionals, was presented on 27 September 2016 at the Vienna International Centre, during the 60th General Conference at a side event titled ‘ICNMP: Elevating Learning through Innovative Strategies’.

The event, jointly organized by the Department of Technical Cooperation and the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, was opened by Mr Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation. Experts from academic and health institutions spoke at the event, including the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences; Osaka University, and the Hospital das Clinicas, Brazil, and senior IAEA staff.

“If nuclear medicine services can be made accessible in low- and middle-income countries, nuclear medicine will contribute directly to improving health care services, and consequently, improve patient care and contribute to the global health agenda,” Mr Yang said in his opening remarks.

The event showcased the Agency’s initiative to enhance the value of learning activities through the IAEA Curricula for Nuclear Medicine Professionals (ICNMP), and presented the ICNMP Framework for Human Resource Development.

Ms Najat Mokhtar, Director of the IAEA's Division for Asia and the Pacific, emphasized the importance of sustainable, harmonized and standardized training, saying "Capacity building is the backbone of sustainable development."

"The fields of medicine and science never stop moving forward - and neither should physicians. Whether physicians work in clinical care, research, health care administration, or other areas of medicine, the ICNMP initiative aims to provide accredited continuous CME tailored to their needs and their patients' needs," said Ms May Abdel-Wahab, Director of the Division of Human Health.

The ICNMP Framework is designed to tackle the serious shortage of qualified nuclear medicine professionals. It aims to deliver systematic and coherent training programmes that provide state-of-the-art educational support, with the goal of strengthening Member State capabilities to address their nuclear medicine training needs. The ICNMP Framework also aims to create a mechanism to broaden and continually update the knowledge and skills of nuclear medicine professionals, and to enhance regional capacities through partnerships and networking among participating Member States. It offers a measurable output: international bodies accredit courses under the ICNMP Framework with continuing medical education (CME) credits. 

With this internationally recognised accreditation in place, harmonisation of the education of medical professionals has taken a big step forwards. The training of medical professionals has already started: a first course under the framework was successfully held in May 2016 in Japan, followed by a second in September this year in Korea.

Panelists at the 'ICNMP: Elevating Learning through Innovative Strategies' side event, held during the 60th General Conference. (Photo: J. Krickl/IAEA)

Background

Nuclear medicine uses radionuclides to diagnose and treat many common diseases, in particular cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

In many Member States in Asia and the Pacific region, the delivery of nuclear medicine services is challenging. The availability of highly qualified nuclear medicine professionals is often a limiting factor, as it is the most vital element in sustaining nuclear medicine services in countries with existing facilities.

Consequently, such services in the region require long term and sustainable support for human resources development for nuclear medicine professionals. In order to deliver systematic, sustainable, harmonized and standardized training; and to improve quality, efficiency and effectiveness in nuclear medicine professional human resource development, the ICNMP in Asia and the Pacific region offers a new approach, developed within a framework of well-defined guiding principles.

The ICNMP provides a structured and continuous professional training programme through Practical Arrangements Agreements with regional prominent training centres that have adequate infrastructure and the capabilities to run training activities according to predefined criteria and syllabi of the ICNMP. 

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