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Nuclear Medicine: Leading Associations Meet to Strengthen Global Patients Care

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Participants at the nuclear medicine meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. (Photo: T. Pascual/IAEA)

Heads of associations and societies in nuclear medicine from around the world met at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna last week in a first-ever group meeting of such experts from all continents to examine the opportunities and challenges they face in their work. On the last day they issued a report containing recommendations endorsed by all participants with the aim of further harmonizing several areas of nuclear medicine, notably training and education.

“It was the first meeting where heads of all major professional organizations in the world came together to talk about global strategy, how nuclear medicine can improve patient health, the challenges currently arising and how we can work in cooperation with the IAEA,” said Professor Andrew Scott, President of the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine, who chaired the meeting.

During the weeklong meeting from 16 to 19 July, participants discussed issues including access to nuclear medicine in healthcare systems, the challenges faced by professionals to stay abreast the constant developments in the field, and the need to encourage and support research studies aimed at covering gaps in this medical science.

They also emphasized the importance of partnership and ongoing dialogue about advancements in nuclear medicine, and working together to establish a broad consensus to increase the impact of nuclear medicine in the management of major health conditions.

Rapidly evolving new technologies

Topics specially focused on education and training, with participants highlighting the dynamic nature of the nuclear medicine field, which evolves rapidly from one year to the next.

“There is a need to facilitate the training of professionals involved in the practice of nuclear medicine, so they can stay up-to-date with the novel applications and technologies and thereby better serve their patients,” said Diana Paez, Head of the Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging Section of the IAEA’s Division of Human Health. “There are so many new developments coming to the field, therefore we have to provide a life-long education plans.”

As part of their discussions the participants addressed the differing standards of nuclear medicine training and education from region to region.

Facilitating innovation

The growing demand for nuclear medicine services to manage an increasing number of patients suffering from non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases requires an increase in innovative nuclear technologies, the participants agreed.

The IAEA has worked for over 60 years to promote the use of nuclear medicine and it continues to collaborate with its Member States and other organizations through several mechanisms including improving infrastructure and training the multidisciplinary team of professionals. The aim is to help build or strengthen Member States capabilities with regard to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health conditions through the application of nuclear techniques, including nuclear medicine.

The IAEA plays an important role in providing experts in nuclear medicine with a platform to exchange ideas, experiences, knowledge and advice.

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