IAEA and Trinity College Dublin partner to combat inequality in radiation therapy education

The IAEA and Trinity College will work together to assess the barriers to the implementation of international curricula for RTTs.


IAEA | Updated: 24-06-2021 10:42 IST | Created: 24-06-2021 10:42 IST
IAEA and Trinity College Dublin partner to combat inequality in radiation therapy education
“The Trinity College Dublin has had a solid history of collaboration with the IAEA,” said Eduardo Zubizarreta, Head of the IAEA’s Applied Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy Section. Image Credit: pxfuel

The IAEA and Ireland's Trinity College Dublin are joining forces to combat the global inequality in the education of radiation medicine health professionals, particularly, radiation therapists (RTTs).

The IAEA and Trinity College will work together to assess the barriers to the implementation of international curricula for RTTs. The partnership is aimed at helping countries to develop their own radiation therapy education programmes.

A webinar series will be launched to provide up-to-date information on recent and new developments impacting the RTT profession and share experiences in the development of radiation therapy education programmes. Interested participants can register for the first webinar on 5 July 2021, which will focus on the evolving roles of RTTs. Following webinars will deal with topics such as the development of a learning community, and strategies in advancing the professional profile and education of RTTs.

RTTs are the health professionals responsible for the accurate preparation and delivery of radiation therapy protocols to cancer patients. They also provide key psychosocial support to patients on their cancer treatment journey. However, the education of RTTs globally is very varied, ranging from limited or no radiation therapy-specific education to full 4 years dedicated degree programmes, such as those offered by the Trinity College Dublin.

"The Trinity College Dublin has had a solid history of collaboration with the IAEA," said Eduardo Zubizarreta, Head of the IAEA's Applied Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy Section. "One notable achievement was the Train-the-Trainers Programme for RTTs we have jointly developed, together with the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology, ESTRO. This initiative, which saw its 11th edition in 2019, has been an important driving force in the recognition of the RTT profession, particularly in Europe."

Radiation therapy is applied to 50-60% of all cancer patients at some point in their cancer care and is responsible for 40% of cancer cures, whether on its own or in combination with other therapies, such as surgery and/or chemotherapy.

Michelle Leech, Associate Professor in Radiation Therapy at Trinity, added that RTT education was fundamental to the accurate and precise delivery of radiation therapy protocols. "At Trinity College Dublin, we are committed to providing the highest quality education to all health professionals working in the field of radiation oncology," she said. "We look forward to adding the Trinity expertise to that of the IAEA in tackling this global inequality and ultimately improving patient care."

The Discipline of Radiation Therapy, at Trinity's School of Medicine, is a recognized world leader in radiation medicine education. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in radiation therapy and has an active research programme, Applied Radiation Therapy Trinity (ARTT).

The IAEA supports countries in the use of nuclear and radiation medicine to fight a growing incidence of chronic diseases, such as cancer. It assists its Member States in the procurement of equipment, research, training of medical professionals and in carrying out quality assessments, among others.

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