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2023 RO-ILS Physicist Safety Stars

The 11th annual International Day of Medical Physics is November 7, 2023.

Last year, RO-ILS released the 2022 great catch to highlight a case where an attentive physicist reviewing a 4-D CT scan identified incorrect contours that occurred upstream in the planning process. The newly released 2023 great catch shares a new RO-ILS event about another physicist who identified missing nodal contours. The documents include lessons learned and safety questions to provoke introspection.

To promote practices and people that are making headway in safety, RO-ILS is recognizing specific medical physicists for their contributions to patient safety. RO-ILS participants were invited to nominate their colleagues. Many fantastic physicists were nominated and all are worthy of acknowledgment in their own right. ASTRO's and AAPM's RO-ILS committee volunteers reviewed anonymized information and focused on how the nominees exemplified safety culture principles, invested in incident learning and led quality improvement initiatives.

Congratulations to the 2023 Physicist Safety Stars! (Listed in alphabetical order.)

Ryan Manger

Ryan Manger, PhD
Associate Professor and Associate Division Director
University of California San Diego
San Diego, California
RO-ILS Enrolled 2014

“Ryan is the associate director of our department responsible for standards and guidelines and in this role has had a tremendous impact on our ability to ensure consistent high quality of plans through compliance with guidelines on treatment protocols and dose constraints. These efforts have follow-on effects such as simplifying peer review and physics plan checks. Ryan also serves on the department Quality Committee ensuring enterprise-wide adoption of these standards.”

—Jeremy Hoisak, PhD, Associate Professor
Jason Pukala

Jason Pukala, PhD
Chief of Clinical Physics
Orlando Health Cancer Institute
Orlando, Florida
RO-ILS Enrolled 2017

“Jason exemplifies a safety leader by providing high-quality patient care while guiding our department in all aspects of incident learning. No recognition can reflect the ongoing commitment that Jason has put toward ensuring that we have the proper practices in place to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients. However, it would be wonderful way to remind him that we all appreciate how he has made our department a place where safety and culture are on the forefront of patient care.”

—Amish Shah, PhD, Chief of Physics; Director of Radiation Oncology
Cassandra Stambaugh

Cassandra Stambaugh, PhD
Associate Professor
Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts
RO-ILS Enrolled 2018

“Cassandra’s residency research proposed clinically relevant IMRT QA workflows to improve efficiency and value. At Tufts, she serves as Chair of the QA Committee, and she developed a program where residents perform RO-ILS follow-up and engaged in process improvement. She worked with the RO-ILS program to evaluate features and improve user experience. Within AAPM, she is a leader in the Medical Physics Leadership Academy.”

—Christopher S. Melhus, PhD, Chief of Radiation Oncology
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