Meet the Center for Radiological Research: Washington D.C.

Washington DC Event

Summary

On September 22nd the Center for Radiological research held it first cultivation event in Washington DC, “Meet the Columbia University Center for Radiological Research”. Through the diligence and generosity of Alan Jakimo and the law firm Sidley Austin, the event was set in a state-of the-art board room with wonderfully catered food and drink. Approximately half of the 34 registered alumni attended the event and the total attendance, including Columbia personnel, was 29.

After a half an hour of informal meeting and greeting with the attendees Alan Jakimo, Senior Counsel for Sidley Austin and CRR Advisory Board member, kicked off the proceedings by welcoming all attendees to Sidley Austin’s DC offices and setting the stage for the presentation that followed. Mr. Jakimo alluded to this year being the Center’s 100 anniversary and that he hoped that this event would be the first of many that help to usher in the second hundred years of Center research, education/training and policy development in radiological science.

Introduced by Mr. Jakimo, Dr. Paul Locke, Professor at Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University and Chair of the CRR Advisory Council took to the podium to welcome the guests on behalf of the Center for Radiological Research and to provide background and purpose of the “Meet the Columbia University Center for Radiological Research” event. He stated that one of the primary objectives of the Center, in the centennial year and beyond, is to inform the wider public about the mission, work and accomplishments of the Center as they relate to worldwide issues in medicine, public health and safety, homeland security and terrorism etc. Dr. Locke stated that the current gathering was the first of many efforts to raise awareness of the importance of the Centers work in general and with a particular focus on the shortage of professionals with radiologic expertise in this country. Dr. Locke then introduced a short (6 min) video that summarizes the breath and scope of the work being performed at the CRR.

After the end of the Video Dr. Locke introduced Dr. David Brenner, Director of the CRR who in a power-point presentation summarized the research activities of the center including: the effects of low dose radiation exposure, characterized by increases in the publics exposure due to increased CAT scan use; the medical effects of High Dose Radiation, highlighted by the Center’s contributions to prostate cancer radio-therapy and the anticipated Heavy Ion (carbon) research to combat intractable or hard to cure ailments  such as pancreatic cancer. Dr. Brenner went on to outline the center’s work to ameliorate responses to potential nuclear terrorism incidents or nuclear plant accidents through bio-dosimetry research. Dr. Brenner used the incident/accident at the Fukashima nuclear power plant after the 2011 tsunami hit that area of Japan to indicate that; 1. The public in the area of the power plant became skeptical of government announcements concerning the risk of radiation exposure or public safety because there was no quick and effective way to triage the large population, 2. The lack of trained radiological professionals, in this country and around the world, places a large burden on governments to develop sound and effective policies and procedures to deal with potential mass exposure to radiation, and 3. That public education about the actual risks associated with radiation exposure would go far in alleviating public fear and hysteria about radiation.

Dr. Brenner finished his presentation by outlining the education and training activities of the Center siting the graduate degree program in the radiological sciences in collaboration with the Mailman School of Public Health and the development of the CRR Training and Education Fund to support training for a doctorate (PhD) in the radiological sciences and at the post-doctoral level, allow scientist early in their careers the opportunity to train in the fields of radiation biology or radiation physics.  Before dr. Brenner could introduce the evenings special guest, many questions from the attendees were being asked that ranged from CAT scan inquiries to the potential to expand the use of bio-dosimetry to include non-radioactive agents such as mustard gas. Once the Q&A session was over CRR Advisory Council Member Francis “Chip” Cameron introduced the Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Mr. Stephen Burns.

Mr. Burns congratulated the Center on it 100 Anniversary and proceeded to talk about the history and importance of radiation research and its potential to improve the current uses of radiation while developing new methods and techniques to improve human health and safety.  Mr. Burns stated the Center for Radiological Research has been on the forefront of this research activity and continues to be a valued government resource. 

The event concluded with attendees mingling and networking with the CRR faculty and Advisory Council members who answered questions about the research and educational activities of the Center.

Selected photos of the event can be seen below and the full album can be seen HERE. 

  

 

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