Graduate students in the Medical Physics program at Duke Kunshan University shifted their field of view from the theoretical to the actual on April 12, 2017 when they made a field trip to Shanghai Chest Hospital. Led by Professor Huang, Director of Graduate Studies for Duke Kunshan Medical Physics, the visit introduced students to the hospital’s radiotherapy department and treatment equipment. Trip highlights included a report by Prof. Huang on image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) for hospital staff and the students, along with a meaningful discussion and exchange of opinions between the experienced practitioners and those in training.

Left:  Shanghai Chest Hospital;  Right:  Dr. Xu Zhiyong, Director of the Medical Physics Division, greeted Prof. Huang

Visiting the radiotherapy department

A physicist demonstrated how to do a treatment plan 

Upon arriving at the hospital at 10:00 am, Duke Kunshan students and Prof. Huang were greeted warmly by Dr. Xu Zhiyong, Director of the Medical Physics Division of Shanghai Chest Hospital. Under his guidance, students first visited the radiotherapy treatment equipment - linear accelerator. Dr. Xu and Prof. Huang introduced its construction and operation to students. Then, they moved on to the simulation positioning room. Students made many inquiries regarding 3D-CT instruments and 2D instruments, gaining understanding of their practical use to build on the students’ grasp of theory. Finally, they entered the treatment plan room where physicists do the work of treatment planning. Physicists described to students their daily work in detail, including the treatment steps. There in the live-action setting, it was clear as a scan to see students full of curiosity and interest in their future possible working environment.

Prof. Huang’s inspiring report

Prof Huang was making the report

After lunch, Professor Huang gave an “applied and pure” report to doctors, physicists, technicians and Duke Kunshan students. Mr. Fu, the Director of the Radiotherapy Department at Shanghai Chest Hospital, also participated in the talk. Starting with the definition of IGRT, Professor Huang introduced the history of this technology, its three stages of development, specific operational procedures, and more. Finally, Professor Huang gave his own opinion on the future directions of image-guided radiation technology.  By the end of the report, all participants were informed and enlightened. Prof. Huang’s report provided new technical knowledge for hospital staff, while students gained valuable clinical information and experience.    

Discussion between hospital staff and students

After Prof. Huang's lecture, students and the hospital staff launched an enthusiastic exchange and discussion.  Students gained a picture of actual practice and an understanding of the training system for physicists, which will be of great benefit when deciding specific career paths. For its part, the hospital put forward their own expectations for students, helping these future practitioners learn and know what it takes to become a qualified physicist. Shanghai Chest Hospital expressed its open and welcome attitude to Duke Kunshan students, encouraging them to consider the hospital as an important choice when seeking internships and full-time jobs.

Duke Kushan MP student Jiannan Shi (left) discussed an issue of medical physics with Director Fu (right)

Hospital staff, Professor Huang and DKU-MP students posed for pictures

The field trip came to a satisfying end following the engaging discussion among students and hospital staff, as students harvested a quite rewarding experience at Shanghai Chest Hospital.