With an already extensive docket of achievements, Dr. Ishmael Parsai can now add Fellow of the International Organization for Medical Physics to the list.Unlike other fellowships that select recipients via nominations, International Organization for Medical Physics Fellows are picked by an honoree committee comprised of medical physicist professionals from around the world. The fellowship is awarded to recognize outstanding medical physicists who have made significant contributions to the field and to the International Organization for Medical Physics and its regional organizations on a global scale in development of medical physics over a significant period of time.
This year only six individuals received the honor, and only two were from the United States.
“This award is a tremendous honor, especially because it’s at the international level,” said Parsai, UT professor of radiation oncology, chief of the Medical Physics Division and director of the Graduate Medical Physics Program. “The international community is very different from the national one in that representatives from different countries have their own way of measuring achievements and there’s not one right way. So when a committee comes to the agreement that it’ll pick a dozen people throughout the world and they select one guy from UT, that’s indeed a great honor.”
When asked what he considered some of his greatest achievements in medical physics, he answered, “The students we produce are the legacy. I have been so fortunate to have worked with students whom I have learned so much from, and I’ve taught them a little bit, too. Many have become great leaders in our field and community, and I am proud to have been a part of their professional lives.”
Parsai has published numerous benchmarked manuscripts, including patented ideas in the field of medical physics and radiation oncology, which he considers to be accomplishments that distinguish his career.
One that he considers highly important involved the modification of radiation delivery systems to cancer patients that achieve higher doses of radiation in a much shorter time without needlessly damaging surrounding tissue. This technology, developed eight years ago at The University of Toledo Medical Center, has become an integral part of every modern linear accelerator manufactured and marketed worldwide. It is critically significant in advanced treatment modalities, such as stereotactic body radiotherapy — a specially designed coordinate system used for the exact localization of tumors, he said.
In addition to his clinical work, research and teaching, Parsai served as the editor-in-chief for the International Organization for Medical Physics bulletin, Medical Physics World — a publication distributed to more than 21,000 practicing medical physicists in 92 countries — for 10 years.
“His work has helped bringing together medical physicists from all over the world and had a huge impact in promoting global development of medical physics,” said Dr. Kin-Yin Cheung, president of the International Organization for Medical Physics.
Parsai is also a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the first scientist to receive the Fellowship of the American College of Radiation Oncology in the United States.
He received his award earlier this month at the International Organization for Medical Physics presidential reception during the World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering in Toronto.