It’s hard for me to believe that my first year as President of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has come to a close, and I’m already writing my second Annual Report Presidential Message. It has been an exciting, sometimes quite challenging, but highly productive year for NCRP. I’d like to sincerely thank you, the many hard-working, dedicated members and supporters of NCRP. The NCRP leadership team could not do what we do without your steadfast support and encouragement.
Over the last year, I had the pleasure and honor of attending a number of meetings to discuss NCRP activities with various groups, national and international—e.g., U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU), Health Physics Society (HPS), Conference on Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD), NORM IX—and I never fail to be impressed with the high esteem with which NCRP is held. It is something you all should be very proud of. We strive to be responsive in radiation protection matters relevant to all of our stakeholders: federal agencies, Congress, members of the public, and, of course, our Council members, program area committee members, and scientific committees. I welcome hearing from you about how we can better serve you and the nation as a whole.
A personal highlight for me this year was a trip arranged by our fine colleagues in the U.S. Navy with whom the NCRP has a long-standing, fruitful relationship. A group of NCRP representatives took an exciting flight on a C-2 Greyhound COD (Carrier on Demand) to the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier 100 miles off the coast of North Carolina. We had the opportunity to spend a day with the splendid Navy officers and crew then return on the COD to Norfolk. The commemorative photo from the trip is shown below.
As I look forward to 2020, it is with great pleasure that I reflect back and report on the many accomplishments of NCRP in 2019.
NCRP Publications completed in 2019:
- NCRP Report No. 177, Radiation Protection in Dentistry and Oral & Maxillofacial Imaging (Co-Chairs: Alan G. Lurie and Mel L. Kantor), was published in December 2019. This Report provides radiation protection guidance for the use of x rays in dental practice, including the use of cone-beam computed tomography, digital-imaging devices, and handheld x-ray systems.
- NCRP Report No. 182, Radiation Safety of Sealed Radioactive Sources (Chair: Kathryn H. Pryor), was published in April 2019. This Report provides information on the safe design, acquisition, use and disposition of sealed radioactive sources from “cradle to grave” in a variety of occupational settings. It is of interest to operational radiation safety professionals, regulatory authorities, and users of sealed radioactive sources.
- NCRP Report No. 183, Radiation Exposures in Space and the Potential for Central Nervous System Effects (Phase II) (Chair: Leslie A. Braby; Vice-Chair: Jacob Raber), was published in November 2019. This critical look at the potential impacts of space radiation on cognitive and behavioral functions in astronauts received financial support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was much awaited by that organization and many individuals.
- NCRP Report No. 184, Medical Radiation Exposure of Patients in the United States (Chair: Fred A. Mettler, Jr.; Co-Chair: Mahadevappa Mahesh), which was published in November 2019, evaluates changes in medical radiation exposure to patients since NCRP Report No. 160, Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United States (2009). Report No. 184 shows a 15 to 20 % reduction in diagnostic and interventional medical radiation doses to the U.S. population from 2006 to 2016. Except for computed tomography (CT) scans, most medical imaging doses are stable or decreasing. This finding is a contrast to the dramatic rise documented in the 2009 Report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsored this important Report.
- NCRP Commentary No. 28, Implementation Guidance for Emergency Response Dosimetry (Co-Chairs: Stephen V. Musolino and Adela Salame-Alfie), was published in May 2019. As a companion to NCRP Report No. 179, Guidance for Emergency Response Dosimetry (2017), which defined the emergency worker and provided guidance to bridge the gap in managing dosimetry between trained, fully equipped emergency workers and the remainder responder community during the early response period, this Commentary is a guide for “boots-on-the-ground dosimetry” in the event of a radiological/nuclear incident. Commentary No. 28 was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
- Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the NCRP, held in March 2018, on “Radiation Protection Responsibility in Medicine” was published in the February 2019 issue of Health Physics [116(2):111–294].
- The Lauriston S. Taylor, Warren K. Sinclair, and Thomas S. Tenforde Lectures and the summary of NCRP 2019 Annual Meeting on “NCRP Meeting the Challenge at 90: Providing Best Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions About Radiation,” held April 1–2, 2019, are in press in Health Physics for the April 2020 issue.
Committees at Work:
- CC 2, Meeting the Needs of the Nation for Radiation Protection (Chair: Wayne D. Newhauser; Co-Chair: Jacqueline P. Williams), is expanding on our “Where are the Radiation Professionals (WARP)?” initiative, NCRP Statement No. 12 (2015). The Committee writing teams, covering all facets of the radiation sciences, produced a draft commentary which was reviewed by the Program Area Committees (PACs) this year, and they are now revising the draft to address the many comments received.
- SC 1-26, Approaches for Integrating Radiation Biology and Epidemiology for Enhancing Low-Dose Risk Assessment (Chair: R. Julian Preston; Vice Chair: Werner Rühm), has completed their thoughtful, comprehensive report, which is now with the NCRP office for final editing and formatting for publication. This is a CDC funded activity.
- SC 1-27, Evaluation of Sex-Specific Differences in Lung Cancer Radiation Risks and Recommendations for Use in Transfer Models (Chair: Michael M. Weil), is a NASA-funded initiative of great relevance to astronauts on long-duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The commentary being prepared will assess sex-specific differences in radiation-induced lung cancer in human populations and animal models and make recommendations for NASA regarding transfer models to be used in predicting risks for astronauts.
- SC 2-8, Operational Radiation Safety Program (Chair: Kathryn H. Pryor), is working diligently on updating NCRP Report No. 127 (1998) with the intent of providing guidance to individuals with responsibility for establishing and implementing operational radiation safety programs. A draft document for review should be ready shortly.
- SC 3-2, Recommendations for Instrument Response Verification and Calibration for Use in Radiation Emergencies (Co-Chairs: Leticia S. Pibida and Gladys A. Klemic), is preparing an NCRP statement on recommendations for periodic functionality checks of radiation detection instruments for emergency response in lieu of periodic, and typically cost-prohibitive, manufacturer-recommended recalibrations. This activity is funded by CDC.
- SC 4-7, Evaluating and Communicating Radiation Risks for Studies Involving Human Subjects: Guidance for Researchers and Institutional Review Boards (Chair: Julie E.K. Timins), has completed this report, which is now with the NCRP Managing Editor for editing and formatting for publication. The report is a unique, comprehensive document that provides useful information for the development, evaluation and execution of research involving exposure of human subjects to ionizing radiation. Funding has been received from the American Board of Radiology Foundation to assist in this effort.
- SC 4-8, Improving Patient Dose Utilization in Computed Tomography (Co-Chairs: Mannudeep K.S. Kalra and Edwin M. Leidholdt), has completed several draft versions of a commentary and initial PAC review could begin shortly.
- SC 4-10, Error Prevention in Radiation Therapy (Chair: Steven G. Sutlief), is preparing a statement which should be ready for initial PAC review later this year.
- SC 4-11, Gonadal Shielding During Abdominal and Pelvic Radiography (Chair: Donald P. Frush; Vice Chair: Keith J. Strauss), is preparing s statement that will include a succinct recommendation that is addressing an important issue to radiation protection in medicine. This eagerly awaited document should be ready for review by PAC 4 soon.
- SC 5-2, Commentary No. 29, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) and Technologically Enhanced NORM (TENORM) from the Oil and Gas Industry (Chair: William E. Kennedy, Jr.), provides a review of the generation and disposal of NORM/TENORM waste from oil and gas exploration and production. The Commentary addresses radiation protection, legal, and regulatory considerations. This CDC-funded document is about ready to go to the printer.
- SC 6-11, Dosimetry Guidance for Medical Radiation Workers with a Focus on Lung Dose Reconstruction (Co-Chairs: Lawrence T. Dauer and R. Crag Yoder), is preparing a commentary evaluating dosimetry, especially for lung, in a large cohort of medical radiation workers. This NASA-funded project has relevance to the studies in progress by SC 1-27 to assess sex-specific differences in lung cancer radiation risks. The commentary has been through all review steps and is being prepared by the Co-Chairs and Staff Consultant for handing over to the NCRP office.
- SC 6-12, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded effort, has undertaken the project Development of Models for Brain Dosimetry for Internally Deposited Radionuclides (Chair: Richard Leggett; Vice Chair: Sergey Tolmachev) as part of the Million Person Study (MPS). This work may also be applicable to concerns of NASA with regards to high linear-energy transfer (LET) radiation effects on the central nervous system.
Members, particularly chairs, of NCRP scientific committees are encouraged to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals summarizing the NCRP reports or commentaries that they worked on. The four such publications from 2019 are listed here.
- Mettler FA. Medical radiation exposure in the United States: 2006–2016 Trends. Health Phys. 2019. 116(2):126–128.
- Shore RE, Beck HL, Boice JD Jr, Caffrey EA, Davis S, Grogan HA, Mettler FA Jr, Preston RJ, Till JE, Wakeford R, Walsh L, Dauer LT. Recent epidemiologic studies and the linear no-threshold model for radiation protection – Considerations regarding NCRP Commentary 27. Health Phys. 2019. 116(2):235–246 [PMID:30585971].
- Cool D, Kase KR, Boice JD Jr. NCRP Report No. 180 – Management of exposure to ionizing radiation: NCRP radiation protection guidance for the United States. J Radiol Prot. 2019. 39(3):966–977 [PMID 30970327].
- Shore RE, Beck HL, Boice JD Jr, Caffrey EA, Davis S, Grogan HA, Mettler FA, Preston RJ, Till JE, Wakeford R, Walsh L, Dauer LT. Reply to Comment on “Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection.” J Radiol Prot. 2019. 39(2):655–659.
At this time, several manuscripts are being prepared, are in review, or are in press from members of SC 4-9 who prepared Report No. 184. We look forward to seeing those papers published in 2020.
2019 publications involving NCRP work, many reporting findings from the MPS, are listed here.
- Boice, JD Jr. NCRP vision for the future and program area committee activities in 2018. Health Phys. 2019. 116(2):282–294.
- Boice JD Jr, Ellis ED, Golden AP, Zablotska LB, Mumma MT, Cohen SS. Sex-specific lung cancer risk among radiation workers in the million person study and patients TB-fluoroscopy. Int J Radiat Biol. 2019 Jan 7. 1–12 [Epub ahead of print] [PMID 30614747].
- Golden AP, Ellis ED, Cohen SS, Mumma MT, Leggett RW, Wallace PW, Girardi D, Watkins JP, Shore RE, Boice JD. Updated mortality analysis of the Mallinckrodt uranium processing workers, 1942–2012. Int J Radiat Biol. 2019 Jan 17. 1–21 [Epub ahead of print].
- Dauer LT, Woods M, Miodownik D, Serencsits B, Quinn B, Bellamy M, Yoder C, Liang X, Boice JD Jr, Bernstein J. Cohort profile – MSK radiation workers: a feasibility study to establish a deceased worker sub-cohort as part of a multicenter medical radiation worker component in the million person study of low-dose radiation health effects. Int J Radiat Biol. 2019 Jan 27. 1–7 [Epub ahead of print].
- Boice JD Jr, Cohen SS, Mumma MT, Ellis ED. The Million Person Study, whence it came and why. Int J Radiat Biol. 2019 Mar 4. 1–14 [Epub ahead of print] [PMID 30831042].
- Boice JD Jr. The Million Person Study relevance to space exploration and Mars. Int J Radiat Biol. 2019 Mar 4. 1–9 [Epub ahead of print].
- Simon SL, Bailey SM, Beck HL, Boice JD, Bouville A, Brill AB, Cornforth MN, Inskip PD, McKenna MJ, Mumma MT, Salazar SI, Ukwuani A. Estimation of radiation doses to U.S. military test participants from nuclear testing: A comparison of historical film-badge measurements, dose reconstruction and retrospective biodosimetry. Radiat Res. 2019. 191(4):287–310 [PMID:30789797].
- Boice JD Jr, Held KD, Shore RE. Radiation epidemiology and low dose health effects from low-LET radiation. J Radiol Prot. 2019. 39(4):S14–S27. [PMID:31272090]
- Mumma MT, Sirko JL, Boice JD Jr, Blot WJ. Mesothelioma mortality within two radiation monitored occupational cohorts. Int J Radiat Biol. 2019 Jul 10. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID:31290725].
- Boice JD Jr. The likelihood of adverse pregnancy outcomes and genetic disease (transgenerational effects) from exposure to radioactive fallout from the 1945 TRINITY atomic bomb test. Health Phys. 2019 Jul 22. 1–9 (in press).
- Ansari A, Kleinhans K, Boice JD. Potential health effects of low dose radiation and what it means to the practice of radiation protection. J Radiol Prot. 2019. 39(4):E9–E13. [PMID:31756172].
The work of NCRP is presented at various venues by the officers and chairs/members of PACs and SCs. Presentations of NCRP work in 2019 included:
- John D. Boice, “Sex-Specific Lung Cancer Risks among Radiation Workers in the Million Person Study and Recommendations for Use in Risk Projection Models.” 2019 NASA Human Research Investigators’ Workshop; Human Exploration and Discovery: The Moon, Mars and Beyond. Galveston, Texas, January 22–25, 2019.
- John D. Boice, “Radiation and Cancer Genetics.” Vanderbilt University, Division of Epidemiology, Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (MAGEC), Nashville, Tennessee, February 15, 2019.
- John D. Boice, “Astronauts, Mars and Radiation.” Knollwood Military Retirement Community, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2019.
- John D. Boice, “The Once and Future NCRP.” Herbert M. Parker Lecture. Washington State Universities Tri-Cities, Richland, Washington, April 10, 2019.
- John D. Boice, “Million Person Study, USTUR and Mission Mars.” United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR), 2019 Scientific Advisory Committee Meeting, Richland, Washington, April 11, 2019.
- John D. Boice, “The Million Person Study of Low Dose Health Effects – An Update and Focus on DOE Workers.” Department of Energy, Forrestal Bldg., Washington, D.C., April 24, 2019.
- John D. Boice, “Using Terrestrial Epidemiology to Understand Space Radiation Risks – The Million Worker Study.” NASA ASEC 2019 (Applied Space Environments Conference), Los Angeles, California, May 14, 2019.
- John D. Boice, “Radiation-Induced Cancer and the U.S. Million Person Study,” 16th International Congress of Radiation Research (ICRR 2019), Manchester, England, August 2019.
- John D. Boice, “Is this it? What about LNT and the future?,” NCRP Co-Sponsored Session on “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams, A 25 Year Reality” at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
- John D. Boice, “Atomic veteran health studies and compensation schemes with emphasis on long-term implications to health,” 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
- Jerrold T. Bushberg, “Medical Radiation Exposure of Patients in the United States,” HPS Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, July 8, 2019.
- Lawrence T. Dauer, “Leukemia arises – but at what level?,” NCRP Co-Sponsored Session on “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams, A 25 Year Reality” at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
- Lawrence T. Dauer (on behalf of R. Craig Yoder), “The key to harmony is exceptional dosimetry,” NCRP Co-Sponsored Session on “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams, A 25 Year Reality” at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
- Lawrence T. Dauer, “U.S. Million Person Study: Status and Summary Results to Date,” International Dose Effect Alliance (IDEA) Workshop, Charlotte, North Carolina, December 2019.
- Keith F. Eckerman, “Dosimetry: Radiation Protection to Health Effects.” United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR), 2019 Scientific Advisory Committee Meeting, Richland, Washington, April 11, 2019.
- Ashley Golden, “Just a heart beat away,” NCRP Co-Sponsored Session on “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams, A 25 Year Reality” at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
- Naomi H. Harley, “Radon Dose NCRP vs. ICRP,” HPS Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, July 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, “Thoughts from NCRP on Doing More With Less in Challenging Times for Radiation Sciences,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Regulatory Information Conference (RIC), March 14, 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, “NCRP Vision for the Future & PAC Activities,” NCRP Annual Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, April 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, panelist, DOE-NCI Basic Research Needs Workshop on Compact Accelerators for Security and Medicine, Tysons, Virginia, May 6–7, 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, panelist, Session 2: Perspectives on Need for Low-Dose Research Program, NASEM Symposium on “The Future of Low-Dose Radiation Research in the United States,” Washington, D.C., May 8, 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, “Report on NCRP,” ICRU Annual Meeting, Singapore, June 24, 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, “Thoughts on Tolerability/Reasonableness from NCRP,” HPS Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, July 10, 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, “NCRP Activities and NORM/TENORM,” Ninth International Symposium on NORM, Denver, Colorado, September 2019.
- Kathryn D. Held, “The Space Radiation Environment and Bystander Effects after Particle Irradiation,” 7th International Symposium of Gunma University Program for Leading Graduate Schools, Maebashi, Japan, October 2019.
- John J. Lanza, “The NCRP: Why You Need to Know about this Organization,” HPS Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, July 10, 2019.
- Mahadevappa Mahesh on behalf of Members of NCRP SC 4-9, “Medical Radiation Exposure of Patients in the United States,” 105th Annual Meeting of the RSNA, Chicago, Illinois, December 2019.
- Dale Preston, “Sex, Lungs and Mars: Sex matters when going to the stars/Mars,” NCRP Co-Sponsored Session on “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams, A 25 Year Reality” at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
- Henry D Royal, “NCRP Report 184: Patient Diagnostic And Interventional Radiation Exposures In The U.S,” National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., November 2019.
- Adela Salame-Alfie, “PEP M-5, Considerations for Implementation of NCRP 179, Guidance for Emergency Response Dosimetry,” Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, July 8, 2019.
- Adela Salame-Alfie, “Implementation Guidance for Emergency Response Dosimetry,” HPS Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, July 11, 2019.
- Adela Salame-Alfie, “Considerations for Implementation of NCRP 179, Guidance for Emergency Response Dosimetry,” mid-year training of the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association, August 2019.
- John E. Till (for Emily Caffrey), “The atomic age and atomic men (Veterans),” NCRP Co-Sponsored Session on “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams, A 25 Year Reality” at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
- Sergei Y. Tolmachev, M Avtandilashvili, RW Leggett and JD Boice Jr. “Plutonium in human brain: Is more biokinetic detail needed for dosimetry?” 3rd International Conference on Dosimetry and its Applications (ICDA-3), Lisbon, Portugal, May 26–31, 2019.
- Sergei Y. Tolmachev, Avtandilashvili M, Leggett RW and Boice JD Jr. “Case Studies in Brain Dosimetry for Internally Deposited Radionuclides,” 64th Annual Meeting of Health Physics Society, Orlando, Florida, July 7–11, 2019.
- Sergei Y. Tolmachev, “From autopsies to synchrotrons to Mars – why the brain matters,” NCRP Co-Sponsored Session on “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams, A 25 Year Reality” at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Diego, California, November 2019.
Hopefully I have captured all presentations given on behalf of NCRP; I apologize if I’ve missed anyone! We greatly appreciate the time and effort of our members who beautifully represent NCRP to a variety of stakeholders!
In 2019 NCRP received funding support from a number of grant and contract sources. New funding in 2019 included:
- A four-year grant from NASA for a total of $2,371M to evaluate dementia and neurocognition among workers with alpha-particle dose to brain tissue.
- A grant from the American Board of Radiology (ABR) Foundation for $81,000 to support work on radiation protection in medicine.
In 2019, NCRP work, including scientific committees and the MPS, continued to be supported through ongoing funding from the following organizations:
- American Board of Radiology (ABR) Foundation (SC 4-7 and SC 4-8);
- CDC (SC 1-26, SC 3-2, SC 4-9, SC 5-2, and SC 6-10);
- NASA (SC 1-24P2, SC 1-27, SC 6-11, and MPS);
- DOE (SC 6-12 and MPS);
- DHS (SC 3-1P2); and
- U.S. Navy (MPS).
We gratefully acknowledge the significant support from these agencies and organizations and thank them for their continued interest in and funding of NCRP. This support is critical to our ability to provide the scientific service to the nation that is NCRP’s mission.
The 55th NCRP Annual Meeting, on April 1 and 2, 2019, was a special occasion where we celebrated the 90th Anniversary of the Founding of NCRP. The meeting was titled “NCRP Meeting the Challenge at 90: Providing Best Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions About Radiation,” and the Program Committee, chaired by Fred A. Mettler, Jr. with Co-Chairs Jerrold T. Bushberg and Richard J. Vetter, organized an enlightening, educational and entertaining meeting. The named lectures included the 43rd Lauriston S. Taylor Lecture by André Bouville on “Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests: Environmental, Health, Political & Sociological Considerations”; 16th Warren K. Sinclair Keynote Address by C. Norman Coleman on “Frontiers in Medical Radiation Science,” and the 3rd Thomas S. Tenforde Topical Lecture by Genevieve S. Roessler on “HPS Ask the Experts: Our Most Intriguing Questions & Answers.” There was special recognition of John D. Boice, with the presentation of a lovely portrait painted by Kenneth L. Miller and announcement of the establishment of the John D. Boice Young Investigators Award. We continued the traditional, very special, elements of our meeting, including the presentation of the colors by the Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard from the Military District of Washington, D.C., the singing of the National Anthem by Ms. Kimberly Jordan of NRC, and the recognition of the Radiation Research Society (RRS)/NCRP Scholars.
As we go to press with this Annual Report, we have just had to cancel the 2020 NCRP Annual Meeting because of COVID-19. Since our plan (as of March 10, 2020) is to push forward the previously planned 2020 meeting to 2021, and the 2021 meeting to 2022, we leave the original text here. Our upcoming 56th Annual Meeting of the NCRP, to be held March 23–24, 2020, on “Radiation & Flight: A Down-to-Earth Look at Risks” will be co-chaired by Jacqueline P. Williams and Cary Zeitlin and should be an uplifting experience (pun intended). The Program Committee developed an exciting and informative program that will start off with the 17th Warren K. Sinclair Keynote Address by Astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, describing “Space Radiation: Perspective From the Astronaut Office.” The Annual Meeting will also include the 44th Lauriston S. Taylor Lecture by Robert L. Ullrich on “Taking Up Space: The Path to Understanding Radiation Risks” and the 4th Thomas S. Tenforde Lecture by Paul A. Locke entitled “Collision or Cooperation? The Law, Ethics & Science of Personalized Risk Assessments for Space and Air Travel.” We eagerly anticipate the presentation of the first John D. Boice Young Investigators Award.
Planning is underway for the 2021 Annual Meeting of the NCRP, to be held April 19–20, 2021. The meeting on “NCRP: The State of the Council” will be co-chaired by Jessica S. Wieder and Evagelia C. Laiakis. We plan to highlight recent NCRP publications and their impact, discuss our active scientific committees and their significance, and discuss the future of NCRP and radiation science. This will be an important opportunity for all our Council Members, sponsors, and collaborating organizations to get updated on the myriad of activities on-going within NCRP and to provide input to guide NCRP moving forward.
The Chairs/Co-Chairs of all our PACs remained the same in 2019. This has been a blessing to me in my first year as President, as I rely on these experienced and steadfast individuals to help and guide me. They all do a wonderful job for NCRP; we could not function without their dedicated service. Thank you to all PAC Chairs/Co-Chairs and all the PAC members.
I would like to highlight some innovations/improvements that have been undertaken:
- PAC 7 is continuing to expand our social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc., with a regular, monthly social media calendar. Please stay tuned! PAC 7 is always looking for ideas for topics to be included.
- We have been working to update and improve our website (https://ncrponline.org/) which highlights NCRP activities, publications, PACs, SCs, and members in the news. There’s lots of information so be sure to check it out, and we hope to have more improvements soon.
- With the urging and help of members of PAC 7, especially Angela Shogren and Jessica S. Wieder, we are now sending out a quarterly newsletter, NCRParticles, to NCRP members. We hope you all find these regular updates helpful and informative. As with the social media outreach, ideas on content and format would be greatly appreciated. Shortly before last year’s annual meeting, we sent all Council members an updated “NCRP Council Member Handbook,” something Members had requested and was long overdue. We continued to recognize that more changes and additional information were needed, so the latest revision should be out before the 2020 annual meeting.
- We are also preparing an instruction manual for NCRP Scientific Committees, reflecting all the changes in operations that have occurred since the previous version of that document. It, too, should be available about the time of the 2020 NCRP meeting.
- In 2019, we made a few changes to the format of our “PAC Sunday” and Members’ Dinner, and we will have more changes in 2020, reflecting requests from the PACs. Let us know how you like the changes.
Finances remain one of the biggest challenges for NCRP. As you will see in the fiscal statements, later in this Annual Report, we have stemmed the loss in NCRP’s net assets that had occurred for several years, but difficulties continue as our assets are not at the robust level they once were. In 2019, we made good progress working through the back-log of under-funded/unfunded scientific committee work to get publications out, but we still have a bit further to go, so that effort continues to be a drain on finances. As I pointed out last year, another large drain on NCRP finances is the Annual Meeting, which is largely unfunded. We need to work harder on finding financial support for that critical component of the NCRP mission. The vagaries of the stock market are also an issue, unfortunately one we cannot control. Receipt of the five-year grant from DOE in 2018 and the four-year grant from NASA in 2019 have been a help to the NCRP financial position, but long-term planning remains difficult in light of the current uncertainties of government funding. The Officers, Board of Directors, and Budget and Finance Committee are continuing to pursue multiple activities and explore opportunities to increase funding and improve NCRP’s financial position. We are reaching out to potential benefactors and donors, industry, professional societies, and academic institutions. More involvement by the Council is crucial. We continue to encourage Council Members to take advantage of the AmazonSmile initiative and/or to remember NCRP with a charitable contribution or as a small percentage beneficiary of an IRA or life insurance policy. Your ideas (and your donations) are welcome!
As you may have noticed from the listings of publications, presentations and funding, the MPS of low-dose health effects, headed by John D. Boice, Jr., NCRP Director of Science, remains a major effort for NCRP. The MPS is designed to study the possible range of health effects from prolonged radiation exposures in healthy American workers and veterans who are more representative of today’s population than are the Japanese atomic-bomb survivors, exposed briefly to radiation in 1945, the population typically used as the epidemiological basis for many evaluations of radiation risk. Over the years, the MPS has received critical support (both direct financial support as well as in-kind support), from the NRC, DOE, NASA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, National Cancer Institute, CDC, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fluke/RaySafe/Landauer, national laboratories, and others. At this time, funding for NCRP for this work comes from DOE, NASA, and the U.S. Navy. This important study will provide scientific understanding that can improve guidelines and guidance to protect workers and members of the public.
In addition to the partnerships with funding agencies that have been described above, NCRP continues numerous active and fruitful partnerships with multiple national and international organizations. Additionally, NCRP officers serve on advisory committees and boards of other groups (e.g., Image Gently, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Radiation Research Foundation); NCRP organizes sessions and provides members to serve as speakers and session chairs at meetings of other entities (e.g., HPS, RRS) (see list of presentations above); and NCRP officers and members provide educational activities and material for other organizations (e.g., CDC, Vanderbilt, Harvard). These activities are critical to NCRP’s mission and help “spread the word” about NCRP. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you identify other opportunities for NCRP partnerships, formal or informal.
Some Final Thoughts:
NCRP always is on the outlook for enthusiastic “new blood”! We are committed to encouraging younger professionals in the radiation sciences to participate on our SCs, PACs, and at our meetings. We are looking to add diversity to our ranks by engaging with qualified junior investigators, women, and minorities. Please encourage your students, post-docs, and junior colleagues to become involved with NCRP.
t is with great sadness that I report the passing of four NCRP Council Members (John Ahearne, Charles Chambers, Thomas Tenforde, and John Villforth) in 2019.
|John F. Ahearne, June 14, 1934 – March 12, 2019|
Dr. Ahearne served as a member of NCRP from 1999 to 2011 and was elected Distinguished Emeritus Member in 2011. He served as Chairman of SC 1-19 on Health Protection Issues Associated with Use of Active Detection Technology Security Systems for Detection of Radioactive Threat Materials; was a member of Program Area Committee 7 on Radiation Education, Risk Communication, and Outreach; and served on the Nominating Committee from 2003 to 2009. John also was a speaker at both the 2005 and 2009 annual meetings and a member of the Advisory Panel on Public Policy.
|Charles E. Chambers, August 20, 1954 – June 9, 2019|
Dr. Chambers was a major scientific contributor to NCRP for more than a decade. He served as a Member of Council from 2007 to 2013 and continued as an active member of PAC 4 on radiation protection in medicine up to and including the 2019 annual meeting. He understood the conflicting requirements of technology and medical necessity and was able to communicate this to Council members and in NCRP reports. Dr. Chambers’ experience and expertise as a practicing interventional cardiologist were essential to the writing of Report No. 168, Statement No. 11, and other NCRP documents. At the time of his death, Dr. Chambers was serving on SC 4-9. He provided critical insights into the balance between patient benefits against patient and worker risks in fluoroscopically guided procedures.
|Thomas S. Tenforde, December 15, 1940 – September 6, 2019|
Dr. Tenforde served as President of NCRP from 2002 until his retirement in 2012, and was subsequently recognized as President Emeritus. He was first elected as a Council member in 1988 serving on the Board of Directors from 1991 to 1995 and again when he was elected President in 2002. He chaired SC 1-15 and SC 89-6 and was a Committee member of SC 89-1. Dr. Tenforde also served on the NCRP Nominating Committee from 1990 to 1995, chaired the Annual Meeting Program Committee in 1994, and served on the Program Committee in 2006. In 2016, an endowment from Dr. Tenforde established the Thomas S. Tenforde Topical Lecture to be given at the annual meeting, on the second day immediately following the Annual Business Meeting.
|John C. Villforth, December 28, 1930 – September 14, 2019|
Rear Admiral Villforth was a Council member from 1971 to 1982, elected to NCRP Consociate membership in 1982, and played an important role in the 2013 “Where are the Radiation Professionals (WARP) Workshop.” He took great personal interest in the careers of others. As Director during the formative years of the Bureau of Radiological Health (BRH), he heavily recruited young people from academia through fellowships and other programs, and in so doing, personally nurtured the public health careers of countless numbers of young commissioned officers and civilians. Past NCRP President John D. Boice, Jr. was one of these young officers at BRH.
As we move forward in these exciting times, I eagerly anticipate working with you all. We expect 2020 to be another productive year for NCRP. The challenges are large, but the opportunities are many, and the expected outcomes are important for radiation protection and the radiation sciences. As NCRP moves into the future, I look forward to working with our many partnering organizations and with wonderful scientific and professional colleagues.
Many thanks to the following for help in preparing this President’s Report and for assistance in all things NCRP: Laura J. Atwell, Angela Shogren, and Jessica S. Wieder, the NCRP staff and Council Members. A special thanks to Jerry Bushberg and John Boice for all they have done for NCRP over many fruitful years and for their support and guidance to me throughout my first year as President.
Kathryn D. Held, President