NCRP

President’s Annual Message

                                          2020 Year in Review

I think that all readers of this Message will agree that 2020 is a year we will not soon forget. Despite the many challenges we faced, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) weathered 2020 well. Our dedicated, hard-working staff worked mostly from home from late March through the end of the year, we all became fairly adept at doing business by online webinars and phone (Laura and I have each other on speed dial), although some webinar platforms still present challenges for some of us some of the time. Nevertheless, NCRP has had a very productive year, with many exciting new activities, and continues to help meet the needs of the nation in radiation protection.

Some events of 2020 that I’d like to highlight include:

  • In January, NCRP had the pleasure of participating in the mid-year meeting of the Health Physics Society (HPS) in Bethesda. Donald L. Miller, Chair of Program Area Committee (PAC) 4, gave a plenary lecture for the meeting on “Overview of NCRP Activities (Emphasis on Radiation Protection in Medicine),” and the all-day NCRP-sponsored symposium consisted of two sessions on Radiation Protection in Medicine, including 12 speakers discussing NCRP activities, mostly related to PAC 4 (see list of Presentations, below).
  • It was extremely disappointing to cancel our 2020 Annual Meeting only two weeks prior to the scheduled date for the meeting, but the COVID-19 pandemic gave us no choice. The exciting meeting on “Radiation and Flight: A Down-to-Earth Look at Risks” is being carried forward to 2021 (discussed more below). We were glad, however, that we were able to have our Council Business Meeting virtually on March 24, probably one of the first times for many of us to participate in a large (>100 people) virtual meeting. Little did we realize at that time that it would be the first of many such virtual meetings!
  • In July NCRP co-sponsored, with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Radiation Research Program and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Radiation Countermeasures Program, a Virtual Workshop on “Low Dose Radiation Therapy (LDRT) for COVID-19: Benefits or Risk?.” This provided a timely opportunity to discuss a controversial therapeutic approach that is being investigated in clinical trials. The thought-provoking discussions were captured in a workshop summary published in a rapid fashion in Radiation Research in November 2020.
  • A Virtual Symposium was co-organized with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Greater New York, Baltimore-Washington, and New Jersey Chapters of HPS in November on “Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans.” The well-attended symposium addressed stakeholder perspectives on the importance of epidemiology studies of low dose health effects in radiation workers and provided information on the current status of some of the cohorts in the Million Person Study (MPS). A workshop report is being prepared for publication.

NCRP Publications Completed in 2020

  • NCRP Commentary No. 29, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) and Technologically Enhanced NORM (TENORM) from the Oil and Gas Industry, prepared by Scientific Committee (SC) 5-2 (Chair: William E. Kennedy, Jr.), was published in April 2020. This Commentary, supported in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reviewed practices associated with contemporary oil and gas exploration and production that have potential radiological concerns; evaluated the historical and current status of regulations pertinent to management of NORM/TENORM in the oil and gas industry; and recommended topics for fuller development in a comprehensive NCRP report.

  • NCRP Report No. 185, Evaluating and Communicating Radiation Risks for Studies Involving Human Subjects: Guidance for Researchers and Institutional Review Boards, prepared by SC 4-7 (Chair: Julie E.K. Timins), was published in May 2020. This important Report provides guidance to researchers preparing protocols that include ionizing radiation exposure to human subjects and to reviewing bodies, such as Institutional Review Boards, regarding the process of reviewing such protocols. The Report preparation was supported by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American Board of Radiology (ABR) Foundation, American College of Radiology, CDC, and Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

  • NCRP Report No. 186, Approaches for Integrating Information from Radiation Biology and Epidemiology to Enhance Low-Dose Health Risk Assessment, prepared by SC 1-26 (Chair: R. Julian Preston; Vice Chair: Werner Rühm), was published in July 2020. Extending concepts and approaches discussed in NCRP Report No. 171 and Commentary No. 24, this new CDC-funded Report describes ways to reduce uncertainty in radiation risk assessments at low doses and low dose rates using adverse outcome pathways and key-events approach combined with biologically-based dose response models.

  • NCRP Commentary No. 30, Using Personal Monitoring Data to Derive Organ Doses for Medical Radiation Workers, with a Focus on Lung, prepared by SC 6-11 (Co-Chairs: Lawrence T. Dauer and R. Craig Yoder), was published in September 2020. Derivation of organ doses for medical radiation workers from monitoring data poses difficult problems. This Commentary, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and CDC, describes an optimum approach for using personal monitoring data to estimate lung and other organ doses.

  • Papers from the Taylor, Sinclair and Tenforde Lecturers, as well as a Summary of the 55th Annual Meeting of NCRP, held in April 2019, on “NCRP Meeting the Challenge at 90: Providing Best Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions About Radiation” were published in April 2020 in Health Physics [118(4):335–381, 2020].

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). Although there have been delays, the Committee writing teams, covering all facets of the radiation sciences, are continuing work to revise the PAC-reviewed draft to address the many thoughtful comments received and produce an updated revision of the draft commentary for Council review.
  • SC 1-27, Evaluation of Sex-Specific Differences in Lung Cancer Radiation Risks and Recommendations for Use in Transfer Models (Co-Chairs: Michael M. Weil and David J. Pawel), is a NASA-funded initiative of great relevance to astronauts on long-duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The commentary 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 radiation risks for astronauts.
  • SC 2-8, Operational Radiation Safety Program (Chair: Kathryn H. Pryor), is updating NCRP Report No. 127 (1998) providing guidance to individuals with responsibility for establishing and implementing operational radiation safety programs. Following PAC review and revision, a Council review version should be ready for review 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 the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) and CDC.
  • SC 3-3, Respiratory Protection for Emergency Workers Responding to a Nuclear/Radiological Emergency (Co-Chairs: Armin Ansari and Adela Salame-Alfie), will prepare an NCRP statement, with funding from CDC, to address respiratory protection for a category of ancillary emergency workers who would be involved in responding to a nuclear or radiological emergency who are neither first responders nor first receivers and are not already part of a respiratory protection program.
  • SC 4-10, Error Prevention in Radiation Therapy (Co-Chairs: Michael T. Milano and Steven G. Sutlief), is preparing a statement to enumerate the necessary program components for error prevention in radiation therapy and to delineate objective characteristics of a safety-focused radiotherapy department.
  • SC 4-11, prepared NCRP Statement No. 13, NCRP Recommendations for Ending Routine Gonadal Shielding During Abdominal and Pelvic Radiography (Chair: Donald Frush; Co-Chair: Keith J. Strauss), providing succinct recommendations addressing an important issue for radiation protection in medicine. The Statement, along with a companion document, Implementation Guidance for Ending Routine Gonadal Shielding During Abdominal and Pelvic Radiography, and a Gonadal Shielding Trifold Flyer, was released on the NCRP website in January 2021. NCRP acknowledges support by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, ABR, American College of Radiology, American Society of Radiologic Technologists, Image Gently®, and Society for Pediatric Radiology.
  • SC 4-12, Risk Management Stratification of Equipment and Training for Fluoroscopy (Chair: Stephen Balter; Vice Chair: Donald L. Miller), is preparing a statement to provide guidance that can be used by facilities to select fluoroscopic equipment that conforms to the appropriate International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard for the facility’s intended uses of that particular fluoroscope and to outline a risk-based training program for all individuals privileged to perform or assist with fluoroscopic procedures in a facility. This new activity will be partly funded by the ABR Foundation.
  • SC 6-12, in a DOE-funded effort, is producing a commentary on Development of Kinetic and Anatomical Models for Brain Dosimetry for Internally Deposited Radionuclides (Chair: Richard Leggett; Vice Chair: Sergey Y. Tolmachev) as part of the 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. The commentary is currently undergoing Council review.

Publications

Members, particularly chairs, of NCRP SCs are encouraged to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals summarizing the NCRP Reports or Commentaries that they worked on. The four such publications in 2020 are listed here.

  • Mettler FA Jr, Mahesh M, Bhargavan-Chatfield M, Chambers CE, Elee JG, Frush DP, Miller DL, Royal HD, Guebert GM, Sherrier RH, Smith JM, Vetter RJ. 2020. Patient exposure from radiologic and nuclear medicine procedures in the United States: procedure volume and effective dose for the period 2006–2016. Radiology. 295(2):418–427.
  • Applegate KE, Shore RE, Dauer LT. 2020. Epidemiological support of the linear nonthreshold model in radiological protection: implications of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements Commentary 27 for the radiologist. J Am Coll Radiol. 17(12):1695–1697.
  • Milano MT, Mahesh M, Mettler FA, Elee J, Vetter RJ. 2020. Patient radiation exposure: imaging during radiation oncology procedures: executive summary of NCRP Report No. 184. J Am Coll Radiol. 17(9):1176–1182.
  • Preston RJ, Rühm W, Azzam EI, Boice JD Jr, Bouffler S, Held KD, Little MP, Shore RE, Shuryak I, Weil MM. 2020. Adverse outcome pathways, key events and radiation risk assessment. Int J Radiat Biol. [Online ahead of print]. PMID: 33211576.

2020 publications involving NCRP work, including some reporting findings from the MPS, are listed here.

  • Vetter RJ, Bushberg JT, Mettler FA, Jr. 2020. Summary of NCRP 2019 annual meeting, NCRP meeting the challenge at 90: providing best answers to your most pressing questions about radiation. Health Phys. 118(4):335–348.
  • Coleman CN. 2020. Sixteenth annual Warren K Sinclair keynote address: frontiers in medical radiation science. Health Phys. 118(4):349–353.
  • Roessler GS, Baes F, Classic K. 2020. The third annual Thomas S. Tenforde topical lecture. HPS ask the experts: the most intriguing questions and answers. Health Phys. 118(4):354–359.
  • Bouville, A. 2020. Fallout from nuclear weapons tests: environmental, health, political, and sociological considerations. Health Phys. 118(4):360–381.
  • Boice JD Jr, Cohen SS, Mumma MT, Chen H, Golden AP, Beck HL, Till JE. 2020. Mortality among US military participants at eight above-ground nuclear weapons test series. Int J Radiat Biol. 30:1–22. [Online ahead of print] [PMID: 32602389].
  • Boice JD Jr. 2020. 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. 119(4):494–503 [PMID 32881736].
  • Boice J Jr, Dauer LT, Kase KR, Mettler FA Jr, Vetter RJ. 2020. Evolution of radiation protection for medical workers. Br J Radiol. 93(1112):20200282 [PMID: 32496817].
  • Prasanna PG, Woloschak GE, DiCarlo AL, Buchsbaum JC, Schaue D, Chakravarti A, Cucinotta FA, Formenti SC, Guha C, Hu DJ, Khan MK, Kirsch DG, Krishnan S, Leitner WW, Marples B, McBride W, Mehta MP, Rafii S, Sharon E, Sullivan JM, Weichselbaum RR, Ahmed MM, Vikram B, Coleman CN, Held KD. 2020. Low-dose radiation therapy (LDRT) for COVID-19: benefits or risks? Radiat Res. 194:452–464.
  • Yoder RC, Balter S, Boice JD, Grogan H, Mumma M, Rothenberg LN, Passmore C, Vetter RJ, Dauer LT. 2020. Using personal monitoring data to derive organ doses for medical radiation workers in the million person study – considerations regarding NCRP Commentary No. 30. J Radiol Prot. [Online ahead of print]. PMID: 33264760.

Presentations

The work of NCRP, including MPS efforts funded through NCRP, is presented at various venues by NCRP officers, chairs/members of PACs and SCs and others involved in the projects. Presentations in 2020 included:

  • John D. Boice, Jr. “Terrestrial Epidemiology Used to Understand Space Radiation Risks – the Million Person Study,” 2020 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop; Small Steps Lead to Giant Leaps, Galveston, Texas, January 27–30, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “Radiation Biology for Radiation Protection in Medicine,” Continuing Education Lecture, HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Donald L. Miller, “Overview of NCRP Activities (Emphasis on Radiation Protection in Medicine),” Plenary Lecture, HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Keith J. Strauss, “Gonadal Shielding During Abdominal and Pelvic Radiography (NCRP Scientific Committee 4-11),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Stephen Balter, “Patient Radiation Management in Interventional Fluoroscopy,” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Alan G. Lurie, “Radiation Protection In Dentistry and Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (NCRP Report No. 177),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Steven G. Sutlief, “Program Components for Error Prevention in Radiation Therapy (NCRP Scientific Committee 4-10),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Lisa R. Bruedigan, “The Role of the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors and State Radiation Control Programs in Radiation Protection in Medicine,” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Julie K. Timins, “Evaluating and Communicating Radiation Risks for Studies Involving Human Subjects: Guidance for Researchers and Institutional Review Boards (NCRP Scientific Committee 4-7),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • David C. Spelic, “Radiological Health at FDA: A Review of Programs and Findings, Past and Present,” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Mahadevappa Mahesh, “Medical Radiation Exposure of Patients in the United States (NCRP Report No. 184),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • R. Craig Yoder, “Estimating Lung Doses to Medical Workers in the Million Person Study (NCRP Scientific Committee 6-11),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Lawrence T. Dauer, “Evaluation of Sex-Specific Differences in Lung Cancer Radiation Risks and Recommendations for Use in Transfer and Projection Models (NCRP Scientific Committee 1-27),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Angela Shogren. “Radiation Risk Communication in Medicine (NCRP Program Area Committee 7),” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Kimberly Applegate, “The ICRP and Its Role in Guidance, Communication, and Collaboration,” HPS Midyear Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Lawrence T. Dauer, “U.S. Million Person Study: Status and Summary Results to Date,” BWCHPS Dinner Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, January 2020.
  • Sergei Y. Tolmachev, Maia Avtandilashvili, Richard W. Leggett, John D. Boice. “Brain Dosimetry for Internally Deposited Radionuclides.” EURADOS Annual Meeting 2020, Florence, Italy, January 27–30, 2020.
  • Lawrence T. Dauer, “The Chernobyl Accident and Radiation Health Consequences – including presentation of U.S. Million Person Study, Cohorts, Status, and Direction,” MSKCC Epidemiology Grand Rounds, February 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “Radiation Chemistry; Effects of Radiation on DNA and Chromosomes,” invited lecture in Radiation Biology (PMO582). Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, March 12, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “Overview of NCRP Activities with Emphasis on Radiological/Nuclear Terrorism Research and Training,” Webinar for RABRAT (Radiobiology Terrorism Research and Training Group), April 13, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “NCRP: What Is It and How Can You Get Involved?” Invited virtual seminar, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, April 24, 2020.
  • John D. Boice, Jr. Radiation carcinogenesis, radiation risks and risk analysis.” (virtual presentation) Radiation Biology (PMO582). Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, April 30, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “NCRP: What’s in it for RRS Members?” Invited Webinar for Radiation Research Society, May 7, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “Radiation Biology for Radiation Protection in Medicine,” Continuing Education/Health Physics webinar presentation for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, June 24, 2020.
  • R. Julian Preston, “The NCRP Report on Approaches for Integrating Radiation Biology and Epidemiology for Enhancing Low Dose Risk Assessment,” Invited presentation in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s First Gilbert W. Beebe Webinar: What’s New in Low Dose Radiation, July 22, 2020.
  • John D. Boice, Jr. “Radiation epidemiology with a touch of NASA.” Savannah River Site. Summer Internship Lecture Series, Aiken, South Carolina (Virtual), August 5, 2020.
  • John D. Boice Jr. “Radiation Epidemiology 101.” Space Radiation Presentation. NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia (Virtual), August 11, 2020.
  • John D. Boice Jr. “Radiation Epidemiology and NASA.” Space Radiation Presentation. NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia (Virtual), August 18, 2020.
  • Lawrence T. Dauer. “U.S. Million Person Study: The Key to Epidemiology is Exceptional Dosimetry.” Space Radiation Presentation. NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia (Virtual), August 25, 2020.
  • Sergei Y. Tolmachev and Richard W. Leggett. “Brain Dosimetry and High-LET Exposure.” Space Radiation Presentation. NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia (Virtual), September 1, 2020.
  • CM Milder, BD Ellis, MT Mumma, AP Golder, JD Boice. “Early DOE worker studies: Obtaining vital status, estimating organ doses, and preliminary results.” 2020 HPS Virtual Workshop, September 24, 2020.
  • Ashley Golden (presenter), John Boice, Larry Dauer, Sarah Cohen, Mike Mumma, Elizabeth Ellis, “Sex Specific risk from fractionated, low-dose radiation in the Million Person Study Cohorts.” Radiation Research Society Annual Meeting (Virtual), October 18–21, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held and Gayle E Woloschak, “Report on NCRP-NIH Workshop on Low Dose Radiation Therapy for COVID-19: Benefits or Risks?,” Virtual presentation to SNMMI, October 9, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “Radiation Biology for Radiation Protection in Medicine,” PEP Lecture, HPS Annual Meeting, Bethesda, Maryland, October 14, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “What is NCRP and Why Does it Matter to the EPA?,” Invited talk to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on October 20, 2020.
  • Kathryn D. Held, “Welcome and Introduction,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • John D. Boice, Jr. and Lawrence T. Dauer, “A Million Persons, A Million Dreams – Overview of the MPS,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • R. Craig Yoder, “Dosimetry is Key to Excellent Epidemiology,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • Lawrence T. Dauer, “MPS Cohort: Medical Worker Study,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • Sarah S. Cohen, “MPS Cohort: Mortality among Workers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1943–1984,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • Lawrence T. Dauer, “MPS Cohort: Nuclear Power Plant Workers and Industrial Radiographers,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • Emily A. Caffrey and John T. Till, “MPS Cohort: Nuclear Weapons Test Participants,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • Ashley P. Golden, “Lung Cancer Risks among Men and Women,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • John D. Boice, Jr. and Michael Mumma, “Cognition and Dementia Following Intakes of Radionuclides,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • Caleigh Samuels, “Brain Dose Estimates for Alpha Emitters at MPS Sites,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.
  • John D. Boice, Jr., Lawrence T. Dauer and Derek W. Jokisch, “A Million More Dreams,” Study of One Million Radiation Workers and Veterans, MPS Virtual Symposium, November 6, 2020.

I hope that I have captured all the presentations given on behalf of NCRP. I apologize if I’ve missed any; please let me know about them. We thank all the individuals who have given of their time and effort to represent NCRP so wonderfully to a variety of stakeholders.

Funding Support

In 2020 NCRP received one new grant, from CRCPD, to support the work of SC 3-2, described above.

In 2020 NCRP work continued with grants and contracts funded by a number of sources including:

  • ABR Foundation (SC 4-7 and SC 4-11)
  • CDC (SC 1-26, SC 3-2, SC 3-3, SC 5-2, and SC 6-10)
  • NASA (SC 1-27, SC 6-11, and MPS)
  • DOE (SC 6-12 and MPS)
  • U.S. Navy (MPS)

We are most grateful for the significant support from these agencies and organizations and thank them for their continued interest in and funding of NCRP and our programs. This support is vital to our ability to provide the scientific service to the nation that is NCRP’s mission.

Annual Meetings

The 56th Annual Meeting of NCRP, that was to have been held March 23–24, 2020, unfortunately had to be canceled less than two weeks before the scheduled meeting dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to hold our vital Business Meeting as a Teams webinar that went smoothly but, obviously, was not the same as an in-person meeting. The decision was made to carry forward the planned Program for the 2020 Annual Meeting on “Radiation and Flight: A Down-to-Earth Look at Risks” to 2021. Most session chairs and speakers indicated their availability for April 19–20, 2021, and Jacky Williams and Cary Zeitlin, Program Co-Chairs, and their Program Committee have done a wonderful job developing an exciting plan for the meeting.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic continues to result in travel restrictions, the NCRP 57th Annual Meeting on “Radiation and Flight: A Down-to-Earth Look at Risks” will be held virtually on April 19–20, 2021 for the scientific program and our Council Business Meeting will be held virtually on April 21, 2021. The Program will start off with the 17th Warren K. Sinclair Keynote Address by Astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, describing “Perception of Radiation Risk from the Astronaut Office.” The Annual Meeting will also include the 44th Lauriston S. Taylor Lecture by Robert Ullrich on “Taking Up Space: The Path to Understanding Radiation Risks” and the 4th Thomas S. Tenforde Lecture by Paul Locke entitled “Collision or Cooperation? The Law, Ethics and Science of Personalized Risk Assessments for Space and Air Travel.” Although we will once again miss seeing everyone in person, one advantage we’ve all noted is that many individuals who would not be able to travel to a meeting in Bethesda will be able to join us virtually, so we look forward to a great attendance at the meeting.

Planning is underway for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the NCPRP to be held March 28–29, 2022. At this time we are planning for an in-person meeting, maybe with some hybrid components, on the theme of “NCRP: State of the Science in Radiation Protection,” with Co-Chairs Jessica Wieder and Lia Laiakis. The Program Committee is planning an innovative, interactive meeting to highlight the work of NCRP and its impact and discuss the future of radiation protection, radiation sciences and NCRP’s role in that future.

PAC Work

The Chairs/Co-Chairs of all our PACs have been doing terrific jobs leading their PACs during the past year, despite not being able to meet face-to-face in March 2020. Bruce Napier stepped down as Chair/Scientific Vice President for PAC 5 when he became an Emeritus Member, and Bill Kennedy has ably stepped into those shoes. There are no other changes in PAC leadership to report. The PACs have all met at least once virtually, around the time of the annual meeting, and some PACs have been meeting virtually more frequently to discuss PAC business and have scientific presentations and discussions. Laura, in the NCRP office, has done a super job of facilitating those meetings. I continue to meet every three to four months with the PAC Chairs and find the sessions very helpful as they provide some great ideas for new activities and approaches for NCRP.

Much of the valuable work done by the PACs involves their oversight of and assistance to NCRP SCs, described above. A few other noteworthy contributions from the PACs include:

  • PAC 1, and particularly its Chair Gayle Woloschak, was instrumental in suggesting and helping to organize the Virtual Workshop on “Low Dose Radiation Therapy (LDRT) for COVID-19: Benefits or Risk?” that we co-sponsored with the Radiation Research Program of the NCI and the Radiation Countermeasures Program of the NIAID in July 2020. As mentioned above, this timely workshop addressed a topic of great interest. It was a pleasure to work with such a dedicated team — I must especially thank Dr. Pat Prasana from NCI — who put the workshop together in about six weeks and promptly wrote an informative workshop summary published in Radiation Research in November 2020 (see the NCRP website for a copy if you’re interested).
  • PAC 4, under the leadership of Don Miller, was instrumental in organizing the NCRP-sponsored Symposium at the HPS mid-year meeting in January and many PAC 4 members were among the 12 speakers in the Symposium, talking about PAC 4 activities, as described above.
  • Working with other PACs, PAC 7 is continuing to work on a revamp of our NCRP website (https://ncrponline.org) to improve its usability and increase our content that could be useful to many stakeholders, including our supporting and collaborating organizations, educators, and the general public. Currently the website includes lots of information on NCRP activities, publications, PACs, SCs and members in the news, so be sure to look at it regularly to keep up-to-date with our activities. We hope to have an updated version of the website soon. Also, please let us know if you have suggestions for additional content.
  • An ad hoc committee from PAC 7 has also been assessing ways in which NCRP could more effectively use our publications — reports, commentaries, etc. — to increase visibility of NCRP, better serve our stakeholders, and enhance our income stream from sales of publications, an important source of revenue for us. Some new initiatives are expected to be implemented soon.

Finances

As I reported last year, finances remain one of the biggest challenges for NCRP. 2020 was a highly unusual year from a financial point of view, as well as other points of view! You’ll see details in the financial statements later in this Annual Report, but a few remarks are needed here. Our net assets increased somewhat in 2020, although the assets remain below the levels of some years back. Our expenses, but also our income, for 2020 were well below the levels we had projected going into the year. The lack of face-to-face SC meetings, staff and staff consultant travel, and time on meetings in the office, etc. from March through the end of the year due to COVID all impacted those bottom lines negatively. These are all activities that cost money, but also bring in overhead from our grants. We learned how to get work done well by virtual meetings and work from home, but with an impact on finances.

I’m happy to report that our previous back-log of unfunded SCs has largely been eliminated by dedicated efforts of the members involved to get documents finished and published (see report of NCRP publications above). Most of our currently active SCs are now at least partly, if not entirely, supported by grants or contracts.

A very mixed blessing was that without a face-to-face annual meeting, we did not have that large yearly financial drain, which helped the bottom line, but we sorely missed the crucial interactions facilitated by the Annual Meeting. This will also be true for 2021, but we are anticipating an in-person meeting in 2022 and looking for creative ways to help finance it.

A new effort, spearheaded by John Lanza, is NCRP offering Continuing Medical Education credits. We have partnered with MECOP, an accrediting organization in Florida, with an initial offering of credits related to fluoroscopic imaging. We need to enhance our advertisement of this product, and, as appropriate, will consider additional material (e.g., NCRP reports) to offer. This could be a unique opportunity for a new funding stream as well as a way to increase the visibility of NCRP.

The ongoing grants from DOE, NASA, CDC, the U.S. Navy, and the ABR are vital to our work and are described above, as well as a new grant from CRCPD. We continue to seek other sources of revenue in this challenging environment, but, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we need to continue to search for ways to increase funding and secure NCRP’s long-term financial position. We thank all the Council members, and others, who have made donations to NCRP directly or took advantage of the AmazonSmile® initiative, and we encourage others of you to remember NCRP with a charitable contribution or as a small percentage beneficiary of an IRA or life insurance policy. Your ideas regarding potential fund-raising opportunities are welcome!

Million Person Study

As you may have noticed from the listings of publications, presentations and funding, the MPS of low-dose health effects remains a major effort for NCRP. This important project is headed by John Boice, NCRP Director of Science, and Larry Dauer is increasingly playing a leadership role. 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 (financial and in-kind) from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, DOE, NASA, U.S. Department of Defense, NCI, CDC, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Landauer, and national laboratories. At this time, funding to 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 the public. We look forward to the continuing outstanding productivity of the hard-working MPS team.

Partnerships

In addition to the partnerships with funding agencies described above, NCRP continues numerous active and fruitful partnerships with multiple national and international organizations that are listed on the NCRP website. Additionally, NCRP officers serve on advisory committees and boards and review panels of other groups (e.g., Image Gently®, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Radiation Research Foundation, ABR Test Assembly); NCRP organizes sessions and provides members to serve as speakers and session chairs at meetings of other entities (e.g., HPS, Radiation Research Society) (see list of presentations above); and NCRP officers and Board as well as Council and SC members provide NCRP-related educational activities and material for other organizations (e.g., CDC, NASA, Vanderbilt, Harvard, University of California Davis, University of Maryland, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute). These activities are critical to NCRP’s mission and help “spread the word” about NCRP. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you can recommend other opportunities for NCRP partnerships, formal or informal, and we’re always available to give presentations to other groups who are interested in NCRP’s work.

Some Final Thoughts

NCRP leadership is committed to encouraging more junior professionals in the radiation sciences and more diversity in our SCs, PACs, at our meetings, and as Council members. We strive to add diversity to our ranks by engaging qualified junior investigators, women, and minorities. Please encourage your junior and minority colleagues to become involved with NCRP and let us know of talented individuals that we should include in our activities.

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of three NCRP Emeritus Council Members (John A. Auxier, John B. Little and Michael T. Ryan) and James Cassata, NCRP Executive Director (2012 to 2014) in 2020.

John A. Auxier, October 7, 1925 – August 27, 2020

Dr. Auxier served as an NCRP Council Member from 1976 to 1994. He was a member of the Budget and Finance committee, and served on two SCs which produced NCRP Report No. 56, Radiation Exposure from Consumer Products and Miscellaneous Sources (1977) and NCRP Report No. 84, General Concepts for the Dosimetry of Internally Deposited Radionuclides (1985).

James R. Cassata, June 2, 1959 – August 22, 2020

Dr. Cassata served as NCRP Executive Director following his retirement from the Navy in 2012 until 2104. In addition, he was a member of the SC that produced NCRP Report No. 166, Population Monitoring and Radionuclide Decorporation Following a Radiological or Nuclear Incident.

John B. Little, October 5, 1929 – May 24, 2020

Dr. Little was first elected to NCRP in 1991 and became a Distinguished Emeritus Member in 2009. During his tenure, he served as a Member of SC 1 and as a Consultant to SC 83. He was also a member of the 1996 Annual Meeting Program Committee. Dr. Little’s outstanding contributions to the field of radiation protection were recognized by his selection as the Lauriston S. Taylor Lecturer in 2005. Dr. Little’s Taylor Lecture, delivered at the NCRP Annual Meeting, was entitled “Nontargeted Effects of Radiation: Implications for Low Dose Exposures.”

Michael T. Ryan, August 21, 1952 – February 22, 2020

Dr. Ryan was first elected to NCRP in 1992 and became a Distinguished Emeritus Member in 2010. During his tenure, he served on NCRP’s Board of Directors from 1999 to 2002, the Budget and Finance Committee from 1999 to 2001, was Scientific Vice President for Radioactive and Mixed Waste Management, and a member of SC 64-7. He was also a member of the 2000 and 2005 Annual Meeting Program Committees and a speaker at several other NCRP meetings.

Although 2020 was a unique year, and we’ve all had to learn new ways to accomplish the NCRP mission and do our jobs, as you can see from the above, 2020 was also a productive year for NCRP. We look forward to another productive year in 2021, although it will continue to be challenging, at least for a while, to be unable to travel to interact in person. Despite challenges, here are many opportunities, and it will be wonderful to continue our interactions with all the many terrific scientific and professional colleagues and partnering organizations who work so hard to support NCRP in our mission to serve our great nation.

Many thanks to the NCRP Staff, Board of Directors, and Council and Distinguished Emeritus Members for assistance in all NCRP work. Special thanks to Laura Atwell, John Boice, Jerry Bushberg, and Larry Dauer for all they have done for NCRP over many productive years and for their dedication and tireless support and sage advice to me throughout the past year.

Kathryn D. Held, President

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Last modified: May 25, 2015