AAHP President Scott Schwahn
CHP Corner, April 2021
ARE WE JUST A CLUB?
Are we just a club? OK - spoiler alert. The answer is no. However, I have noticed that the vast majority of Certified Health Physicists (CHPs) are content with passing the exams, paying their maintenance fees, and making sure that they attend enough "extra" activities to maintain their 80 Continuing Education Credits (CECs) every four years. Granted, we're all busy with full-time jobs, and many of us have family and other personal affairs that need attention. (Let's ignore COVID-19 for now, as it has definitely been unusually disruptive.) But it does beg the question... as someone who has gone through the "fire" of the exams and come out successfully, is that all we want? Is that all we should be doing? Aren't we uniquely poised to lead the profession of health physics? A colleague contacted me last week and said that she had noticed a distinct "lack of CHP presence at ______ meetings," and although she didn't suggest or ask why that was the case, it did beg the question about why we are not more engaged as a whole.
On occasion in my career, I have found myself with heartburn as I struggled to comply with a particular regulation. Have you ever tried to change a regulation after it is in place? It isn't easy. The regulations will typically either come from the State or the Federal level, and when they do, for the most part, they are here to stay. Many folks don't realize, though, exactly where they come from. With few exceptions they ultimately come from, or are based on, recommendations from the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).
I had a good discussion last week with the leadership of the ICRP who told me that very soon, they will be looking again at revising the "system of radiological protection." That's a broad concept, so think about it this way... remember ICRP Publication 60 "1990 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection" and how so many other publications seemed to point to that, to include regulations from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, etc. (with apologies to our international CHPs)? Later, many of the same regulations pointed to ICRP Publication 103 "The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection." ICRP Publication 103 was a new system of radiological protection that replaced ICRP Publication 60.
Well, that's happening again and you, my CHP colleague, can be in on the front end of the change. It is so much easier to affect regulation before it ever becomes regulation than it is to change it afterward. So I encourage you to get in on the conversation as it is happening. That's what the ICRP 2021 6th International Symposium on the System of Radiological Protection in Vancouver is about, taking place 1-4 November this year. This is a big deal and, for most of the readers of CHP Corner, it's right in our backyard! So here's a great chance to get engaged! Get in on the front end. Make a difference in your career and, better yet, make a contribution to the world of radiological protection.
What if CHPs aren’t “just” certified? What if our certifications lead the initiatives which change the world?
CHP Corner, March 2021
I have just one subject in this edition of the CHP Corner... get connected, stay visible. The more visible we are, the better for everyone. We want the world to know that they can come to us for advice, direction, and yes - for work! And as much as many of us tend to be introverts, we need to connect, especially as we're still trudging through the pandemic. So, first, I'm asking you to connect. Go to our Facebook page and/or our LinkedIn page, and follow them. If you're a CHP, you can also request to join the CHP LinkedIn page for conversation with other CHPs.
Regarding visibility, check out the video produced by your 2020 Title Protection/Professional Recognition Committee! I include it in my signature block as a clickable image, and encourage you to do it also for the benefit of us all. I've copied my signature block as an image in this CHP Corner; there are various resources available online to show you how to do it, as it varies by email type.
I hope to see you all popping up all over the place!
CHP Corner, February 2021
My first draft ran long and you have enough to occupy your time, so just to get to the point... here's what I'm going to talk about this month: I'm going to tell you how to maintain your CHP into retirement, how you can use the title when you've only passed one part (hint: you can't), and about the use of the title CHP when you've not earned it or maintained it. And then I'm not going to summarize... so much for literary approach.
In my first month as President of the Academy, I have been surprised to hear from several fellow CHPs who either planned to retire or who were retired and were lamenting that they would have to give up their hard-earned CHP title. The problem is... that is not true! You can become an Emeritus CHP for the low, low maintenance fee of $25 per year and no longer have to keep up with continuing education credits (CECs). You can still use the title of CHP or DABHP (Diplomate of the American Board of Health Physics) after your name. The process is simple... apply using this form: https://www.aahp-abhp.org/media/716 and send it in to the Secretariat <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The Secretariat will pass it on to the ABHP Vice-Chair for review and approval. Even if you've been retired for a couple years and let your CHP status lapse as a result, you might be able to just pay your past-due maintenance fees to catch up. As an Emeritus CHP, you will have all of the rights and privileges of any other CHP... you're a full member of the Academy!
On occasion, we run into folks "kind of" using the title of CHP in a very subtle, but inappropriate manner. An example that I recall was: "CHP (Part I)". Any implication that a person is certified by the ABHP when they have not passed both parts of the exam within the allotted seven years of each other and have been officially told that they are a CHP is inappropriate. A person who has passed one part of the exam is invited to become an Associate Member of the Academy.
And... the last part is the uncomfortable one. Sometimes a person uses the title of CHP when they are not an active CHP. Here's the short version, since this article is still running long... please don't do it; it's an ethics issue, and no one likes to get or make that phone call or email to confront the problem. More often than not, it's just a matter of not getting your 4-year renewal CECs in on time, or not paying your maintenance fees annually. Please contact the Secretariat if you run into problems with those issues, and we'll do what we can to help. We're all stressed out to some extent, especially due to the impact of the pandemic. You worked hard on that title and we want you to keep it!