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Office of Research Services

Serving the NIH Community

Health Physicist Services

​What do NIH Health Physicists do?

Customer Service

1. Provide centralized receiving, log‐in, delivery, and inventory for all radioactive materials received at the NIH

2. Provide and manage the radioactive waste pick‐up, storage, characterization, treatment, and disposal for all NIH laboratories and clinical areas

3. Operate a special procedure laboratory for use of particularly hazardous and volatile radionuclides

4. Calibrate, repair, and instruct individuals on use of radiation survey instrumentation

5. Mange the external dosimetry contract and radiation exposure monitoring program for all NIH employees

6. Maintain and operate a complete analytical laboratory for radioactive material counting, characterization, and quantification

7. Conduct a bioassay program for determination of internal radioactive contamination, including operating and maintaining a whole body/thyroid counting system

8. Provide radiation safety and decontamination support for patient therapeutic administration of unsealed sources, such as I‐131, Ra‐223, Lu‐177

9. Provide radiation safety support for patient therapies using sealed sources of radiation (brachytherapy)

10. Coordinate safety and monitor outside contractors using radiation sources (such as for industrial radiography or density gauges)

Compliance/Oversight Tasks

1. Conduct comprehensive compliance, contamination, and security surveys of radiation use areas

2. Perform routine radioactive material inventories and compliance audits of all NIH Authorized Users

3. Review all lab surveys performed by others (primarily the DRS survey contractor)

4. Initiate and implement enforcement actions; create and deliver all documentation, provide assistance in effecting corrective action including retraining, follow‐up to ensure lasting corrective action

5. Conduct ALARA Investigations on radiation workers who exceed radiation dose trigger levels

6. Perform the quarterly inventory and semiannual leak test of all sealed sources, including generally licensed devices

7. Inspect the functionality of irradiators quarterly for safe and legal operation

8. QC multiple areas of the comprehensive database’s entered data

9. Perform QC/QA analysis (i.e cross‐checks) for radioactive samples previously analyzed by support contractors

10. Conduct comprehensive audits of DRS programs/licenses and various subsets of radioactive material users at NIH

11. Deploy, collect, analyze, and document the results of area dosimeters with regard to demonstrating compliance with public dose limits

12. Deploy, collect, analyze, and document the results of area and environmental samplers for radioactivity in air (duct and riser samplers)

13. Evaluate the entirety of the airborne radioactive effluent discharge for NIH and apply appropriate parameters/data to prepare the annual COMPLY report

14. Review all Animal Use Protocols involving radioactive materials

15. Ensure safe and compliant operation of the:

a. Nuclear Medicine Department,

b. Radiopharmacy,

c. Cyclotron facility,

d. Hot Cell Facilities operated by several different Institutes,

e. Positron Emission Tomography Group,

f. Molecular Imaging Program radiotherapy group,

g. Diagnostic Radiology Department, and

h. All other x‐ray machines (cabinet, x‐ray diffraction, etc.)

16. Review qualifications of researchers to use radioactive materials

17. Manage and conduct the radiation safety laboratory protocol approval system, including protocol practicums for new protocol users

18. Clear laboratories and equipment for unrestricted use or disposal, including evaluation of the entire radiological history of laboratories for decommissioning purposes

19. Facilitate, manage, review, approve, and follow‐up on essential surveys of radiation producing machinery, such as therapy accelerators, x‐ray machines, the cyclotrons

20. Provide HP coverage for specialized operations such as irradiator source exchange or demolition of potentially contaminated infrastructure

21. Maintain and continually assess program area SOPs

Emergency Response Tasks

1. Respond to emergencies involving radioactive materials

2. Perform dosimetry calculations for individuals contaminated with radioactivity, internally or externally

3. Assist Occupational Medical Services when injury involves possible radioactive contamination

4. Investigate unusual radiation exposures ‐ external, skin, and internal

External Education/Training Tasks

1. Develop and conduct radiation safety training of all authorized and individual users of radioactive materials

2. Develop and conduct radiation safety awareness training for support personnel such as Clinical Center nurses, Dept of Laboratory Medicine, animal caretakers, NIH police, firefighters, housekeepers, maintenance workers, and others

3. Develop new training modules and documents, and facilitate transitions of classroom training to online web‐based training

4. Assist in the development and maintenance of the Division of Radiation Safety website plus the accompanying Radiation Safety Guide

5. Conduct training exercises using sealed sources for local law enforcement and first responders in the Washington DC area

Internal Education/Training Tasks

1. Conduct training exercises using live contamination for DRS staff or other emergency responders

2. Conduct small‐scale experiments involving radioactivity to learn various characteristics of a nuclide or assist a researcher with a part of their work

3. Present monthly technical seminar series on topics of interest to radiation safety professional and technical staff

4. Engage in training and professional development initiatives to maintain and improve proficiency in staff members’ field of expertise

5. Orient and train new Division of Radiation Safety staff

6. Mentor newer staff members

Radiation Safety Committee Tasks

1. Review clinical protocols for use of radiation, provide expert dosimetry for patient procedures, and advise on and approve informed consent documents

2. Manage the meeting schedule and activities of the NIH Radiation Safety Committee

3. Prepare, review, and approve formal minutes of the NIH Radiation Safety Committee meetings

4. Prepare and present the Division of Radiation Safety Annual Report to the Radiation Safety Committee, as required by USNRC regulations

5. Serve as expert members of the NIH Radioactive Drug Research Committee

6. Review and approve IND’s and NDA’s involving radioactive drugs

7. Participate as subject matter experts in the NIH Human Subjects Research Advisory Committee

Consultation and Advisory Tasks – Within NIH

1. Respond to questions from NIH radiation users and others and provide assistance to NIH employees on topics of radiation safety (consultation)

2. Evaluate required precautions and provide consultation to Declared Pregnant Workers and Declared Breastfeeding Workers

3. Advise on and conduct decommissioning of facilities in which radioactive materials were previously used

4. Develop and execute solutions to unique or complex radioactive waste problems, such as radioactive hazardous chemical waste

5. Advise on and audit the systems for treatment of laboratory and facility exhausts for radioactive emissions, specifically (but not limited to) the Cyclotron Exhaust Radiation Monitoring System

6. Participate in project action teams for new construction or renovation to advise on facility design

7. Review facility design plans for radiation safety issues such as shielding design, ventilation, hood exhaust design, and treatment

8. Participate as members of IC Safety Committees

9. Participate as members of the ORS Animal Care and Use Committee and other Institute ACUC’s

Consultation and Advisory Tasks – Outside NIH

1. Participate in committees and working groups at the ORS, OD, NIH, or federal government level

2. Participate as representatives of the NIH Division of Radiation Safety in national and local professional society meetings to discuss operational radiation safety at the NIH

3. Conduct radiation safety audits of other organizations who have similar operations to NIH

4. Participate in interagency committees developing standards and recommendations for radiation protection

5. Review and provide written comments on proposed regulations that affect the NIH Radiation Safety Program

Team Lead/Managerial Tasks

1. Develop and manage the operating budget for the NIH Radiation Safety Program

2. Execute day to day management and supervision of program staff

3. Maintain and manage a comprehensive Oracle real‐time database of all data associated with the conduct of the Radiation Safety Program, tracking all radioactive materials, radiation sources, users, surveys, and other monitoring and audit documents

4. Conduct performance review of staff

5. Conduct and manage the system of Authorized Users as required under the broad scope license

6. Develop and write position descriptions, job analysis packages, and crediting plans for technical and non‐technical positions

7. Initiate and conduct recruitments for health physicists and other support staff, conduct recruiting activities at national meetings, conduct interviews of potential candidates, make hiring selections

8. Maintain USNRC Type A Broad Scope license, irradiator license, and Cyclotron Production license, pay annual license fees, and process amendments to licenses as necessary for new or retired initiatives

9. Review and approve procurement actions for purchase of licensed devices such as irradiators, and other radiation producing devices such as x‐ray machines

10. Provide primary interface with USNRC inspectors during inspections of the NIH

11. Write technical statements of work and rating criteria for contracts supporting the Radiation Safety Program, conduct site visits of proposed contractors, review proposals, develop proposal deficiency documents, make contractor selections

12. Perform the day to day technical project management of all support contracts

13. Perform QC/QA monitoring of contractor performance

14. Manage the medical physics support contract and escort the contractor to all locations for annual x‐ray equipment and lead garment surveys

15. Oversee access control for all irradiator room locations

16. Serve as System Owner, develop System Security Plan for all IT data systems under the purview of DRS, and liaison with OIIT to maintain systems’ Authority To Operate