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Texas Oncology's Dana Rosencranz receives award for leadership in medical physics

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Dr. Rosencranz

Texas Oncology-Paris physicist Dana Rosencranz, Ph.D, DABR, recently received the Medical Dosimetry & Physics Award, a prestigious award for outstanding achievement in radiation oncology and diagnostic imaging from Texas Oncology/McKesson Specialty Health. The award recognizes Rosencranz for her contributions toward advancing the science of radiation for patients.

Texas Oncology is an affiliate of the US Oncology Network, one of the largest community-based networks focused on cancer treatment and research in the country. As such, it is united with over 10,000 cancer professionals nationwide. According to the Texas Oncology website, it is also a primary participant in US Oncology Research, a nationwide effort consisting of 170 research locations with an experienced and dedicated staff of more than 300. Consisting of more than 150 sites of service, Texas Oncology has given treatment to more patients across the state than any other cancer care provider.

The award is presented on a national level, which means that (in consideration of the aforementioned information), Rosencranz was chosen from a pool of nominees (in her field) from hundreds of cancer centers across the country. Practice Director Ewell Byrd addressed what a significant achievement such recognition is for Rosencranz.

“If you look at the size of US Oncology, they treat anywhere from about 15-20% of all newly diagnosed cancer cases in the United States per year, so about one in every five patients to be diagnosed is going to be treated at a US Oncology site,” he said. “So when you look as far as this award nationwide, for Dana to receive this is outstanding.”

In addition, Byrd praised Rosencranz for not only her professional leadership skills, but also the interpersonal relationships between herself and her team.

“Dana is a natural leader. She’s infectious, as far as working on projects and new technology, she gets her team on board with it and they just go with it,” he said. “From your physicians to everyone, she motivates them.”

Rosencranz was the picture of genuine modesty and gratitude, contributing her team in the radiation department (including radiation oncologist James Petrikas) as key players in all accomplishments.

“I need the support of my team, so to me this award is 100% a team effort,” she said. “Although my name is on it, I, deeply in my heart, don’t consider it an individual award.”

She also spoke highly of her team’s motivation and enthusiasm for their work.

“I mean, literally, everybody takes such an ownership for the smallest little thing that they do, and they say ‘Okay, let’s just do it’,” she said. “I love that that, I just love working with people like that.”

Rosencranz was involved in the medical physics field long before she settled down in Paris. She received a bachelor’s in physics in her home country of Romania before relocating to the United States in 1996. Soon after, she worked for and received further education in Medical Isotopes from the University of North Texas in Denton. Before her work with Texas Oncology, she worked for a medical isotope company, but longed for involvement at a different level.

“It’s more industrial physics than medical physics and you know, I started working for two years for a medical isotope company and I always wanted to be more involved in a clinical application to see…how the radiation impacts, directly impacts a patient,” she said. “Then I found Texas Oncology. They opened the door for me and I just went straight in.”

Rosencranz has been involved with Texas Oncology since 2003, and in addition to Paris, has rotated through Fort Worth, Greenville and Mt. Pleasant.

“I oversee Greenville Cancer Center as well as Mount Pleasant, and Greenville was actually the biggest reward for me as a medical physicist in my career, because I think it’s such an immense internal reward to set up your own cancer center,” she said. “Greenville was just opening up, so I had a privilege to be part of setting up the radiation therapy department. I really enjoyed that.”

Rosencranz located to Greenville in 2008, and in September 2011, took her position in Paris while remaining at Greenville and Mt. Pleasant.

“I love to come and, you know, be part of organizing the radiation therapy department,” she said. “I really like that, to be part of the flow and be sure that the communication is working.”

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L to R: Michael LaFont, Dr. Dana Rosencranz, and Dr. James Petrikas. Picture courtesy of Ashley Hilliard.

The award is no doubt a great honor to anyone involved in medical physics, but what exactly does it celebrate? What does being a medical physicist entail? To begin with, it is not like your standard high school-level physics course; rather, it is very active and dynamic, requiring extensive knowledge of physics to all aspects of the Radiation Therapy Department. According to Rosencranz, typical responsibilities include:

  • Development, research and implementation of new technologies for patient care in the Radiation Therapy Department
  • Management of the Radiotherapy Quality Assurance Program to ensure high-quality safety testing and correct operation of treatment machines, X-ray equipment and radiation-treatment planning computers
  • Establishment and management of a proper communication flow between key groups in the department to ensure correct and safe patient care and delivery of the prescribed radiation dose
  • Advisement and consultation with physicians in development of treatment plans for special procedures, as well as the introduction of new medical technologies
  • Formulation of radiation protection guides and procedures for specific cancer care
  • Supervision and management of radiation workers and other professional health workers as well as the general public

The process of radiation treatment is delicate and dependent on a variety of factors, and thus must be treated with great care. If handled improperly, strong doses of radiation can be fatal, and it is Rosencranz and her team’s job to oversee every detail.

“It’s just a very complex process [and] somebody has to oversee that and make sure that whatever the doctor ordered is going to be followed,” she said.

Rosencranz is part of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and is certified by the American Board of Radiology (ABR). For more information about Texas Oncology or medical physics, visit www.texasoncology.com/  or www.aapm.org/.

Congratulations to Dana Rosencranz and team on this achievement!

By Courtney McNeal, eParisExtra

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