Our Team Today: The Director of RDS is Dr. Rebecca Howell. She has 20 years of clinical experience, is a tenured Associate Professor, certified by the ABR in Therapeutic Radiologic Physics, and a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
The RDS has highly qualified and very dedicated faculty and staff, many of whom have worked at the RDS for over thirty years. In total, the RDS has 16 faculty and staff members including medical physicists, medical dosimetrists, computational scientists, research technicians, radiological technicians, as well as accounting and administrative staff. Also, part of the RDS team are three graduate students Medical Physics Graduate Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. We collaborate closely with the other sections within MD Anderson Outreach Physics, namely the Imaging and Radiation Oncology Core (IROC) Houston QA Center and the MD Anderson Accredited Dosimetry Calibration Laboratory .
RDS History: Our history dates back more than a half-century. In 1968, the Texas Regional Medical Physicists (TRMP) program began under the leadership of Dr. Robert Shalek to help its member physicists by providing services such as mailed TLD output checks, dosimetry review visits, computer-based dose calculations, equipment loans, etc. Then in 1974, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded the six Centers for Radiological Physics, and the TRMP was among the six. Ultimately those centers evolved to become the NCI-funded Radiological Physics Center (RPC [now IROC-Houston]), with service dedicated to radiotherapy facilities participating in NCI-funded trials.
In 1985, Dr. Shalek decided to offer services for a fee to radiotherapy facilities not monitored by the RPC. This new for-fee service was named the MD Anderson RDS. Dr. Marilyn Stovall led the RDS from 1986 until she retired in 2015 (after 65 years of service at MD Anderson). During those 30 years, the number of customers serviced by RDS grew dramatically both domestically and internationally. Upon Dr. Stovall's retirement, Dr. David Followill was appointed to be RDS' Director and Dr. Rebecca Howell as the Associate Director. After serving as the Associate Director of RDS for one year, Dr. Howell was promoted to Director in 2016. Dr. Followill continues in his role as Director of IROC Houston and Section Chief of Outreach Physics.