Department of Medical Physics


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The Department of Medical Physics was established in 1980 under Prof WJ Strydom as a joint department in the Faculty of Medicine of the University and Ga-Rankuwa (now Dr George Mukhari) Hospital. The directives of the Department were:

  • To start a first year applied medical physics course tailored for medical and dental students.
  • To provide other courses for the supplementary health departments.
  • To train medical physicists.
  • To render medical physics services to Ga-Rankuwa hospital.

The discipline of medical physics is concerned with the interaction between physics and the human body, particularly that of radiation. In this regard Medical Physics works closely with the departments of Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy as these departments make intensive use of radiation in their diagnostic/ therapeutic practices.

In this capacity Medical Physics was tasked with setting up a Nuclear Medicine department which was established in 1986. Medical Physics was also approached to set up a Radiotherapy department, unfortunately, factors beyond our control made it made it difficult to realise the goal.

In 1989 the basic science faculty was created incorporating a department of physics and mathematics. Although certain personnel were transferred out of Medical Physics to create the new physics department it was decided to retain medical physics in the faculty of medicine to give the medically related physics courses for the following reasons:

  • Medical Physics is a clinical subject, and Medical Physicists are required to register with the HPCSA.
  • The Biophysics courses are applied courses tailored to the needs of the healthcare student unlike a pure basics physics course.
  • The trend internationally is towards applied courses.

In 2002 medical physics was again approached to create a nuclear medicine department at Polokwane Hospital. This was realised in the beginning of 2003. Medical Physics was also involved in setting up a radiotherapy department towards the end of 2003.

Currently our students are trained at both Dr George Mukhari and Polokwane Hospitals giving a full range of facilities allowing us to provide world class training.