The Institute of Radiation Physics (IRA) is an affiliated institute of the Department of Radiology at the CHUV. Institute activities are chiefly focused in two disciplines: medical physics, which involves the use of ionizing radiation in medicine, and radiation protection, which deals with methods and practices of protecting both workers and the general population from the effects of ionizing radiation. Within the context of these two disciplines, the institute provides an array of services for, primarily, various departments at the CHUV, as well as for any entity or person working with ionizing radiation in the canton of Vaud. IRA is also responsible for teaching medical physics and radiation protection within the framework of the Department of Medicine at the University of Lausanne.
IRA’s main fields of expertise, which correspond to several working groups within the institute, are indicated and explained below.
physics of radiation therapy; this group is responsible for providing technical and scientific support in radio-oncology
radio-pharmaceutical chemistry; this group works to support nuclear medicine departments: radiopharmaceutical monitoring, product labeling
medical imaging; this group collaborates with radiodiagnostic departments with respect to image quality and patient protection
radiation protection; this group provides technical support for any entity or person working with ionizing radiation: individual dosimetry, consulting and certification
radioecology; this group works in close collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health to guarantee monitoring of radiation activity levels in the environment by taking soil, grass, milk and other samples
Radiometrology for IRA working groups and any third party is provided by a separate group which works in close collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office of Metrology.
A final group coordinates any multi-group activities involving some or all institute groups such as radiation protection training or accident intervention. This group also provides logistical support.
Beyond the services described above, IRA also devotes a percentage of its time to research and development programs. The institute’s main areas of research include the study of objective image quality criteria in radiology and the optimization of dose distribution in radiotherapy.
IRA promotes a certain number of values, notably the respect and protection of patients in terms of diagnoses and treatments which involve ionizing radiation, as well as the environmentally-responsible and safe-for-human use of ionizing radiation under any circumstances.