Professional Ethics – How We Best Navigate the (Small and Big) Dilemmas in Ethical Decision Making Webinar

By Christina Ruiz, July 29, 2020

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Title: Professional Ethics – How We Best Navigate the (Small and Big) Dilemmas in Ethical Decision Making

Speaker: Alexander Brandl, Ph.D.

Date/Time: Tuesday, August 18th at 6:00 pm EDT

About the Webinar: 

Professionals in medical physics and medical health physics are subject to various codes of ethics published by the professional organisations and associations representing our community of scientists and practitioners. We, collectively and individually, accept those codes’ terms and conditions, and understand the professional consequences of non-compliance. However, while those codes of ethics may be prescriptive with respect to the general understanding of “ethical behavior” or “professional conduct” in our fields, they often provide little guidance on an ethical decision making process when conflicting interests and intentions require professional judgment. We often serve as contractors to clients or advisers to employers while, at the same time, we are expected to emphasize the welfare of and benefit to the general public. We explain and summarize the philosophical approach to an ethical decision making process, and attempt to clarify the role of the “professional” in that process. We investigate the responsibilities, duties, and virtues of a medical physics or medical health physics professional and explain the ethically prescribed position for the professional in the decision making process. Our most ethical conduct may actually be in our intimate involvement in the development and execution of the final “ethical decision” by providing guidance and counsel to the decision maker in a fiduciary professional-client relationship. The main pillars of a trusting professional-client relationship are our integrity and communication skills. We realize that effective communication necessitates more than the transfer of information to the audience, but simultaneously needs to allow for a well-informed decision by our client or employer and motivate the corresponding actions.


About the Speaker:  

Alexander Brandl holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of New Mexico. He is presently an Associate Professor in Health Physics and Associate Department Head for Research and Operations in the Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences Department at Colorado State University. Previously, he has held positions at the Austrian Research Centers in Seibersdorf, Austria, including that of Radiation Safety Officer and Head of the Operational Safety Department, Nuclear Engineering Seibersdorf. He has served on foreign missions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has been an expert advisor on various Austrian and European government panels. He has served as convener to scientific and standards working groups, and on the scientific committees for national and international conferences. For the past sixteen years, he has been the secretary of the Austrian Radiation Protection Association and a delegate to the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA); he also is a Plenary Member of the Health Physics Society and chair of their International Collaboration Committee. Dr. Brandl’s research interests encompass external and internal dosimetry, radiation detection and statistical data interpretation, and most recently societal impacts of the uses and applications of ionizing radiation and the work of health physicists as viewed by the general public. He recently has been teaching a series of lectures and publishing articles on professional ethics in radiation protection, ethical decision making in the profession, and the link between ethical behavior and professional communication; on these topics he also has been moderating panel discussions and chairing sessions at professional conferences.