Editor’s Note / Message du rédacteur en chef
Reflections on the CRPA Bulletin (2007–2017)
How did you become interested in radiation protection and when did you join CRPA?
I first became interested in radiation protection in 1985 when I was hired to label H-3 and C-14 fatty acids onto phospholipids for heart research. I was thrilled to see the science in action, but I felt a bit of trepidation that my work could harm me or the environment in some way that I didn’t understand.
I joined CRPA in 1990 (or 1991) after taking a job as the University of Manitoba’s radiation safety technician responsible for radioactive waste and lab inspections.
What are your earliest recollections of the CRPA Bulletin?
I poured over the early Bulletins like the Eaton’s Christmas catalogue, There was so much to learn, and it was so fabulous that it was Canadian in content. It helped that one of the former board members (Irv Gusdal) was my supervisor and one (Danny Buksak) was our manager. Irv and Danny were huge CRPA supporters and conversed regularly about articles from the Bulletin.
How and why did you become a part of the CRPA Bulletin Editorial Board?
In 2007 (I think) I joined the CRPA Communications Committee and we were trying to figure out how to support CRPA communications across the vast territory that is Canada. I knew the previous Bulletin editor wanted to step down. I missed a teleconference meeting in August of 2007—afterwards, I found out I had been selected to work on the Bulletin.
I talked with Jeff Sandeman in at the annual conference in Saint John in September of that year. I agreed to be deputy editor as I am not a good writer. I agreed to move information from submission through translation (CRPA has an amazing volunteer translation resource!) to the publisher. I sent up a filing system and loved maintaining it.
Although the editorial board was filled by the ardent work of ambitious recruiters, no one volunteered to be editor! Sunil Choubal had worked with the Board of Directors and he arranged for Michelle Boulton’s company to produce the Bulletin. It was so amazing to see the transformation of the Bulletin. It is a favourite part for me to see how Michelle and her team arrange and layout the content submitted.
My favourite early article was on radon from geological samples. It was submitted by Joseph Vincelli, CRPA(R) of McGill. The raw article was fascinating, but when Michelle and her team were done with it, I thought I was reading a Chatelaine magazine!
Soon, I had help behind the scenes from a “secret” editor. I felt so much support from Stéphane Jean-François! He is a very intelligent, caring person who, fortunately for CRPA, cares strongly about the radiation protection in Canada.
What were your goals for the CRPA Bulletin and do you think your goals were accomplished?
I agreed to become a part of the Bulletin Editorial Board because no one else was offering. I stayed for two reasons: Canadian radiation protection types needed a printed Bulletin to capture and communicate what was happening in radiation protection across Canada; and Stéphane, Michelle, the Bulletin Editorial Board, and countless members of the Board of Directors made it easy to feel as though I was a part of a successful team doing important work.
What are your hopes for the new eBulletin and what are your fears as CRPA moves in this direction?
I hope the eBulletin will help CRPA jump forward to support younger radiation safety professionals to learn good practices, to stay safe, and to truly implement ALARA. I believe money and other resources should be efficiently used to keep people and the planet safe, not to fuel unsupported mythologies.
There is much work to do and I look forward to keeping up with everything online. I think online communication is an invaluable platform in the Canadian environment, where vast distances separate those practising safe science.