Interview with Ali Shoushtarian, CRPA President-Elect
Tell us a little bit about yourself: work life, family life. When did you first join CRPA?
I obtained a BSc (honours) in biochemistry from the University of Ottawa and a graduate certificate in forensic science from Mount Royal University. I acquired knowledge of radiation management through years of experience as a user in research environments and later moved into the professional realm of radiation safety. I joined CRPA in 2007.
I spent six years as the radiation safety officer at the University of Ottawa overseeing operational procedures for over 50 academic research laboratories. Currently, I am the senior radiation safety specialist with the Ottawa Hospital. My work involves monitoring clinical nuclear medicine as well as the hospital’s research laboratories.
I have two sons: Zachary (almost 6) and Cameron (3). They are both little rascals, but they are the loves of my life.
Why did you decide to run for CRPA president?
I look back at where I started with the board of directors and where I am today, and I think, “What an amazing organization!” The people, the connections with radiation communities and experts, the good and the challenging times, have all made me grow as a professional in the field of radiation safety and have given me the confidence to challenge myself with new endeavours. I wanted to keep this momentum going.
What do you plan to focus on during your presidency?
I plan to focus on the following things during my presidency:
- Enhancing support for CRPA members by addressing member concerns, communicating the value and benefits of CRPA membership, and maintaining our “family” culture
- Promoting remote continuing education opportunities
- Revamping our SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals
Have you been able to start on any of your goals as president-elect over the past year?
Yes! I was able to start working on some of my goals during the past year as president-elect, but then COVID-19 happened and derailed some of the hard work I had started. I’ll keep going and will come up with new ideas considering this “new normal,” so please stay tuned!
Of all your goals, if you could pick only one thing to accomplish by the end of your term as president, what would it be?
To overhaul our SMART goals.
To keep adding value for our members, do you feel new partnerships would be beneficial? If so, which ones will you seek out?
Yes, I feel new partnerships would be beneficial. For example, I will continue promoting CRPA membership to similar societies with members who could benefit from our expertise. However, we must approach it in a sustainable way.
In the past year, CRPA has established a working group with the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST). The mission of the working group is to provide a forum for communication and information sharing with stakeholders in the regulated community, with the aim of increasing radon awareness across Canada.
CRPA should look at other similar avenues. More to come!
Where would you like to see the association five years from now?
The future of CRPA lies in getting young professionals involved. We need to attract new members early in their careers—whether as students or shortly after they graduate. I will work with the various stakeholders to ensure young radiation safety professionals understand the importance of obtaining and maintaining CRPA membership. Over the next five years, I would like to see the young professionals’ membership increase by 50%.
Is Schrödinger’s cat dead or alive?
That’s an excellent question! I think it’s alive, and I hope it’s keeping a safe physical distance through this pandemic.
Anything else you’d like to say to our readers, both members and non-members?
Thank you again for your support! Without all of you, we wouldn’t be here!
It’s the responsibility of the president to listen to the members and make decisions that will achieve the best possible outcomes. This includes our corporate members—we must ensure they’re getting good value from CRPA.
The strength of an association like ours is the membership, and I’ve met great people over the years. I invite you to keep the spirit up and talk about CRPA to your colleagues who might not know about our organization.
At any time, if you have a great idea for the future and sustainability of CRPA, please don’t hesitate to reach out!