The 2014-2015 Master Program in Radiation Protection at the Universidad de Las Americas (UDELAS) graduated nine radiation protection officers on July 17th, 2015. The Spanish language course was designed in collaboration between the Ministry of Health (MINSA) and UDELAS (University), with support from RSRP. In attendance were the graduates and family members, UDELAS management (Doris Hernández y Vielka de Donado), the course director Dr. Eloy Gibbs, representatives of USNRC (David Skeen and Jack Ramsey), and Sergey Katsenelenbogen and Mario Rodriguez from AdSTM. All graduates are or recently gained employment in the radiation protection area. David Skeen congratulated the new graduates on behalf of USNRC. UDELAS and MINSA thanked USNRC for all the support throughout the duration of this first Master level group. The course was designed to prepare individuals to become Radiation Protection Officers. The course program includes theoretical and practical knowledge in safety and security of radiation generators and radioactive materials. The course material is covered over four academics semesters. The night courses ran 4-5 nights per week, from 5:30 - 10 pm, October, 2013 – May, 2015. The evening program allowed students to maintain employment while attending the course. The program was taught by Dr. Gibbs, and local university professors. Select topics were covered by foreign experts with support from USNRC. This notably included Abel Gonzalez of IAEA and a lecturer from US NRC Region IV.
In a separate event on July 16th-2015, UDELAS-MINSA-USNRC welcomed the new group of the Master Program students, who will begin their studies on August 3rd, 2015. David Skeen of USNRC delivered a welcome speech to the new group and Sergey Katsenelenbogen of AdSTM welcomed the new students and provided motivating words for this very demanding program. It is expected that this new group will graduate at the beginning of the year 2017. This program will allow Panama to meet national demand for Radiation Safety Officers and to improve safety of operating and regulating the use of radiation sources.