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2022 SPIE Yaver Scholarship awarded to Oleksandra Ivashchenko

23 Jun 2022

$10,000 scholarship for clinical medical physicist at the Leiden University Medical Center.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics and publisher of optics.org, has awarded its 2022 Joe and Agnete Yaver Memorial Scholarship to Oleksandra Ivashchenko, a medical physics resident in radiology and nuclear medicine at the Leiden University Medical Center and researcher in surgical oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute.

Ivashchenko will use the scholarship to complete a part-time MBA program in healthcare management at the University of Amsterdam’s Business School, while taking on a post-residency role as a senior medical physicist in the department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging at the University Medical Center of Groningen.

The recipient of an SPIE Medical Imaging Young Scientist Award in 2021, Ivashchenko received her PhD in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology in 2017.

She earned an MSc in Applied Physics with a minor in Medical Physics from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 2012, and a BSc in Applied Physics from the same institution in 2010.

AI for healthcare imaging
In her new role as a clinical medical physicist (CMP), Ivashchenko is responsible for the development of medical imaging within the nuclear medicine department, as well as for developing strategic multi-year plans for the hospital’s imaging center.

With her MBA experience, she is building a stronger understanding of the business, medical ethics, and project management components relevant to her medical profession as well as honing her skills in the use of AI and data analytics for healthcare imaging technologies.

“I received my notification about the Yaver award late at night, on the eve of the last day of my residency,” said Ivashchenko. “It was such a big surprise that I even wondered if it wasn't a mistake. The award will be used to help finance a part-time MBA study, which will help me become a better CMP, particularly in terms of cost-effectiveness optimization in healthcare.

"My long-term goal is to improve the affordability of personalized therapies - including radionuclide therapy and radio-embolization - which are often only accessible in high-income countries.

"As a researcher, I know how to develop or optimize an imaging technique, but the MBA will help put this knowledge in the perspective of wider health costs. I really hope this is the start of a great career journey in affordable healthcare and I am very grateful to SPIE and the Joe and Agnete Yaver Scholarship for making this possible!”

The Joe and Agnete Yaver Memorial Scholarship honors the Yavers' long-term leadership at SPIE which was instrumental in its technical and financial success.

It is available to SPIE members and staff seeking an advanced degree or certification from an accredited program covering such areas such as business administration, non-profit program management, technology management, and data science and visualization.

Joe Yaver, who died in November 2016, was the innovative executive director of SPIE from 1969 to 1993. Agnete Yaver worked alongside her husband to build the foundation for the organization's current multidisciplinary and international scope, extensively advancing its mission.

Applications for next year's scholarship will be due by 15 March 2023. The Yaver scholarship is one of several named SPIE scholarships funded by companies and individuals who partner with SPIE to serve its non-profit educational mission.

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