Falling on 7 November, IDMP is scheduled to mark the birthday of Marie Curie, and this year, celebrates 150 years since her birth. Marie Curie is renowned for her work on radioactivity and her huge contribution to the fight against cancer. In recognition, the IOMP decided to dedicate IDMP 2017 to women, with the theme "Medical physics: providing a holistic approach to women patients and women staff safety in radiation medicine".

"The theme for IDMP 2017 focuses on our approach to women patients and women staff safety in radiation medicine," explains John Damilakis, IOMP's education and training committee chair and coordinator of IDMP activities. "There are health problems that are more prevalent in women than in men, such as breast cancer and osteoporosis."

"It is well known that medical physicists have developed imaging and radiotherapy methods that have increased women's length of life and have improved quality-of-life, for example X-ray mammography for the early diagnosis of breast cancer, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry for the diagnosis of osteoporosis and brachytherapy methods for gynaecologic cancer," says Damilakis. "Medical physicists not only developed these methods, but also play a fundamental role in their application ensuring the quality of procedures while minimizing radiation risks to women patients."

Live events
One of the main events this year will be held at the Asia Oceania Congress of Medical Physics (AOCMP) in Jaipur, India, which will host an IDMP celebration Day. This event includes several conference sessions that will be live-streamed through the IDMP website, with presentations on the contributions of medical physics to women's health and radiation safety, the IOMP Women survey data and more.

In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna is live broadcasting a session of talks in a programme entitled "Medical Physics in Cancer Treatment: Supporting Women’s Health". And the University of Malaya, in cooperation with IOMP and the World Health Organization, is organizing a live webcast of presentations from Kuala Lumpur, examining the IDMP and the legacy of Marie Curie.

Following on from the day itself, the IOMP has further ideas in store. "One of the long term tasks that we have planned is to establish a full IOMP committee aiming to bring women in medical physics closer together - an important initiative which I fully support," says IOMP President Slavik Tabakov.

Tabakov noted that he and the IOMP executive committee are also planning to launch a large project on history of medical physics. "The project will show the development of our profession and its contribution to contemporary medicine," he explains.

Many other professional societies are also getting involved with the IDMP. The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), for example, asked women working in medical physics from around the world to send in their photos. IPEM used these to create a poster to mark the day, which includes women from over 25 countries.

Wherever and however you are celebrating IDMP, we'd like to wish all of our readers a happy International Day of Medical Physics.

• For details of the live webcast events, see the IDMP webpage.