BLS Featured CMLSO: Jacob Kamen
1. Who are you?
My name is Jacob Kamen. In my childhood, I drove my teachers and especially my grandfather crazy by asking them millions of questions. I simply loved to learn, no matter whether it was science, engineering or the Jewish mysticism. I was always drawn to people older than me to discuss any issues and learn from them. Life is beautiful and I simply love to learn and educate others.
2. What is your educational background?
I completed my PhD degree in Nuclear Engineering at Columbia University. During the process, I spent several years at the Medical Department of the Brookhaven National Laboratory. At Brookhaven, I was involved in the Body Composition and Boron Neutron Capture Therapy project which was performed in the Medical Research Reactor. My post-doctoral fellowship was in Radiation Oncology. I have more than 20 years of experience in Health Physics and Radiation Safety. I have had Faculty appointments in Manhattan College, New York University and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. I have been the president of the Greater New York Chapter of Health Physics Society (GNYCHPS) twice. I am certified by the American Board of Health Physics (ABHP) and the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists (NRRPT). I have had interviews, as an expert, with Daily News of NY and Fox TV channel about the Fukushima radiation accident in Japan. I also delivered the opening remarks for a Symposium at the West Point Military Academy.
3. Where do you work?
I am working as the Senior Director and the Chief Radiation Safety Officer for the Mount Sinai Health System which is the largest Health Care system in New York. Previously, I worked at the NYU Medical Center and the Columbia University Medical Center.
4. When did you start working with lasers?/ How long have you worked with lasers?
In 2009, I was asked by the senior management at the Medical Center to take over the Laser Safety program because of my excellent record in running the ionizing radiation program. I tried to bring myself up to speed and studied independently in my spare time. I took some courses in Laser Institute of America (LIA) to accelerate the learning process. For the past 5 years, I have been working with lasers for the Medical Center.
5. How did you become the MLSO?
When I was asked to take over the Laser Safety Program, initially I felt a little bit outside of my comfort zone. Remembering my ABHP certification gave me a lot of confidence on a daily basis to work with ionizing radiation; I decided to take the same approach with lasers and took the CMLSO board exam which I passed in 2010. Since then, I have been in contact with people of the LIA, BLS and even the proctor of the exam. They are very helpful individuals and it was a privilege to get to know them.
6. Do you like being the MLSO?/Challenges of “today’s” MLSO?
I enjoy being the MLSO at my institution because it provides interesting challenges every day. It is rewarding to know that I am actively helping to improve the health and safety of patients and staff on a daily basis.
7. How has becoming certified helped/benefited you in your career?
As a certified MLSO, I provide expertise to the Medical Center for the better protection of staff and patients. In addition, recently we have had mergers with other health care providers and this is an excellent time for me to implement all my experiences in a much larger scale.