Beth MacGillivrary photo
Speaker: Beth MacGillivray
Dept. of Nuclear Medicine
Ottawa General Hospital
Topic: ConneXions: A "Connect-the-Nuclear-Dots" Game
Location: Algonquin College
Pembroke, Ont.
(co-sponsored by Algonquin College)
Date: Thursday, May 25, 1997 (7:00 pm)

Summary published in North Renfrew Times, May 28, 1997:

Radiation, Cows, and O.J. Simpson

by Jeremy Whitlock

The fascinating link between radiation, cows, and O.J. Simpson was explained last Thursday evening at a public seminar hosted by Algonquin College in Pembroke, co-sponsored by the local branch of the Canadian Nuclear Society. Beth MacGillivray, a registered Nuclear Medicine Technologist from the Ottawa General Hospital, spoke with infectious enthusiasm on the importance of radioisotopes in society to a crowd of about 40 people.

The focal point was Ms. MacGillivray's specialty, Nuclear Medicine, which is the application of radioisotopes to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Ms. MacGillivray is becoming well-known as a inspiring speaker on this subject, having travelled around the country for the past four years speaking to schools, community groups, CNS branches, and several of AECL's Science for Educators Seminars held annually at Chalk River.

As last Thursday's audience of the young and old alike would agree, we are all fortunate to have Ms. MacGillivray as a de facto ambassador for our nuclear technology and its heritage. Beth MacGillivray received her qualification in Nuclear Medicine at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 1983, and has been with the Ottawa General's Department of Nuclear Medicine since 1990. As both a personal and professional mission, Beth seeks to enlighten the public about the beneficial aspects of nuclear technology, and about the pivotal role Canada has played in the development of nuclear technology for peaceful (and, in particular, medical) applications.

She is inspirational on many levels - to the public that may have no previous knowledge of this topic, to nuclear professionals who may have little idea about the full application of the products they create, and to high-school students (especially young women) who may be seeking exciting careers in high-technology with a medical/social connection.

The presentation, which included videotape examples of three-dimensional imaging of bones and organs, began with a short history of the field of Nuclear Medicine, progressed through many of the diverse medical applications of radioisotopes, and in the end left the audience with a convincing lesson on the importance of understanding both the risks and the benefits of any technology before making informed decisions on its use.

Along the way there was ample reference to Canada's significant involvement, in both an historical and contemporary context. Naturally, mention was made of Canada's world- dominating supply of the Tc-99, the most common radioisotope in Nuclear Medicine, which is shipped from MDS Nordion in Kanata in the form of "cows" from which the isotope product can be "milked" at the hospital. Other uses of radioisotopes, such as in DNA-testing (hence the ambiguous linkage to O.J. Simpson mentioned at the outset) were also highlighted.

This was the seventh annual pairing of the CNS and Algonquin College in a public seminar, originally the initiative of the CNS's Aslam Lone. It has been a successful partnership over the years, bringing a number of diverse presentations directly to the local community. As such, this annual event fits appropriately within the program of public presentations sponsored monthly by the CNS in this area.