Radiation Therapy Technology program makes diversity learning a priority

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Jeannetta Greer, third from left, with her RT 3000: Concepts of Clinical Care class.

Jeannetta Greer, director of the Wayne State University Radiation Therapy Technology (RTT) program, teaches her students much more than just how to use machines and formulas to treat cancer. She teaches them to treat the whole patient – and to put a high priority on understanding each individual patient's unique social and cultural perspective.  

"As radiation therapists, we care for many people from various backgrounds. This makes it very important for students to really internalize why and how diversity matters," Greer said. "Learning about diversity and opening our minds and hearts to the differences in others will help us provide better care to our patients. We must learn about what’s important in the lives of the patients we care for and respect any differences from our own worldview."

To help with this goal, Greer designed an assignment for her Concepts of Clinical Care course. Each student answered questions detailing their ethnic background, challenges stemming from their ethnicity, and what they value most about their ethnicity. They also provided fun and interesting stories about their ancestors to show how history and traditions have shaped their identity. They shared their responses from their own experiences within the Native American, African American, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, German and Spanish cultures.  

"This assignment allowed us to open up to each other and learn how our perspectives are unique. Because of our own diversity within the RTT program, we can learn from one another and take this information into the clinics and use this knowledge when providing care for patients that may have different beliefs and values than ourselves," Greer said. 

About Radiation Therapy Technology

Radiation therapists have a unique opportunity to blend the knowledge and skills of mathematics, science and psychology in their daily work. Radiation therapists operate sophisticated radiation equipment to treat malignant tissue, assist in designing the patient's treatment through the use of 3D computer-generated calculations, recognize when a patient is having additional medical problems that require a doctor's attention, and provide psychological support for patients who are dealing with the stress of their illness.

The B.S. in Radiation Therapy Technology is offered through Wayne State's Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The application deadline is Nov. 30. Learn more on the RTT website

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