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Black Medical Physicist Makes History, Becomes Fellow of the American College of Radiology

Mr. Charles Michael Able is among the distinguished scientist and clinical research professionals in the field of radiology to receive the Fellow of the American College of Radiology – one of the highest honors awarded to diagnostic radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, medical physicists, and nuclear medicine physicians.

Able, who is the former Director of Medical Physics at the Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute, has a career that spans over 30 years working as a Medical Physicist in cancer research and radiation therapy. Mr. Able managed 9 medical physicists and 13 dosimetrists performing SRS, SBRT, HDR, LDR seed implants, and radiopharmaceutical therapies. Through his leadership, the radiation therapy program grew from six to nine centers in 2020. The nine centers include eleven accelerators and two mobile HDR systems that are treating on average 300 patients a day. Able has traveled all over America, Switzerland, Austria, and China speaking about cancer research and medical physics. Able has made incredible contributions to the Medical Physics profession through his research publications and presentations.  He represents the 1% of African Americans working in the Medical Physics profession.

Beyond his career as a medical physicist, Able is the founder and owner of Boom Publishing and Broadcasting, Inc., publishing fiction and nonfiction African American literature. His debut as an author will be an autobiography, highlighting his childhood, family, and career, in June 2021.  He grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Mr. Douglas Milton Able, Jr. and Blanche Elizabeth Able, the third born of his six brothers and sisters.  Able’s mother is his greatest inspiration, who told him, “Try to do one thing each day to make a difference in someone’s life.” Able says, “As I got older, it is what led me to want to use my technical skills, knowledge, and ability to help people in their fight against cancer. People, not patients! Each person has a story and you are part of their team that helps them fight their cancer battle.” Able lives by his mother’s inspirational words and works hard every day to make a difference in someone’s life.

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Able faced adversity, racism, and various challenges as he aspired to advance his career and education in Medical Physics. Nevertheless, he has learned that there is no substitute for excellence. He believes everyone should commit to producing excellence in all his or her endeavors. In addition, nothing is a waste of time, every misstep, boneheaded mistake, and failure is a learning opportunity and prepares you to be successful in the next endeavor. “You must maintain your focus and be persistent in the face of uncertainty and forecasted failure to reach your goals. Never, ever quit, I don’t know how to give up,” says Able.

Able’s goal is to use his medical physics platform to do motivational speaking, to publish literature to uplift the African American community, and to encourage minority youth to follow their dreams and aspirations.  “Mr. Able took me under his wings and taught me how to deal with politics in the workplace, gave me tips to obtaining certifications, and demonstrated professionalism as a medical physicist,” said Dr. Carnell Hampton, mentee and colleague. “He is my mentor and friend as he was my primary gateway to establishing my own network with African American Physicist and connections in the industry. He sets the standard by which a physicist should do business,” Hampton says.

Able graduated from Frostburg State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Mathematics, minoring in Computer Science. After graduating from Frostburg State University in 1982, Able moved to Houston, Texas, where he began his career working at the University of Texas (UT) Radiological Physics Center, performing retrospective analysis of radiation therapy charts for the Radiological Physics Center. In 1987, Able graduated from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences specializing in Therapeutic  Radiological Physics.

As the founder of Boom Publishing and Broadcasting, Inc., Able is launching the Black Bottom Project.  A project aimed at broadcasting intensely personal stories of every day African Americans told in their own words. Able states “I’m talking about that story, that one situation that helped shape you to make you who you are today. Something that you encountered, that you experienced in your life that is the core part of who you are.”

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Written by PH

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