Alumni Profile: Peter Raaphorst

Peter Raaphorst, PhD ’76, earned all three physics degrees from the University of Waterloo.  While at Colorado State University, he was team leader for his postdoctoral research on cancer treatment that used a combination of heat, radiation and drugs. Raaphorst joined Atomic Energy of Canada in 1979 as section leader and continued his research on multimodality cancer treatment. Later in 1985, he became head of Medical Physics at the Ottawa Hospital and modernized radiotherapy and imaging, and was appointed as full professor in Physics at Carleton University and in Radiology at University of Ottawa. Raaphorst also held an appointment to Henan Tumour Hospital China. 

He became founding director of the Ottawa Medical Physics Institute (OMPI) which spanned both universities, Health Canada, National Research Council, and Atomic Energy with strong ties to industry. Raaphorst supervised/graduated 21 postgraduates and OMPI graduated over 100 postgraduates. He has published 235 papers, received $3.5 million in research funding and has given numerous international presentations. Upon retirement in 2005, Raaphorst was awarded the prestigious Ottawa Life Sciences Council Life-time Achievement Award and later the Gold Medal Life-time Achievement Award by the Canadian Organization of Medical Physics. In 2018 he was elected to the Wall of Fame in Renfrew Collegiate High School.

Raaphorst continues to be active in mammography and Bone Mineral Density QC and national policy, raising money to help refugees and as head of finance in his local church.