Sonographer of the Month Andy Pellett, PhD
When and how did you get involved in cardiovascular ultrasound?
I became involved in the early 1990s, when I was hired to develop and teach an adult echocardiography program at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The job required a Ph.D., and since sonographers with Ph.Ds were exceptionally rare, the school decided to hire the Ph.D. (me) and make him learn echocardiography. I found it to be an enjoyable clinical application of physiology, which aided in my ability to learn on the job. In learning physiology, I wanted and needed to know the how and why of the functioning of the human body, and I encourage my students to learn the same way when it comes to both physiology and echocardiography. To maximize your adaptability and value as a sonographer, you must avoid mere memorization and create a stronger foundation based on true understanding. Of course, this requires effort, which makes it somewhat uncommon in new graduates.
What is your current position?
My current position is associate professor of cardiopulmonary science and physiology, program director of the adult echocardiography program (accredited by CAAHEP), and head of the Department of Cardiopulmonary Science.
At what type of facility do you work?
I work at a School of Allied Health Professions in the Department of Cardiopulmonary Science at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
When and how did you get involved in ASE?
I first joined ASE in 1994 after going to a Keith Mauney course in ultrasound physics and echocardiography in Irving, TX. Mr. Mauney advised me to join the Society and read JASE to facilitate my learning and teaching of echocardiography. I began volunteering for ASE in 2006 when I was appointed to the FASE Committee. After my stint on that committee, I was appointed to the Information Technology Committee, as well as the board of the Council on Cardiac Sonography. I have also given an ultrasound physics review as part of an ASE registry review course in Oregon in 2011.
Why do you volunteer for ASE?
I enjoy being around people who share a passion for cardiovascular ultrasound, and I feel that I have something to offer in the way of an education perspective.
What's your advice to a sonographer who wants to be more involved in their profession/ASE?
I would advise any sonographer who wants to be more involved in their profession to first represent him or herself as an extension of ASE by joining the Society and becoming familiar with ASE guidelines. There are too many sonographers who use erroneous procedures, and don’t know the purpose of using a particular method. Volunteering as a preceptor for a local echocardiography school is a great way to give back to the profession. Next, I would advise interested sonographers to get involved with a local echocardiography society, if there is one nearby, and to attend the ASE Scientific Sessions when possible. I frequently talk to sonographers at the sessions who are thrilled about sharing their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues back home. In addition, volunteering for an ASE committee is an excellent way to surround oneself with enthusiastic like-minded individuals, and to hear alternative points of view as well.
What is your vision for cardiovascular sonographers in the future?
I envision that cardiovascular sonographers in the future will be asked to make a greater variety of measurements, many of which will involve offline processing. New technology will continue to expand from research application to the realm of being clinically applicable, and sonographers will need to be knowledgeable and unafraid of these advancements.