In this era of dwindling government research funding and support for research fellowships, the ASE Foundation convened a one day think tank to address these challenges and lay out a roadmap for the future of our profession.
On Saturday, November 3, the ASE Foundation held its second Cardiovascular Ultrasound Technology and Research Summit prior to the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles. Building on the success of our prior summit held two years ago, 43 echocardiologists, ultrasound engineers and physicists, and leadership from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) met to discuss future areas of cardiovascular ultrasound research and the technologic developments needed to meet future clinical needs. In an animated discussion that lasted over 8 hours, we took turns serving on a panel at the front while engaging the rest of the group. The agenda was designed around areas of active investigation and technology development, and we debated topics ranging from research infrastructure (how can we drive interoperability and promote standard access to image data?) to myocardial deformation (how do we support innovation in the face of workflow challenges?) to 4D (how can we improve image quality and standardize quantification methods to make this the standard of care?) to therapeutic ultrasound (how can we help investigators move beyond proof of concept into actual translation?). You can see some photos from the session below.
The sessions were spontaneous and no slides were used to better facilitate interactions. There was discussion of types of federal funding available for such research and Dr. Denis Buxton, NHLBI, offered to prepare a summary of the types of grants available from NHLBI and send to ASE for distribution. To facilitate continuation of the dialogue, it was suggested by Dr. Jim Miller that ASE form a council for its scientists. (Great idea, isn’t it!) This would be a forum for exchange of ideas and activities similar to our four active special interest Councils.
We are now working on crafting a document for JASE publication regarding our goals for the future and strategies for how to achieve them. I want to personally thank Drs. Pam Douglas and Jim Miller, co-chairs of this event, for their efforts to focus the spotlight on echo research. Even with all that has been accomplished in echocardiography, it was obvious from the exciting discussion that there is enormous potential still to be realized!
And, let me make a personal pitch to ASE members who want to support these types of research community building activities to support the ASE Foundation’s 2012 Annual Appeal. Right now we are gathering the funding to support the 2013 research grants and abstract submitters travel stipends. Both of these projects positively impact and support echo-focused research efforts. I encourage you to invest in the ASE Foundation.