Chris Kramer, ACS, RDCS, FASE
When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?
I first got involved in cardiovascular ultrasound as an EKG/stress technician. I was always interested in the heart, in fact, I remember a school project involving a pig heart and making bypass grafts out of small conduit tubing from the local hardware shop. While working in the Cardiac Diagnostic Laboratory at Minneapolis Heart Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I was able to watch adult echocardiography and stress echocardiogarphy exams and it instantly peaked my interest. I applied to the Mayo Clinic Health Sciences School Echocardiography program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I feel I received the best training in the world and had amazing professors, physicians and clinical experiences. I was fortunate to stay with the Mayo Clinic system and took my first echocardiography position at Mayo Clinic Arizona as a clinical adult cardiac sonographer.
What is the name and type of facility/institution at which you work, and what is your current position?
I currently work for Aurora Health Care at the St. Luke’s Hospital location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Aurora Health Care is the largest health care provider/employer in the state of Wisconsin. My position within Aurora Health Care is as an Advanced Cardiac Sonographer and Echocardiography Education Program Director for the Aurora St. Luke’s School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. My tasks include teaching students didactic education and clinical scanning in the field of echocardiography. I also manage and administrate all aspects of the school, help educate our cardiology fellows and help with quality measures and best practices in cardiac ultrasound imaging for our system. I have been very fortunate to see my students succeed in this wonderful career. I love seeing the process unfold and guiding our ultrasound students into competent, critical thinking sonographers.
When and how did you get involved with the ASE?
I first got involved with ASE as a sonography student. I received the 2006 Alan D. Waggoner Student Scholarship Award and was able to attend my first Scientific Session conference that June in Baltimore, Maryland. I was able to witness the ASE efforts and I was hooked. I was then asked to speak at my first ASE sponsored meeting in 2008 and later at the Scientific Sessions in 2010.
Why do you volunteer for ASE?
I volunteer with ASE because it gives me the opportunity to interact with people across the country that share in my same passion. I volunteer to give back as a token to the education and knowledge that my professors and mentors have imparted on me. I volunteer to make our society and profession stronger.
What is your current role within ASE? In the past, on what other committees, councils or task forces have you served and what have you done with the local echo society?
My current role is as a representative on behalf of the American Society of Echocardiography to the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). As representative I sit as a Board of Directors member on the JRC-DMS and as a commissioner for CAAHEP. I also feel honored to serve on the ASE Education Committee and ASE Council on Cardiovascular Sonography Steering Committee. In the past, I have had the opportunity to participate in writing a review study guide for those interested in the Advanced Cardiac Sonography Exam.
What is your advice for members who want to become more involved in their profession or with the ASE?
I truly believe that ASE opens doors for an individual both professionally and personally. Get involved and become a voice for our profession. You will meet and share practices from across the nation. Connect@ASE is a great way to voice your knowledge and passion for our profession. Also, if you are involved with clinical education for inspiring cardiac sonograghers, please encourage them to join as a student member.
What is your vision for the future of cardiovascular sonography?
I believe the future of sonography is always changing and as sonographers our roles will continue to change. I also believe that as technology changes it will shape our daily activities. Three-dimensional, strain, vortex imaging is just the start in our quest to provide the best care for our patients. In the world of sonography education, I believe clinical experience is critical to ones knowledge and understanding of echocardiography. As we all know, the demand for cardiac sonographers is great and will continue to grow. If you have the opportunity to become involved in academic or clinical education, please jump at the chance and share your knowledge. I envision our next group of young sonographers will lead and challenge the next frontier of new technology in cardiac imaging.