Sonographer Volunteer of the Month December 2017- Tom Van Houten

By Natalya Read posted 12-01-2017 11:55


Tom_Van_Houten_Pic.jpgWhen and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

I kind of fell into the field of cardiovascular ultrasound in 2001. I had two close friends that were sonographers, one a vascular sonographer and the other cardiac. Their jobs piqued my interest and I enrolled in the Cardiovascular Technology program at Grossmont College in San Diego. I’ve worked in a number of different settings since but have been in an academic hospital setting for the last 12 years.

What is the name and type of facility/institution at which you work, and what is your current position?

I work at the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, the largest teaching hospital in central Ohio. Currently my position is research sonographer which includes a variety of roles. I coordinate and manage corelab projects, train sonographers on research protocols, and also scan patients enrolled in clinical trials here at the university.

When and how did you get involved with the ASE?

I became a member of ASE in 2009 shortly after starting at Ohio State. Education and technology were a priority in our lab and with the encouragement of some great physicians and fellow sonographers there I had the opportunity to speak the Scientific Sessions and become involved in the echo community.  

Why do you volunteer for ASE?

Many reasons, the first one being that it’s fun! I’m able to give back to the community that I’ve learned so much from and I also have the opportunity to learn from the professional connections that I’ve made. The most rewarding thing by far that has come from volunteering is the good friends that I’ve made along the way.

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?

For the past two years I’ve been on the advocacy committee and this year had the privilege of being on the Scientific Sessions planning committee. I’ve also been an abstract grader, but the most exciting opportunity I’ve had with the ASE was to take part in one of the outreach missions that went to India. Along with about a dozen other sonographers and physicians from the US we joined with a local team in India to screen hundreds of patients.

What is your advice for members who want to become more involved in their profession or with the ASE?

Speak up. There are a lot of ways to be involved and most of the time it just takes asking the right questions and talking to the right people. If you’re at a teaching hospital or an academic institution make use of the resources and the opportunities that are available. Learn from the physicians and sonographers that you work with. Take advantage of the new ASE mentoring program to make contacts and network. Attend meetings, if there’s a local echo society where you are - join. The Scientific Sessions each year are a great way to get more involved and see what opportunities are out there.