When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?
It was a very humble beginning.I was fortunate to take private ultrasound lessons from a very skilled sonographer way back in 1984. There were no formal educational programs for ultrasound back then, only Radiology Technology. That was the path I took. In those early years, at least in our area, if you were a sonographer you were expected to perform all modalities, including vascular and echocardiography. I totally fell in love with Echo even though the images were fuzzy! In the early 1990’s I worked for our regional Children’s Hospital for ten years. It was those formative years, which drew me to pediatric and fetal echocardiography. I had the opportunity to start a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program in 2001. I continue to teach the DMS program, including the General, Adult and Pediatric Echo, and Vascular Tracks and now the Advanced Cardiac Sonography program.
What is the name and type of facility/institution at which you work, and what is your current position?
I currently work at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, CA. CRMC is the largest Regional Medical Center in central CA and is affiliated with the UC- San Francisco Medical School. I am the Technical Director of the Pediatric and Fetal Echo Lab. Additionally, I serve as the Program Director/Instructor of the hospital based DMS and ACS Program. I am very fortunate to work with a great Administrative team, Medical Directors, Clinical coordinator, superb sonographers, and students.
When and how did you get involved with the ASE?
I have been a member of ASE for many years. When I served on the board and ultimately President of the SDMS we had many collaborative projects including, but not limited to, the National Educational curriculum, Scope of Practice, DOL classification, and other vital task forces that has helped promote and support sonography/sonographers. More recently, my main role with ASE is aligned with the promotion of the Advanced Cardiac Sonographer.
Why do you volunteer for ASE?
I still sit in awe of many of my ASE colleagues. It is a pleasure and honor to work alongside such ardent professionals who have absolutely perfected the art and science of Echocardiography practice and instruction. The Scientific Sessions and vast Educational opportunities afforded by ASE are outstanding. I believe the ASE fosters collaboration between physicians, sonographers and vendors and also provides great outreach to those countries less fortunate than ours. For all of those reasons, it is my privilege to contribute to the best of my ability.
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 role with ASE has ramped up within the past three years. I currently serve as a representative on the Advanced Cardiac Sonography CoA Board. I recently was a co-contributor to the ASE educational product - Advanced Cardiac Sonographer Registry Review guide. When the ACS credential was established and CAAHEP adopted standards and guidelines for the Advanced Cardiovascular sonographer, I felt this was the best way for me to contribute. I went to our administration and to Dr. Teresa Daniele (Medical Director of ACS Program) with the vision of starting an ACS Program. We modeled the curriculum off of the Standards and Guidelines, started the program in January of 2016, successfully obtained CAAHEP accreditation and graduated the first class in July of 2017. The second ACS cohort will start this month. Merri Bremer, EdD., ACS, RN, RDCS, FASE from Mayo Clinic has also started an accredited ACS Program. My focus now is providing support and tools to help other institutions start Advanced Cardiac Sonography or other Advanced Sonography Programs.
What is your advice for members who want to become more involved in their profession or with the ASE?
“If you can’t give back…you can’t move forward”. Being willing to share your expertise is welcomed. All you have to do is be willing to jump in and help. Starting with a committee or task force seems to be the best way to become involved.
What is your vision for the future of cardiovascular sonography?
My vision is for Advanced Cardiac Sonography and Advanced Vascular Sonography programs to become readily available and provide a formal educational pathway for practicing sonographers to progress in their career. I truly feel that in ten years there will be a demand for an Advanced Cardiac or Advanced Vascular Sonographer to facilitate and maintain Lab Quality and accreditation, provide expert technical oversight, assist in research, and provide clinical assistance to the physicians in every busy Cardiovascular laboratory.