When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?
Prior to attending the Diagnostic Sonography Program at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I job shadowed at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL. I was able to watch pediatric cardiac MRIs being performed. It was at that time that my fascination with the heart and all of its moving parts began.
What is the name and type of facility/institution at which you work, and what is your current position?
I work at the University of Chicago Medical Center, it is one of the largest academic centers in Illinois. My current position at UCMC is Advanced Cardiac Sonographer. The role I have at my institution encompasses scanning clinically, education and research. At the University, I am involved in training cardiology fellow, new employees and other physicians for point-of-care ultrasound. We are involved in many clinical trials, often including multi-modality imaging (2D and 3D echo with CT or cardiac MRI).
When and how did you get involved with the ASE?
When I was a student, our program director recommended us to join the ASE to serve as a valuable education resource. I started to take a more active role within ASE when I began working at the University of Chicago Medical Center by first attending the ASE Scientific Sessions and other ASE sponsored conferences. Eventually, I started to gather research ideas from attending the conferences and submitted research abstracts for poster and case presentations at the Scientific Sessions. It was a great opportunity to show off the hard work I was able to do with the help of my colleagues.
In addition to the education benefits gained during these conferences, I was able to meet a lot of great people that enjoyed echocardiography. Fortunately, many individuals that have been heavily involved with the ASE for a while are excited to get new members on board.
Why do you volunteer for ASE?
I volunteer for the ASE because I want to make sure the ASE receives the support it needs for the future. There is no other organization that supports sonographers like ASE. Whether you are a student filtering through journal articles for a research paper or an administrator reviewing the newest reimbursement information, ASE provides you with a wealth of information.
ASE also provides members with the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world to help better educate and serve those patients in need. This past August, I was able to travel to Merida, Yucatan to scan patients in remote regions of the Yucatan peninsula that tested seropositive for Chagas disease. It was a great experience to provide care to patients that would otherwise not have access to such great healthcare.
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?
I currently serve on the ASE Advocacy committee. It is a large group of people dealing with the many issues we deal with on a daily basis within our labs including reimbursement to even as patients ourselves and the coverage we receive.
I also serve as the ASE representative to the Joint Review Committee-Cardiovascular Technology (JRC-CVT). This role allows me to ensure that students going through cardiovascular technology programs are receiving the appropriate education needed in order to have a successful career within sonography.
Recently, I was selected to be a member of the inaugural class of the ASE Leadership Academy. This academy focuses on helping develop leaders within the ASE. It provides academy members with both didactic coursework and group webinars needed to grow into future leaders.
What is your advice for members who want to become more involved in their profession or with the ASE?
The best advice I can give to any member looking to become involved is to ASK TO BE INVOLVED!! When I first attended ASE sponsored conferences, I was surprised with just how eager active members were to get others involved. I believe the ASE really fosters an inclusive environment with many individuals always looking to add a diverse group of people.
What is your vision for the future of cardiovascular sonography?
The future of cardiovascular sonography is in for a wild ride, we will really cover the gamut of echocardiography!! On one hand, we have point of care ultrasound (POCUS) used by medical staff for goal directed management. On the other hand, we have advanced imaging allowing us to use augmented and/or virtual reality to really dissect images for a better understanding of cardiac anatomy. In any case, the future of cardiovascular sonography will require a continual commitment to learning and education.