I have only missed one ASE Scientific Session in the last 20 years and I hope you won’t miss this one! The ASE’s Scientific Sessions is the premier event for bringing together cardiovascular ultrasound enthusiasts from over 45 countries for amazing networking and learning opportunities. Unlike the very large professional meetings, this one is just the right size. There are plenty of tracks and activities to keep you interested and satisfy every interest and practice level, but it is also impossible to walk around the convention center and not run into friends, old colleagues, and the leadership of the society. It is important to me that the ASE is a society where it is easy to walk up to the President-Elect, Allan Klein (who will take over as President immediately following the end of this year’s session in June), and ask a question or make a suggestion. Immediately after this past year’s business session, I was stopped by several people with the strong advice that we should go back to Las Vegas!! And that was the one meeting I missed. We had been scheduled to go to Toronto in 2003 when restrictions were imposed on travel to Canada because of a SARS outbreak. Pam Douglas was President at the time and Linda Gillam was the Scientific Sessions Chair. With just three weeks’ notice, the venue was switched to Las Vegas, and we still had a very successful meeting. At that time, the NBE exam was given at the end of the Scientific Sessions meeting. The exam was also changed in location. I stayed back home in Philadelphia to cover the lab while everyone else went to take the exam. I still have the Star Trek mug the other doctors gave me as a thank you present and souvenir from their trip.
This year, Seattle, WA will be the place to be for gathering and learning. There are a variety of ways to improve your professional network including two receptions and opportunities for you to individually interact with leaders in the field of echocardiography. The Scientific Sessions Chair, Dr. Richard Grimm, the Sonographer Chair, Debbie Agler RCT, RDCS, and the entire Program Committee have created an educational experience full of creative learning opportunities including a live video feed of intraoperative procedures from the University of Washington. The two sessions scheduled for Monday morning and afternoon include live learning opportunities on the MitraClip and Structural Heart Occluder Procedures. This track is sure to be a draw and highlight recent interventional advances.
The program is divided into tracks to help guide you to the subject matter of your preference. Each morning will start with a 7:00 am “Case-Based Learning” session which features important teaching points that you can apply to practice. The Council on Perioperative Echocardiography has designed sessions to highlight the use of echo in management of assist devices, HOCM, and Valve Repair. The Council on Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease has reprised its popular echo/surg/path correlations on Saturday and has increased the amount of pediatric and adult overlap to leverage their expertise. The Council on Vascular Ultrasound’s track features a hands-on “Vascular Learning Lab” on Friday afternoon. The Council on Cardiovascular Sonography has put together an extensive “Imaging Essentials” track full of practical information to bring back to your lab.
We are especially proud of our unique Chalk Talks in the Exhibit & Poster Hall. These small focused sessions feature luminary faculty who will be available to help you with your clinical conundrums or any other questions you may have on valvular heart disease, diastology and pericardial disease, contrast, and pediatrics. These intimate chalk talks are your opportunity to get direct answers from ASE’s expert educators.
This year we will have more than the Young Investigators’ Competition when we present our inaugural Echovation Challenge competition to foster and showcase novel approaches, technologies, and processes in echocardiography. The 2016 Challenge will focus specifically on workflow efficiency improvements in cardiovascular ultrasound. In addition to a cash prize and a free 2017 membership, the winners of this challenge will receive tremendous exposure. If you have a great idea and are interested in participating in this competition, please visit https://herox.com/Echovation2016 .
ASE is also excited to be back on the West Coast. Seattle is two cities in one. It’s a world-class metropolis set within wild, beautiful natural surroundings, offering the best of urban lifestyle while embracing the rugged outdoors. Many of Seattle’s top visitor attractions are within mere blocks of the Washington State Convention Center, including the Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Symphony, ferries, world-class restaurants, and a historic theatre district. Bring an empty suitcase to take home souvenirs for your coverage! My future daughter-in-law thinks I have a serious problem with used books and while I admit that I don’t exactly need any more books, there are some amazing used book stores in Pike Place Market and around the city. For the outdoor lovers, three national parks lie within a two-hour drive of Seattle, and the city is a gateway to the San Juan Islands, Olympic Peninsula, Washington Wine Country, and British Columbia. We are looking forward to seeing you there.
Susan E. Wiegers, MD, FASE, FACC is Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and a Professor of Medicine at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University