ASE’s Support of the Sonographers: A Historical Perspective

This month’s column highlights a few of the key efforts made by the ASE on behalf of its sonographer members. The information was derived from meeting minutes the Sonographer Training and Education Committee, the Sonographer Council Board, and the Legislative and Regulatory (now called the Advocacy) Committee. Not all work efforts are noted below; I apologize for missing something of importance. Enjoy!

1975-1985: For the first ten years, the Society concentrated on developing standard nomenclature for the fledgling field of cardiac ultrasound. Reports describing recommended procedures for obtaining optimal views of the heart were written by Society committees and published both in various medical journals and as stand-alone documents. Membership meetings were held at the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and the Society published a quarterly newsletter.

1985: The Sonographer Training and Educational Committee discussed incorporating Doppler into the educational outline for echocardiography.

1986: There were 5 sonographer credentialing organizations offering 26 different credentials.

1987: The Essentials and Guidelines of an Accredited Educational Program for the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer , initially adopted in 1979, was revised and endorsed by the ACC, ACR, AIUM, AMA, ASE, ASRT, and SDMS.

1988: The Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (JASE) was started as a bi-monthly publication.

1989: Training and Educational Committee began work on the Education and Training of the Cardiac Sonographer, which would include intraoperative, transesophageal, Doppler, and quality control.

1990: The Sonographer Council was started.

1993: The Sonographer Council recommended that sonographer(s) be added to the Executive Board, and discussed formulating an ad hoc legislative task force for sonographers.

1995: The Council recommended reduced rates for sonographers in training, then targeted schools for membership drives.


  • The Legislative and Regulatory Committee discussed a federal bill introduced by Representative Schroeder that dealt with accreditation of laboratories performing fetal ultrasound.

  • ASE chose to use the ICAVL model to develop the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL), with sponsorship from the ACC and the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography (SOPE).

  • In direct reference to ICAVL accreditation standards, 8 states require a professional level credential for sonographers performing vascular studies.

1997: The ICAEL was created and standards for adult echo, TEE, and stress echo were approved and tested in pilot labs prior to accepting applications at year end.

1998: JASE began monthly publication.

1999: House Resolution 3075, which requires the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to study the quality of ultrasound procedures performed by credentialed vs non-credentialed sonographers, passed.


  • Credentialing and lab accreditation as important to quality.

  • The Sonographer Council recommended the creation of a Cardiac Sonographer Distinguished Teacher Award.


  • The Alan D. Waggoner Sonographer Student Scholarship program was established in recognition of Mr. Waggoner’s professional achievements and service to ASE.

  • Guidelines for Cardiac Sonographer Education: Recommendations for the American Society of Echocardiography Sonographer Training and Education Committee ” were rewritten and published in the January 2001 issue of JASE .

  • Sonographer criteria for Fellows of the ASE (FASE) was discussed by the Sonographer Council.


  • ASE develops criteria and offers a sonographer research grant in the amount of $25,000.

  • A task force was created to make recommendations to the Board about ASE’s position on sonographer licensure.

  • Sonographer FASE criteria was approved by the BOD and made available to members.


  • ASE developed the ASE Foundation, to which tax deductible donations can be made to support education and research.

  • The first ASE Educators’ Summit was held at the Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

  • The Public Relations Committee presented a historical timeline celebrating 50 Years of Echocardiography at the Scientific Sessions.


  • Council Chair Sandy Witt began to publish the Yellow Page communication in JASE .

  • The Sonographer Training and Education Committee became Live Programs Committee—Sonographer Working Group.

  • The Sonographer Council discussed the need for ASE CEU credits for sonographer programs.

2005: The Council supported the design and publication of a medical ultrasound awareness poster for display in echo labs and distribution through JASE.


  • Echo Toolbox™ was proposed to assist echo labs in meeting the minimum standards for quality through accreditation.

  • A proposal for the Advanced Practice Sonography Taskforce was written by Carol Mitchell and approved by the ASE Board.

  • The IV Insertion Task Force was created to develop a didactic manual for IV insertion.


  • A Leadership Task Force was developed to encourage a broader range of sonographer members to volunteer on committees.

  • El Centro College in Dallas Texas was awarded the Sonographer Program Grant ($50,000) for the development of a pediatric echocardiography educational program.


  • The ASE Foundation announced a travel grant funded by UltraEcho, Ltd. for students enrolled in cardiac ultrasound programs.

  • The Feigenbaum Cardiovascular Sonographer Student Travel Grant was created through a grant from Elsevier Inc. to honor Dr. Harvey Feigenbaum’s tenure as Founding Editor of JASE


  • An Intraoperative Sonographer Task Force was created to define responsibilities for sonographers practicing in the OR.

  • The Sonography Council Rules of Governance were reviewed, approved, and posted on ASE’s sonographer Website page.

  • Results of the Sonographer Salary Survey were posted on the ASE Website.

  • An ASE Sonographer Registry Review Course was developed and held at the Scientific Sessions in Washington DC.

  • The ASE Governance Task Force recommended adding an additional sonographer to the Executive Committee.


  • An article on the advanced practice sonographer profession was published in JASE.

  • The ASE Awards Committee recommended that ASE offer an additional award to honor a sonographer who is a luminary in the field of cardiovascular ultrasound, with different criteria that that for the Distinguished Sonographer Teaching Award.

  • The ASE Foundation hosted a sold-out Gala at the Scientific Sessions to honor the recipients of the ASE Awards and to benefit the Foundation’s grant programs.

  • The ASE Board of Directors added a member at large position to the Executive Committee, to be held by a sonographer.

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Jun 16, 2018 | Posted by in CARDIOLOGY | Comments Off on ASE’s Support of the Sonographers: A Historical Perspective

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