Growing up, the “big trip” each year was when my family piled into the station wagon and drove from New York to Florida to visit my grandparents. I remember the excitement of going someplace new and different and observing the change in culture (language, environment, weather, etc) as we drove south. It wasn’t until I graduated college that I had the opportunity to travel abroad. Given this upbringing, you can imagine how impressed I am with the international impact and reach of ASE. In my first six months as ASE President, I have already represented the ASE in Mexico, India, Korea, Malaysia, and Austria! I could not be prouder to see how ASE and its work is recognized the world over and how ASE has really become an international affair. In the next few paragraphs, I will share some interesting facts about our international activities that you may not have been aware of previously.
ASE is made up of medical and research professionals from more than 100 countries. Sixteen percent of ASE’s members practice echocardiography outside the United States. Some of our international members joined ASE while studying or doing research at US institutions and have made ASE their professional home. Others joined because they value expanding their opportunities for professional growth and networking. In addition, 190 of these members based outside the US, representing 42 countries, have earned the FASE designation.
Our annual Scientific Sessions continues to draw attendees and presenters from around the world. We traditionally have 20% of our attendees from outside the US, and 41% of the scientific abstract presentations coming from investigators working outside the United States. As one presenter at our meeting last year in Portland explained, “I was honored to have the chance to attend and present my research among outstanding physicians and researchers from not only around the country but around the world.” Bringing the global scientific community together at ASE nurtures universal ties and sparks new ideas and research questions, fostering future collaborative work. In addition to international representation in research, we are proud to feature joint sessions with the European and Japanese societies and present speakers from all parts of the world.
There are teams of physicians around the world who have been translating ASE’s guideline documents and posters for use by their colleagues ( www.asecho.org/translations ). The “Recommendations for Cardiac Chamber Quantification by Echocardiography in Adults” document published in this issue has already been translated to Spanish and Portuguese for use by the medical communities in South and Central America and beyond. Translations of this important document in other languages will follow. We recently released Spanish guideline webinars conducted by two of our Spanish-speaking leaders—Dr. Roberto Lang (3D) and Dr. Federico Asch (Comprehensive TEE). Both physicians originate from Argentina and were honored to make this information available for the Spanish-speaking communities. A Spanish webinar on cardio-oncology by Dr. Juan Carlos Plana, an ASE Board member who originates from Colombia, is being prepared as this article is being written. The links to these webinars can be found at www.asecho.org , but also on the websites for echo societies throughout South America.
In December we hosted an ASE member reception during EuroEcho in Vienna. The majority of the ASE executive team was in attendance, and it was a privilege to have this opportunity to become better acquainted with ASE members from all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East, and India. This event, in its fourth year, offers face-to-face networking time with our members which is invaluable to understanding and appreciating the global perspectives of our constituency.
In 2014, ASE’s Chief Standards Officer Rhonda Price spent several months in South America. While continuing her work with the guideline writing groups during this time, she was also able to use this opportunity to represent ASE at echo/cardiology meetings, reach out to ASE members, and explore potential collaborations in South America. Among the members she visited was Dr. Roberto Canessa, a pediatric cardiologist from Montevideo, Uruguay. Dr. Canessa has led an extraordinary life and was a hero in the famous 1972 Andes plane crash that was documented in the best seller Alive by Piers Paul Reed and the 2008 award-winning documentary “Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains.” He was awarded his country’s National Prize in Medicine in 1986 and twice has been awarded the Great National Prize in Medicine, in 1991 and 1999. He is recognized worldwide for his role in the 1972 Andes event and is in demand as a motivational speaker, having spoken at MIT, Harvard, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Royal College of Surgeons in England, and the American Heart Association. In 1994, Dr. Canessa was a candidate for the office of President in Uruguay. It is our privilege to add Honorary FASE to his already lengthy CV. (Go to www.issuu.com/ase_echo to read the story Rhonda wrote, which was published in our member news magazine, The Echo .)
Dr. Canessa is a frequent attendee of ASE’s Scientific Sessions. This year we’re excited that he has agreed to be a speaker in a session at our 26 th meeting in Boston (June 13–16, 2015) on “Inspiring Health Care in Developing Countries,” sharing his amazing experiences on the mountain and how those experiences guide his current practice. Dr. Canessa’s talks are moving and heartfelt. I encourage you to make plans to attend this inspiring session in Boston.
As the world continues to flatten through improved technology and increasingly accessible international travel, the opportunities abound for us to come together to improve patient care worldwide. These are exciting times to be part of the global echo community and I feel extraordinarily privileged to have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with colleagues worldwide.