Several recent changes to the nomination and awards processes within the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) deserve mention. Firstly, the two processes have been separated and there are now two committees dealing with the Society’s annual nominations. A list of members of these committees is available on the ASE Website ( www.asecho.org ). Voting within the Nomination Committee is now done by secret ballot to preclude undue pressure from other members of the committee. Furthermore, both committees have representation from various councils within ASE. The chair of the nominating committee rotates each year and is usually the president from 2 years before.
Let me first address the positions on the Executive Committee or Board of Directors which are open to member nominations. Nominees must be Fellows of the American Society of Echocardiography (FASE). There are 25 voting members of the BOD who serve after being elected by the membership. Past presidents automatically become non-voting members of the BOD. Each BOD member has a three-year term, extendable by one term. Over the past several years very highly qualified individuals have been nominated to the BOD and some outstanding people could not be selected the first time around. The BOD is the main governing body of ASE to which the executive committee reports. Most BOD members have past experience working as volunteers for ASE through one or more of its committees.
The main criterion for selection to the executive committee is prior service provided to ASE. It doesn’t matter how prominent one is in the field of echocardiography; one is not likely to get selected to the executive committee unless there is a solid track record of service. Generally this includes membership on one or more committees or task forces, including chair of one or more standing committees. Other factors that influence selection include the ability to work as a team member, respect for one’s peers, and leadership qualities. Current members of the executive committee cannot nominate anyone to the committee.
There are seven members of the executive committee of which three are filled by the same person over four successive years: vice-president, president-elect, president, and immediate past president. The secretary serves a two year term. The member-at-large is the Sonographer Council chair, and is selected for one or more terms. The treasurer serves for three years; priority is placed on having previous experience as member of the finance committee.
The Awards Committee selects all the awardees except the Physician Lifetime Achievement Award, Meritorious Service Award (both selected by the president), the Feigenbaum Lectureship (selected by the Nominating Committee), the Sonographer Lifetime Achievement Award (selected by the Sonography Council), and the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Founders Award (selected by the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Council). The Physician Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a senior physician who has been a pioneer in the field of echocardiography and who has not served as president of ASE. The Sonographer Lifetime Achievement goes to a senior cardiovascular sonographer who has been a pioneer in the field of echocardiography. The Meritorious Service Award is given to an individual who has made exemplary contributions to ASE.
The selections by the Awards Committee include the Richard Popp Excellence in Teaching/Mentoring Award, given to a an ASE member who has demonstrated outstanding abilities in education; the Alan D. Waggoner Sonographer Student Scholarships; UltraEcho, Ltd. Student Travel Grant; Feigenbaum Student Travel Grant; Cardiac Sonographer Distinguished Teacher Award; and Award for Excellence in Teaching in Pediatrics. The criteria for all these awards can be accessed on the ASE Website.
The Weyman Young Investigator Award is selected by open competition at the Annual Scientific Sessions and showcases the science being performed by young researchers in the field of echo-cardiography. The councils also provide travel grants to attend the Scientific Sessions.
I write this page to urge all of you to become involved in ASE at different levels. Very few physicians in private practice are involved in our committees or at the BOD level. None has ever become president of ASE. This is in contradistinction to other cardiovascular societies, such as the American College of Cardiology or the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, where individuals in private practice have led the organization. Our private practice colleagues can provide viewpoints and expertise that many of us in academia do not possess and which will enrich and strengthen the society. We are all very busy in our professional lives; volunteerism need not be the purview of only those in academia.
I also want to reiterate that the selection processes within the Nomination Committees are fair. Our aim is to have a vital, dynamic society that represents all its constituents and that continues to thrive and be of value to its membership in both good and bad times. We want to evolve and change with the times and bring in new blood. Please become more involved and offer us your best. It is your society, after all!