The Yellow Legal Pad Adventure: Volunteering for ASE

Elizabeth F. McIlwain, MHS, RDCS, RCS, FASE, Chair, Council on Cardiovascular Sonography

It seems like yesterday I was attending my first ASE Scientific Sessions. I still remember being amazed with so much “echo stuff” in one place. Even though I had been working as a sonographer for almost 10 years, I still thought of myself as new to the field. Meeting and being able to ask questions of the very people who had written the “echo books” was awesome. Everyone I encountered was friendly and welcoming.

Two people I met that year forever impacted my view of ASE and helped shape my involvement in it. Peg Knoll just walked up, introduced herself, and began a conversation. She was genuinely interested in me and encouraged me to be involved in ASE. She has inspired me to make sure I look for new faces at each ASE event I attend, meet them, get to know them, and encourage them.

The other person was Judy Rosenbloom. During her presentation on grassroots advocacy, she asked anyone interested in helping to please provide their contact information on the yellow legal pad she had placed at the front of the room. I had no idea what putting my name on that legal pad would lead to, but I willingly and expectantly signed up. A few months later, Judy called, asking if I would work with her on a sonographer licensure task force. With that, my journey of volunteering for ASE had begun.

Through the years I have served on various committees and task forces: Local Society Relations, Advocacy, Education, Research, Awards, Sonography Council Board, and the Board of Directors. Each experience has been unique, educational, and rewarding. Volunteering for ASE has also provided me opportunities to attend leadership conferences, participate in meetings with other imaging organizations, meet with legislators on ASE–related issues, and opened doors to other opportunities I might have never experienced.

ASE has a dedicated and talented staff that keeps us moving forward. We truly could not accomplish all that we do without their tireless efforts. But ASE is also a volunteer-led organization. Our Executive Committee, board members, committee members, and task force members are all volunteers: physicians, sonographers, nurses, researchers, and students who love “all things echo” and give of their time and talents to further our cause. Without this volunteer network ASE would not be as effective as it is.

Most of the work of ASE is accomplished by the committees. They address issues relating to advocacy (if you have not read Dr. Byrd’s president’s messages in the August and September issues of JASE , you should), education, research and the future of our field. There are 17 standing committees and 4 councils, each with a specific function. A complete listing can be found on the Website at .

Each November, ASE issues a call for volunteers. I always sign up. I know you are thinking: “Sign up? She is already so active!” But without volunteers, ASE could not operate and the leadership does not assume someone wants to volunteer, so they ask members to sign up. They even ask us to identify areas in which we would be interested in serving. Signing up and letting ASE know about my interests has allowed me to participate in many areas and get to know more about my organization and my profession. It has also provided me with opportunities I never dreamed about and “echo friends” I would have never known.

To serve on a committee, you do not have to be from a major medical institution, have published articles or books, or have a wealth of experience. ASE needs volunteer representation from all aspects for our profession—academic facilities, large tertiary medical centers, community hospitals, private practice, education, and research. We need people with varying levels of experience from the “sages” of the field to those just beginning their career. Each of us brings something useful from our individual experiences that can be an integral part of committee work. Committee service requires:

  • An active membership (paid 2014 membership dues) to be considered for appointment.

  • FASE status is encouraged and preferred.

  • Only one application is needed per member; indicate the committee(s) on which you wish to serve.

  • Submission of a Conflict of Interest form at time of application.

  • Members employed full time by industry are not eligible to serve on ASE committees.

  • A letter of recommendation from a FASE level or senior person in the CV ultrasound field (if you have not previously served on an ASE committee or task force).

Volunteering and working on a committee is not for the lazy or the faint of heart. But then neither is echocardiography! For a committee to be effective its members must be active and productive. Committee members take on projects, research issues to provide accurate information, speak up (or respond to emails) to take part in discussions. It is extra work and extra time. It requires that you are willing to learn on the job, be tenacious, step up, speak up and participate. It can sometimes be arduous, but, it is always enlightening and rewarding.

I have never regretted volunteering, even on those days when I wondered where I would find the time or what I had gotten myself into. The good has always outweighed the bad and I am a better sonographer because of it. I hope this glimpse into my experience encourages you to become more active and volunteer. When I first started my journey with ASE it was because I put my name on a yellow legal pad. Today we use more modern means such as email, Website notices, and electronic sign-ups. Watch for information coming soon on and in the e-newsletter for information on volunteering. If you think you might have missed it check the Website ( ) in November, or contact Mary Alice Dilday, the staff liaison for the committee nomination `process, at .

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Jun 1, 2018 | Posted by in CARDIOLOGY | Comments Off on The Yellow Legal Pad Adventure: Volunteering for ASE

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