President's Letter: "Contagious Enthusiasm" for Ultrasound in Medical Education
June 26, 2014
Ultrasound is well known to most of us as a valuable clinical tool with tremendous diagnostic capability. More recently, point-of-care ultrasound has become part of everyday care in a variety of specialties and moved ultrasound from "laboratory test" to the realm of the physical exam. Even more recently, ultrasound is being introduced into undergraduate medical education from day one to teach anatomy, physiology, and pathology. With this background, undergraduate medical students can use ultrasound to bridge the basic sciences to clinical medicine.

Ever since hearing Dean Dick Hoppmann's stirring keynote lecture at our annual meeting in Phoenix in 2012, I have decided that one of my main presidential initiatives would be helping advance this incorporation of ultrasound into undergraduate medical education. So earlier this month, in conjunction with the Society of Ultrasound in Medical Education (SUSME) and with financial support in the form of unrestricted educational grants from Philips Ultrasound and our own Endowment for Education and Research, the AIUM hosted our first Forum on Ultrasound in Medical Education: A Road Map for Integration of Ultrasound in Medical Education.

It took place on June 1-2, 2014, in New York and brought together medical school curriculum decision makers, including deans, associate deans, curriculum developers, anatomists, and physiologists. Presentations focused on the benefits of integrating ultrasound into medical school curricula and the resources available to begin the integration process. A growing number of medical schools have successfully incorporated ultrasound into their curricula, and presenters from such programs shared their insights with attendees.

The attendance surpassed my wildest expectations. Forty-two schools sent representatives with a total of 63 attendees; 76% of the schools indicated they had some level of ultrasound in their curricula, although the penetration was quite variable. We had (in addition to myself) 13 faculty members, and I want to highlight the depth and breadth of who they were, for these presenters are the innovators and inspiration for this movement, which is revolutionizing the way medicine is taught:
  • Richard Hoppmann, MD, dean emeritus, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; founder and past president, SUSME

  • Alfred Z. Abuhamad, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics, Eastern Virginia Medical School; immediate past president, AIUM

  • David P. Bahner, MD, RDMS, professor and director of ultrasound, The Ohio State University

  • Michael Blaivas, MD, professor of medicine, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; president, SUSME; third vice president, AIUM

  • Chanel Fischetti, medical student, class of 2015, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine

  • J. Christian Fox, MD, professor of clinical emergency medicine and assistant dean of student affairs, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine

  • Craig W. Goodmurphy, PhD, associate professor of anatomy and pathology, Ultrasound Curriculum Committee, Eastern Virginia Medical School

  • Shannon B. Kim, MD, medical student, class of 2013, Eastern Virginia Medical School

  • Barry J. Knapp, MD, residency program director, Eastern Virginia Medical School

  • Duncan Norton, MD, medical student, class of 2014, University of South Carolina School of Medicine

  • John S. Pellerito, MD, associate professor of radiology, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

  • Zachary P. Soucy, DO, assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Davis School of Medicine

The forum had a wide and diverse range of topics, including:
  • Medical Education: Ultrasonography as a Basic Clinical Competency

  • Road Map to Getting Started

  • General Concepts in Developing Ultrasound Curricula

  • How Does Radiology Fit In?

  • Challenges and Pitfalls: How to Overcome Barriers to Implementation

  • Ultrasound as a Learning Tool: the Student Perspective

  • How Ultrasound Changes Anatomy Education

  • Hands-on Stations and Simulators-Scanning Areas: Cardiac, Thyroid, Musculoskeletal, and Vascular (Carotid)

  • Round Table Discussions: Questions, Challenges/Impediments, and Role of AIUM/SUSME in Assisting Medical Schools

The day started with me using video clips to show how pelvic organ anatomy is dynamic during the menstrual cycle and changes under the influence of ovarian hormones—as a 21st-century way to teach first-year students about anatomy and physiology of the menstrual cycle. The day ended with an expert panel reviewing the concerns that various attendees voiced during the round table discussions.

The attendees' enthusiasm was palpable and contagious. In the words of one attendee, "Thank you so much for gathering the leaders in the field together for such a meaningful forum. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the leaders in the field of medical student ultrasound education. I really appreciated hearing different perspectives on how to launch something of this nature and what is possible when all of the relevant parties are aligned."

For those of you who could not attend or did not have schools represented, let me list below valuable AIUM-developed resources and their Web links:

Although this was our first forum on ultrasound in medical education, we expect to hold a similar forum next year on the West Coast. I hope to see your medical school represented at the 2015 forum. As always, I welcome your feedback, comments, and suggestions, so please feel free to reach out to me. I am proud that the AIUM, partnering with SUSME, is taking a leading role in this very important endeavor. Ultrasound in medical education will someday be the standard. All that remains is what will be the "slope" of its bell-shaped acceptance. As president of the AIUM, I am committed to making the slope of that bell steeper and sooner.


Steven R. Goldstein, MD

© American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine | 14750 Sweitzer Lane, Suite 100 · Laurel, MD 20707 | Phone: 301-498-4100