The Spirit of Collaboration – A Tribute to Carmine M. Valente, PhD, CAE

Are you aware of the depth and breadth of engagement activities at the AIUM? Most likely, our flagship enterprises, such as the JUM and the convention, as well as the 18 (and growing!) communities immediately come to mind. And for almost 20 years, AIUM CEO Carmine M. Valente, PhD, CAE, has been at the heart of it all. As we close out 2016, we say goodbye to a leader, a catalyst, and a friend. While Carmine has set his focus on new adventures in retirement, it’s interesting to note how much the AIUM has grown during his tenure.

Back in 1997, the AIUM had 8 communities, known in those days as sections. There were 2 types of practice accreditation – OB/GYN and abdominal/gecarmneral. There are now 12. The EER, in its infancy, had $47,000 in its coffers. Over time, 8 practice guidelines have grown to 31 practice parameters; training guidelines have expanded from 1 to 12; and the number of societies that have worked with us to develop these tools has expanded exponentially.

This growth is a result of a theme Carmine has instilled throughout his tenure—collaboration. Carmine is often heard declaring “It makes no sense for the AIUM to develop [fill in the blank] without looking outward. The more stakeholders at the table, the stronger the result.” The imaging community recognized this as early as 2007, when RT Image recognized Carmine as one of radiology’s 25 most influential movers and shakers. “Dr. Valente has been a key element in facilitating and coordinating these and other important activities that continue to grow both the AIUM and interest in the ultrasound arena.”

Over time, Carmine has partnered with 10 of AIUM’s 31 presidents, enabling them to achieve their goals and further the AIUM mission. In the last 12 years, the AIUM has hosted 9 forums on a variety of topics with dozens of participant organizations at each; and all within the framework of collaboration: Compact Ultrasound (2004); Training/Exam Guidelines and Scope of Practice (2006/2008); Patient Safety and Quality: The Role of Ultrasound (2007); Point-of-Care Use of Ultrasound (2010); Ultrasound First & Beyond Ultrasound First: Quality Imaging (2012 & 2016); and Ultrasound in Medical Education (2014 & 2015).

In October 2016, the AIUM’s Board of Governors established the Carmine M. Valente, PhD, CAE Distinguished Service Award to memorialize and recognize significant contributions to the AIUM and the ultrasound community as a whole by furthering the multidisciplinary nature and collaborative efforts of the organization. Its first presentation will occur at the 2017 AIUM Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida.

For those who visit the AIUM Headquarters, you will see that the AIUM’s primary conference area has been dedicated as an enduring reminder of Carmine’s Spirit of Collaboration. This space will serve as a center for informing, educating, inspiring, and entertaining, and instill a growing sense of belief and pride in our ability to advance the safe and effective use of ultrasound in medicine.

Today, it is endemic of the AIUM’s culture to ask “Who else should be at the table?” whenever a project is discussed. And for that, we thank you, Carmine.

The spirit of collaboration is, in Carmine’s immortalized words, “to be continued…”

Do you have a memory, thought, or story to share about Carmine? Comment below and on Twitter: @AIUM_Ultrasound.

Glynis V. Harvey, CAE, is the AIUM’s Chief Executive Officer Designate & Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

How I Became Involved in Dermatologic Ultrasound

There are certain moments in time when your gut tells you that your life is about to change. It happened to me in 1999.

I was on a training visit to the Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Section of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit when Dr WortsmanI saw a “hockey stick” probe. Instinctively, I decided to use it on my fingernails. The images I saw on the screen were so fantastic that I ran to the library to see if there were any papers or publications that focused on ultrasound of the nail.

Surprisingly, I discovered a few Italian and Danish dermatologists who were working with smaller types of high frequency ultrasound devices on experimental settings. Wanting to learn more, I wrote to them. I was thrilled when Professor Gregor Jemec responded and agreed to collaborate.

However, getting an ultrasound machine for a dermatology project proved to be more difficult. It took almost 2 years before an ultrasound machine was installed and available for me to use while I was at the Department of Dermatology at Bispejerg Hospital in Copenhagen.

After securing the machine, I had the opportunity to scan dermatologic patients on a daily basis and I realized the great potential this imaging modality had within dermatology.

Once I returned to Chile, I really got to work. I studied the sonographic patterns, began to correlate the ultrasound images with the clinical and histologic findings, and started to publish the results.

That also proved difficult at first because radiology journals felt the content was better suited for dermatology journals and dermatology journals recommended radiology journals since the content involved imaging. Probably these journals had a difficult time even finding someone to review this material.

It was during this rough beginning that I reached out to my uncle Jacobo. I was telling him how difficult publishing could be and he simply reiterated President Truman’s famous quote, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

That just made me more committed. I created an educational website and continued to practice, learn, research, and write. In 2010, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published our paper that analyzed more than 4,000 dermatologic ultrasound cases with histologic correlation. In 2013, our book Dermatologic Ultrasound with Clinical and Histologic Correlations was published.

Since that time, a lot has changed. I used to hear radiologists and dermatologists comment that they had never heard of dermatologic ultrasound. Now, the use of ultrasound in dermatology is expanding rapidly with colleagues from around the world using this tool to diagnose common dermatologic conditions earlier and more precisely.

For me, the dermatologic ultrasound journey mirrored my family’s immigration journey. We both left something familiar and ended up in a distant land. While the journey has not been easy, the results have been more than worthwhile.

But our work continues. Now, one of our challenges is how to share what we have learned to inspire and train a new generation of dermatologic ultrasound professionals. As a specialty, we are excited by AIUM’s support through the development of a dermatologic ultrasound interest group. Here we will share information, research, and resources. Please join us!

Why did you becoming interested in ultrasound? Have you participated in your AIUM Community? What struggles have you overcome in your career? Comment below or let us know on Twitter: @AIUM_Ultrasound.

Ximena Wortsman, MD, Radiologist, Chair of Dermatologic Ultrasound AIUM Interest Group, Senior Member of AIUM, Department of Radiology and Department of Dermatology, Institute for Diagnostic Imaging and Research of the Skin and Soft Tissues, Clinica Servet, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.