Starting a Local Echo Society
If you are interested in starting a local echocardiography society in your area, or if you have recently created one but still need guidance on its development, you will find this section helpful. You will find examples of how local societies organize their groups, leaders, and meetings; a Questions and Answers section; and a resource of local echo contacts who are willing to give advice.
Examples of Local Echocardiography Society Organizational Structure
The ASE thanks the Michigan Society of Echocardiography for sharing their society’s template.
Non profit corporation – 501(c)(6)
To provide a format for those involved in the practice of cardiovascular sonography where matters of education, employment, legislation, and quality can be discussed in a collegial manner
Sonographers and physicians from Michigan, Ohio, and Canada
Volunteer physicians and sonographers
President, President Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, Newsletter Editor
Board of Directors
Eight (8) including one cardiology fellow (technicians and physicians)
a 2 years
Officers are nominated by the Board and elected by the members of the society. Officers select board members.
Membership – Quarterly (including the annual “Echo in the Slopes,” a weekend symposium in northern Michigan)
Board – Biannually
Location – rotates geographically (usually hospital auditoriums)
1. Vendor’s display; hors d’oeuvres
2. President/Treasurer’s report
3. Member concerns
4. Interesting cases
5. Guest speaker(s) or “Stump the Stars”
Published quarterly prior to each meeting
Annual member dues:
Physicians – $40
Fellow/Sonographer – $20
Donations from industry (speaker sponsorships and food)
Local format – 2 per year (panel of physicians and sonographers or physician speakers)
External guests – 2 per year
David Forst, MD, FASE – dForst@Beaumont.ed
Q:Who will help you?
A:It is recommended that you acquire the help of a physician and a sonographer to start a local society. Starting and maintaining a local society will require a lot of work, so make sure you and those who will help you are willing to be dedicated to this endeavor.
Q: Where will your society meet?
A: Find a convenient location for your local society to meet. You may need to alternate among a few sites. Keep in mind any members who may have to travel a long distance. You will also want to make sure that the locations of your meetings have usable AV equipment, an area for meals, and an area for vendors to display their materials and equipment (if your society will allow that). Local societies have been known to meet in hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. If your society cannot find a location free of charge, then make sure to include this cost in your budget.
Q: How often will your society meet?
A: There is not a particular number of times your society must hold meetings. A suggested number, however, is four times per year. Once your society is up and running, your Board of Directors can decide what number of meetings best meets the needs of the local society’s members.
Q: What kind of programs will your society offer?
A: Local society meetings promote opportunities for education, professional development, networking, and access to clinical and technical leaders. Popular meeting topics include clinical and technological advances, quality assurance, national and local payment policy, and legislative activities. These forums also allow the local echocardiography community to interact, share information, and learn from each other’s experiences. It will be helpful to your attendees if you decide on a program format so they can plan accordingly. Some local societies hold a brief business meeting to discuss issues and to make announcements. The business portion of the meeting may be followed by presentations of cases or a featured speaker.
Q: Will your programs offer CEU’s?
A: The American Society of Echocardiography has a process in place for local echocardiography societies to offer CEU credit to sonographer attendees. Local echo societies can be approved to offer up to 12 ASE CEU credits to its attendees per year for a cost of $300. For more information on this program, please contact ASE’s Local Society Coordinator, Cheryl Williams, at email@example.com or 919-861-5574.
Q: Will your society have local vendors who can offset costs?
A: Many local societies collaborate with vendors to sponsor all or some part of their meetings. Ongoing industry-supported educational activities are beneficial to both attendees and vendors. Sponsorship permits timely and diverse programming for attendees. In addition, vendors receive increased exposure and name recognition to a highly targeted audience. Vendors who provide these opportunities include ultrasound equipment manufacturers, local ultrasound equipment distributors, software companies, pharmaceutical companies, suppliers, publishers, and related medical device manufacturers. It is probably a good idea to contact vendors early in their fiscal year and to send out a letter to all representatives announcing the formation of your local society and asking for their support.
Q: How much will your society charge for member dues?
A: Membership dues help pay for mailings, meals, rentals, speaker honorariums, etc., so it will be important to estimate your local society’s costs before you decide on the price of dues. If your society will be receiving support from vendors, this will help offset the costs of member dues. Some local societies do not charge dues.
Q: What rules shall your society abide by?
A: Bylaws are important for your society to function. Some of the subjects to address in your bylaws can be the following: name, location, objectives, membership, dues, voting, officers, board of directors, elections, finance, dissolution, and amendments.
Q: Does the ASE know about your society?
The American Society of Echocardiography encourages you to contact its headquarters with your local society’s contact information, updates, and meeting information. Please contact Cheryl Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 861-5574. Once the ASE gets your local society’s information, it will be posted on the ASE’s website.
The following local echocardiography societies have volunteered to be resources of advice for new societies:
New Orleans Society of Echo
Elizabeth McIlwain, RDCS, FASE