Diagnostic Medical Sonography Advisory Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2022, 11 a.m.

Meeting Place



Leigh Giles-Brown, LLCC DMS Program Director


Members in attendance

David Overlot, DMH; Sarah Minott, DMH; Joanne VanLeer, HSHS St. John’s/St. Francis; Kurt Brauer, SMH; Marjorie King, SMH; Tiffany Whitaker, SMH; Anna Lawyer (Jr. Student Rep); Leigh Giles-Brown, LLCC; Micaela Childress, LLCC; Vern Lindquist, LLCC; Cynthia Maskey, LLCC; Ann Neilson, LLCC; Rochelle Holck, Springfield Clinic and Tracey Benn-Cockayne, MHS

Members absent

Ronald Hidalgo (Medical Director), Springfield Clinic; Trinity Flowers, HAH; Iyerusalem Dollar (Sr. Student Rep), LLCC; Kelsey Freeland (Jr. Student Rep), LLCC; Karen Sanders, LLCC; Sandy Hendricks (Public Member, Rochester High School); Becky Clinton, SIU MFM; Jacquelyn Patterson, SIU MFM; Ryan Morris, UnityPoint Health


1. Welcome and introductions

  • Roll call and new members

2. Spring program updates

  • Students

  • Faculty

  • Curriculum

  • Clinical

  • Registry exams

  • Equipment

3. Old business

  • Proposed AAS degree

4. New business

  • New Vascular Sonography Certificate of Completion

  • Template employer participation letter

  • Vascular sonography program textbook list

  • College COVID mask policy

  • Submitted grant applications

5. Program needs

  • Enrollment

  • Ultrasound machine

  • Instructional technologies

  • Vascular adjunct faculty

  • Obstetric clinical sites

  • Guest lectures

6. Open forum

  • Insights, trends, stakeholder needs

  • Concerns and recommendations


1. Welcome and introductions

  • Leigh Giles-Brown introduced a new DMS PAC member Tracey BennCockayne, Echo Technical Director for MHS. Her participation allows for representation from the cardiac ultrasound community and is in keeping with local expressed workforce needs. LLCC DMS program may consider adding echocardiography in the future once the general program is accredited.
  • An invitation to the DMS Pinning Celebration was emailed to the clinical sites. It will take place on May 12 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Trutter Center on the main campus of LLCC. The campus address is 5250 Shepherd Rd, Springfield, IL. All clinical partners and sonographers are welcome to join us.
  • The main LLCC graduation will be held on May 13.

2. Spring program updates

  • Leigh Giles-Brown presented the following:
    • There are three students in the first-year cohort and three students in the second-year cohort of the DMS Certificate of Achievement Program
    • DMS program faculty consists of one administrator (Leigh GilesBrown, Program Director), one full-time faculty/Clinical Coordinator, (Ann Neilson), and one adjunct faculty (Raven Horsthemke)
    • The current Certificate of Achievement program is in the process of changing to an Associate of Applied Science degree program.
  • Ann Neilson presented clinical site information:
    • Students have been attending seven active clinical sites
    • We would like to get placements with Lincoln Memorial Hospital and Unity Point
  • Leigh presented information regarding registry exams and equipment:
    • As mentioned at the fall PAC meeting, all three of our senior students have passed the ARDMS SPI exam and will be eligible to take the abdomen and ob/gyn specialty exams immediately after graduation
    • Once the program is accredited, students will be able to sit for their specialty board exams when they are within 60 days of graduation
    • For equipment, we have two large ultrasound machines that were donated by MHS (Samsung and Philips), and a bid is out for another large machine (Philips Epiq 7). A fourth machine will be needed to keep up with our goal of enrolling 16 students per cohort.
    • LLCC Foundation has found grants or provided funds for a variety of instructional equipment for our program (e.g., phantoms, Butterfly ultrasound machines). These tools enable our juniors to scan at home.

3. Old business

  • Leigh Giles-Brown presented the following information:
    • Once approved, the proposed AAS degree will launch in June 2022.
    • Prior enrollment limitations from applicants needing a degree should be eliminated with the switch to the AAS.
    • Micaela Childress is the LLCC Student Success Coach and is keeping a list of interested students and we anticipate being able to launch the AAS program will increased enrollment this year.
  • Dr. Vern Lindquist offered that there is a strong likelihood that the final AAS approval will go through on time this spring.

4. New business

  • Leigh Giles-Brown presented the following information:
    • The new Vascular Sonography Certificate of Completion program has been fully approved and will launch fall 2022 if there are enough applicants.
    • Marketing materials and a website update for the new program are being worked on and will be shared when ready.
    • The program is designed for certified sonographers to be able to get the didactic support needed to be successful on a vascular sonography board exam.
    • Handouts for the template Employer Participation Letter, Vascular Sonography Program Textbook List and program entry requirements were reviewed and suggestions were solicited.
  • Dave Overlot offered that he was excited about the new vascular certificate and thinks it will help sonographers at DMH. He mentioned that sonographers having a guided program will be better than them trying to study and accomplish the registry goal on their own.
  • Leigh Giles-Brown highlighted that a registry review course is part of the last semester of the certificate program and it will prepare students for any of the vascular registry exams (ARDMS, CCI, or ARRT).
  • Leigh Giles-Brown mentioned that the Covid-19 mask mandate has been lifted at the college, but students are still expected to conform to clinical site policies regarding Covid protections.
  • Leigh Giles-Brown, with the help of the LLCC Foundation and grant specialist, has submitted grant proposals for more instructional equipment. One award has already been made to enable the purchase of a neonatal head phantom that includes hydrocephaly pathology. More updates on additional equipment able to be purchased through grants will be forthcoming.

5. Program needs

  • Leigh Giles-Brown presented program needs:
    • The college goal for the DMS program is to have an entering cohort of 16 students each year. With the switch to the AAS degree and the addition of a third ultrasound machine, we anticipate being able to accept up to 12 students for 2022.
    • Adding a fourth large ultrasound machine will enable us to increase enrollment to 16 students.
    • The DMS program uses a variety of instructional technologies. We plan to use the Trajecsys clinical tracking system in the new vascular certificate as well as in the DMS AAS program. SonoSim and Butterfly Network technologies contain valuable learning modules and support.
    • Expanding enrollment will create the need for some duplicate instructional equipment (e.g., phantoms) to ensure students all have a chance to use them during a lab course. The DMS program faculty will be tracking which pieces of equipment will require multiples.
    • If anyone knows of a registered vascular sonographer who would like to teach any of the lecture and/or lab courses that will run in the evenings for our vascular sonography certificate program, please let Leigh Giles-Brown know. The DMS program is open to having sonographers from our community help us with the program.
    • With anticipated expanded enrollment, the DMS program will need more clinical sites. In particular, the second/third trimester obstetric exams seem to be concentrated at a small number of locations. If our ob/gyn sites will consider opening up their rotations to allow for more than one student at a time or more days per week, we would be better able to help our students prepare to fill employment gaps.
    • Guest lectures are always welcome and can be on a range of topics covering the profession, general, or vascular ultrasound. Please contact Leigh Giles-Brown if anyone is interested.

6. Open Forum

  • Leigh Giles-Brown opened the floor up for comments, concerns and questions.
  • Joanne VanLeer asked when we will be starting the accreditation process. Leigh explained we needed to get student outcome data and that will come once this first cohort has graduated. For the self-study, Leigh would like to include some data (Fall semester results) from the first AAS cohort to show how the program is adjusting and is still being successful. The self-study will be completed next academic year and the JRC-DMS has control over the scheduling of the site visit.
  • Joanne VanLeer mentioned HSHS is fully staffed now and asked if LLCC DMS senior students are getting jobs. Of the three current seniors, one has had multiple interviews and is deciding among offers. A second student is looking to relocate closer to current sites and has just started a new rotation. She wants to wait to see how the rotation goes before committing. The third, will seek employment based on her family plans and may not be staying in the area after graduation.
  • Sarah Minott mentioned that she has been impressed with the LLCC DMS students so far. They have come well-prepared with good background knowledge.
  • Leigh Giles-Brown asked what the LLCC DMS program can do better to prepare students.
    • Ann Neilson offered that she is working on creating clinical handbooks specific to each clinical site for our students to better prepare them for the unique protocols when they are assigned to any rotation. She has collected protocols from MHS and SIU and asked other clinical sites to share theirs so she can have a complete set of resources to help students be ready for clinical experiences.
    • Marjorie King mentioned that all MHS hospitals, besides DMH, are using the same protocols and are all using Samsung ultrasound machines. DMH will convert their machines to Samsung soon.
    • Leigh Giles-Brown asked Rochelle Holck which type of machines are used at Springfield Clinic. Rochelle said they use Philips Epiq and GE Voluson E10 for obstetric. She said they will only use GE machines for obstetric scans because of quality. Leigh mentioned the DMS program tries to get equipment comparable to what students will be exposed to in the clinical settings.