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ARDMS Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Forty years ago, Bill Gates, along with Paul Allen, founded Microsoft.  Saturday Night Live, Chili’s, and Oakley  Inc. also started in 1975. That same year, Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier faced off at the Thrilla in Manilla; and photographer Nicholas Nixon took his first of “The Brown Sisters” annual, 40-year picture collection.  Forty years ago was also an important year for the ultrasound profession. The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) was founded in June 1975.

40th anniversary

Some Facts about the ARDMS

According to the “MY ARDMS” webpage, the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) has certified almost 90,000 ultrasound professionals from 70 countries across the globe.

The ARDMS is often called the “global standard” of excellence in sonography and in medical ultrasound credentialing.

The ARDMS, a non-profit organization, is based in the U.S. (in Rockville, Maryland), but today its certification exams can be taken in 26 different countries.

Sonography professionals can pursue and earn the following credentials through the ARDMS:

  • RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer): specialties include Abdomen, Breast, OB/GYN, Pediatric Sonography and Fetal Echocardiography.
  • RDCS (Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer): specialties include Adult, Pediatric and Fetal Echocardiography.
  • RVT (Registered Vascular Technologist)
  • RPVI (Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation)
  • RMSK (Registered in Musculoskeletal sonography) (a credential for physicians)

According to its website, the ARDMS is also developing an exam in order to award sonography certification to midwives.

The Early Days

As was previously mentioned, the ARDMS was founded in 1975.

To understand its beginnings, let’s go back to the late 1960s when the AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound) was the only professional ultrasound organization.

In 1969, six ultrasound technical specialists—that’s what sonographers or ultrasound techs were called then—presented a proposal to the AIUM that an organization made up members who specialized specifically in performing ultrasounds be formed. This gave rise to the American Society of Ultrasound Technical Specialists (ASUTS), officially founded in 1970—its name later changed to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (SDMS).

Among the six specialists who proposed the idea for the society was Joan Baker, who was the first president of the ASUTS, and who renowned sonographer Terry DuBose has called the “Mother of American Sonography.”

In her article “The History of Sonography” (published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, January 1, 2005), Baker describes the vision she and her colleagues had for the ultrasound profession when they formed the society, even though it was not necessarily a popular view:

“Although the board members of the AIUM did not oppose the formation of a technical society, many believed the [ultrasound] technical specialists were wasting their time. They viewed this activity as premature. Some AIUM board members were physiatrists who used therapeutic rather than diagnostic ultrasound. Some were not convinced that ultrasound was ‘here to stay.’ Denis White, MD, president of the AIUM from 1970 to 1972, was concerned that a technical society could grow in numbers and become larger than the physician society. Nevertheless, in the absence of majority opposition, the new group received permission to proceed.”

There was “explosive growth of the [ultrasound] profession and equipment sales,” continues Baker, but there was a shortage of ultrasound technical specialists. More needed to be trained. The ASUTS worked on coming up with guidelines for training programs, accrediting schools and credentialing ultrasound specialists.

This led to the ASUTS putting together an Examination Committee which gave rise to the ARDMS, and Baker was its first chairperson.

Learn more about the 40-year-old ARDMS, and its certification process, by visiting: sonography.wpengine.com/certification-ardms/ and www.ardms.org

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