Enjoy the next Thomas Jefferson Point-of-Care Ultrasound Educator of the Month Series!  This post is brought to you by Irina Sanjeevan, MD, POCUS enthusiast and Emergency Medicine PGY-1 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

National Organization Involvement: Is it Right for Me? 

Rachel Liu, MBBChBAO (yes, MBBChBAO is the Medicine degree graduates receive after training at Trinity College in Dublin Ireland) is on fire as a FemInEM in Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) leader.  Dr. Liu is the current Chair of the Ultrasound Section of ACEP. Additionally, she has served as the Education Officer for the Academy of Emergency Ultrasound (AEUS) of SAEM 2014- 2015, and then as President 2016- 2017.

As the Director of Clinical Ultrasound Education at the Yale School of Medicine, Rachel has implemented longitudinal ultrasound education for medical students as a way to complement and anchor the learning of basic, physical and clinical sciences. 

Dr. Liu began her round table conversation with a discussion of the history of POCUS and the role of specific organizations and societies e.g. ACEP, SAEM, AAEM, AIUM, WINFOCUS, PURE, etc. She then made it personal: National Organization Involvement: Why it is Right for Me.

Early in her career, Rachel admits she was not particularly interested in national organization involvement—she was focused on the clinical aspects of ultrasound and on educating locally. In fact, she wondered why someone would want to get into a national leadership role. She began regionally directing commercial courses offered through Yale and building a pilot program from the ground up by volunteering over a hundred hours of her time to create what became a massively popular course among the Yale medical students. Through that role, she was asked to co-create a preconference POCUS course for the SAEM annual meeting. She feels that the ask came from colleagues who knew her to be reliable, professional, and responsive with a track record of follow-through.

After that first collaboration with AEUS, Dr. Liu was asked to step into the role of AEUS Education Officer mid-term. She cites two “aha” moments: creating a national POCUS workshop and co-organizing SonoGames®, as key to sparking her national organization interest. Rachel was subsequently asked to run as AEUS President.

It may not be surprising to readers that Dr. Liu shared: “one thing leads to another.” She was the right person for the position at the right time when she then was asked to run for the position of Ultrasound Section Chair for ACEP. She underlined the value of follow-through as one of the main strengths someone in leadership can have, not only to be considered for a position but to then execute it successfully.

Dr. Liu encourages residents, fellows, and faculty to get involved in leadership early. It helps young faculty understand how the different organizations think, the history behind the way certain pathways developed, the varying approaches needed to effect change, and is a launchpad to build connections with people both within and outside her areas of focus.  These roles have reminded her that there is still a lot of work to be done to advance training and promote responsible use of POCUS on an inter-societal level, and the ones to take up this charge will be the next generations of trainees. She acknowledged that institutions and chairpeople value national and local leadership positions differently. Ultimately, the person must decide for herself what is right.

Dr. Liu noted the support of mentors e.g. Dr. Resa Lewiss, Dr. Gail D’onofrio, Dr. Chris Moore, Dr. John Bailitz to thank for many of the opportunities in her professional life. Contact Dr. Liu on Twitter @RubbleEM, Email [email protected] and #POCUS education @Yale_EUS and eus.yale.edu