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Diagnostic Medical Sonography for Creatures Great and Small

Middlesex offers one of the oldest Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs in the country. In hospitals, clinics, industry, and other sites, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers play key roles in the world of medical imaging. Students are trained to produce ultrasound images used by physicians in diagnosis of diseases and injuries and other medical conditions. Students learn to acquire and evaluate data while exercising discretion and good judgment. The associate degree program, which began 21 years ago, provides students with the knowledge, techniques and extensive clinical experience they need in this highly specialized field. The comprehensive curriculum includes both technical and general education. A one-year certificate program is designed for students working in the field who have not yet been certified. Due to advances in technology, there are increased career opportunities in this specialty because sonography techniques can now be used on animals as well as humans.

When Tom Walsh, former Program Coordinator for the Department, entered the field 25 years ago, he did not anticipate using his skills on a 675 pound patient who only cooperated if he was being hand fed small live fish. This occurred when Tom was asked by the New England Aquarium to teach their veterinarians and trainers how to use equipment they had recently purchased to diagnose diseases in sea animals. The recalcitrant patient was Tyler, a California sea lion. After hours of trying to examine Tyler in his holding tank proved fruitless, he was coaxed up on the cement raft and fed raw fish as Tom performed the 30-minute procedure. Tyler was declared healthy, and the Aquarium's harbor seals will probably be the next patients. Walsh noted that he hoped experiences like those at the Aquarium will expose students to new dimensions of ultra-sound techniques and technology.

Middlesex students have submitted research papers for the past three years to a competition sponsored by the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Technology and have won first and second place awards and had papers published each year. Last year's award-winning paper dealt with using ultra sound technology on horses. This year's first place paper was entitled "Ultrasound Safety: Mechanical and Thermal Indices - a Primer."

From Middlesex Community College's Profiles© Volume 1, Number 2.

Last Modified: 7/19/17