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Awards of Excellence Winners 2021

The ASA Awards of Excellence reward sonographers whose commitment to excellence best informs our profession. These annual awards honour outstanding achievements in sonography and recognise excellence, best practice and contributions to sonography. It is these sonographers, along with our exceptional group of nominees, who are the pillars of our profession.

Awarded at our first-ever ASA Awards Evening, as part of our ASA2021 Brisbane Hybrid Conference, we bestow our heartfelt congratulations to the following winners:

Sonographer of the Year NSW – Rayshelle Finch

Rayshelle Finch is very passionate about giving back to individual rural sonographers, rural communities and ensuring all patients have access to ultrasound. Rayshelle was instrumental in the development of a regional, on-site, vascular consulting service that enables patients who live remotely to have access to a range of specialist vascular services and surgeons without having to travel long distances. Rashelle is about to complete her PhD on using contrast for the surveillance of endovascular aortic stent graft repair. She has also developed eLearning modules for continued training for rural sonographers, and is developing eLearning on work, health and safety to ensure sonographers enjoy a safe and injury free working environment.

Sonographer of the Year New Zealand – Steve Mackintosh

Steve Mackintosh’s interest lies in the correlation between MRI and Ultrasound, and is qualified in operating both. Steve has identified methods for ultrasound to be used in complementing MRI within his department, particularly within musculoskeletal and Abdo/Gynae procedures. Steve completed a Masters degree, researching the correlation of stiffness of the supraspinatus muscles measured by 2D Shear Wave Elastography to that of MRI grading of fatty infiltration. This research has generated two papers and has been presented twice at ASA events. Steve has dedicated six years on the ASA board, and served as Vice President in 2017, where he provided significant insights on New Zealand sonographers and their industry. 

Sonographer of the Year Queensland – Tristen Reddan

Tristen Reddan has contributed significantly to the ASA and the sonography profession over many years. He recently collaborated with a workplace health and safety specialist to improve staff safety when performing mobile ultrasound examinations to reduce injury in the workplace. He is also currently conducting research which investigates the impact of prematurity on renal morphology in a newborn’s first year. To better empower sonographers in paediatrics, Tristen has secured a Children’s Hospital Foundation Working Wonders Grant of $25,000 to evaluate and develop a telehealth support hotline so sonographers in remote areas, or even across greater Brisbane, can call for advice from an expert paediatric sonographer to assist them with diagnosis, so that children are not transferred unnecessarily. Tristen has presented at many local, national and international events, is a member of the Sonography Journal Editorial Review Board, and a fellow of the ASA.

Sonographer of the Year South Australia – Catrina Panuccio

Catrina Panuccio has developed advanced skills in deep infiltrating endometriosis, and 3D/4D pelvic floor sonography. Catrina has introduced transperineal pelvic floor sonography to Adelaide, and is successfully being used by specialists for surgical planning for women with pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. Catrina is very passionate about endometriosis and gynaecological scanning, and has written a paper on her research. She also lends her knowledge and experience to supporting endometriosis research projects. Catrina enjoys sharing her expertise with presentations to GPs and Emergency Doctors. Catrina volunteers her time to mentor fellow sonographers, and runs a private ultrasound clinic in Adelaide.

Sonographer of the Year Victoria – Sara Kernick

Sara Kernick loves being a sonographer and dedicates her time to ensuring her patients have a calm and reassuring experience. Sara has adapted the scanning environment into underwater worlds or Christmas villages, in order to reduce the fear and anxiety children can often feel seeing a medical practitioner. Sara has collaborated with researchers and clinicians from Canada, Singapore and Iran in order to use 3D ultrasound to improve diagnosis of infant hip dysplasia. She has also worked with the Cardiology and ENT departments to research and publish findings on how vocal cord ultrasound could be used in the management of post op cardiac infants. These findings have changed the clinical management of such children, it has also changed the protocols in paediatric cardiology departments across Australia. Sara has presented her research at many local, national and international events, and is an asset to her profession.

Sonographer of the Year Western Australia – Leanne Lamborn

Leanne Lamborn constantly goes above and beyond for their patients. Over the last year, Leanne, her team and her radiologist colleagues, implemented several new examinations which eliminated the need for paediatric patients to undergo a general anaesthetic. Leanne and her professor provide an option for assessing liver lesions using ultrasound contrast applying to the TGA for approval for each individual patient instead of a liver biopsy. Through Covid-19, Leanne produced small videos for doctors to help them with machine covers and cleaning procedures to ensure staff and patients were safe. Leanne has helped promote the profession by being a Health Hero at her hospital. The campaign provided an overview of what sonographers do. Leanne is a leader in providing tertiary level paediatric sonography for the children of WA and is an active member of the ASA paediatric Special Interest Group.

Researcher of the Year – Lisa Hackett

This award recognises a sonographer who has contributed significantly to research by adding to new knowledge, and/or innovation and/or clinical care improvements within sonography. Lisa Hackett’s interest lies in the deeper aspects of ultrasound and clinical care of shoulders, and isn’t afraid to push the boundaries. Lisa has collaborated on 24 papers and 34 presentations outlining the value of ultrasound in managing shoulder conditions. Her research project involving the collection of tissue from patients with calcific tendonitis, published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, has become a seminal paper in understanding the pathophysiology of this very painful condition. Lisa is a Fellow of the ASA and has presented her work at many ASA conferences.

Tutor of the Year – Paula Kinnane

This award recognises a sonographer whose dedication, skills and commitment guides and advises those entering, establishing or advancing themselves in the sonography profession. Paula Kinnane is passionate and committed to sharing her time, knowledge, and skills as both a tutor and clinical supervisor of sonography students. Her commitment and innovative approach to sonography education was recognised at Central Queensland University in 2020 when she was awarded the ‘Student Voice Award for On Campus Educator of the Year’ commendation, as well as Gold and Silver awards for the delivery of her units. Paula has completed a research project analysing comparative views of work readiness for both clinical supervisors and final year sonography students. This research will influence training programs and curriculum to ensure our future sonographers are better equipped to work within a clinical environment.

Employer of the Year – Hunter Imaging Group

This award recognises the commitment an employer has demonstrated in supporting sonographers as well as the sonography profession. Hunter Imaging Group has fostered the recruitment and training of sonographers from their local community. Hunter Imaging Group supports its sonographers by promoting research and hosting regular in-house mini conferences enabling staff to share interesting case studies, new techniques and knowledge. Training in specialist areas is always offered to sonographers who show keen interest and initiative. Hunter Imaging Group is a flexible employer who encourages staff on parental leave to have “keeping in touch days,” enabling staff to return to work to scan and keep up their skills. After returning from parental leave, staff meet with a sonographer on their team to debrief and advise of any changes to protocols, and discuss whether assistance is needed for breastfeeding, milk storage and privacy.

The Sue Caitcheon Memorial Award ASA Volunteer of the Year – Lino Piotto

This award acknowledges the significant and outstanding contribution to the profession, by a volunteer who gives their time and dedication to the ASA and the sonography profession. Lino Piotto has been a strong advocate for sonographer training, has volunteered his time for numerous educational events, and has always accepted invitations to speak at workshops and conferences. Lino assisted in running the South Australian Diploma of Medical Ultrasonography (DMU) course and was a lecturer and tutor for candidates of the DMU after hours at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Research, publications and presentations all require a tremendous amount of effort and time. Lino’s achievements and contribution to his profession are highlighted through 28 publications within ultrasound journals and 57 local, national and international presentations. Lino is a committee member and Vice Chair of the ASA South Australian branch, and a Fellow of the ASA. This award is so fitting for this sonographer who feels a responsibility to give back to the profession which is given so much to them.

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