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Awards of Excellence Winners 2022

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 the ASA Gala Dinner, as part of our ASA2022 Melbourne International Conference, we bestow our heartfelt congratulations to the following winners:

Sonographer of the Year NSW – Jacqueline Spurway 

Jacqueline Spurway is dedicated to supporting her rural community. She runs a monthly Foetal Medicine Outreach Clinic, and assisted in the development of Local Health District (LHD) procedures for standardised imaging, measurement techniques, reporting and management pathways for hip dysplasia, ensuring all children receive the same high standard of care across the area.  

She was the driving force behind the introduction and implementation of an electronic, auto-populating worksheet and report writing system, which has standardised measurements and set benchmarks for examination inclusions, reducing transcription errors and improving reporting times.  

Jacqueline is currently the Chairperson of the ASA Central West NSW Branch. 

Sonographer of the Year New Zealand – Nicole Curtis

Nicole Curtis has shown that she constantly goes above and beyond for her patients. She is a vascular sonographer with multiple published vascular research papers in peer-reviewed journals.  

She set up the first specialist vascular ultrasound service in Nelson, New Zealand, offering ultrasound scans that could not be performed previously. Because of this service, diagnoses that had been historically missed, such as popliteal artery aneurysms, giant cell arteritis, arterial thromboembolism, are now being detected, saving lives and limbs. 

She also set up the Vascular Ultrasound Society in New Zealand, bringing vascular sonographers together.

Sonographer of the Year Queensland – Chris Gilmore 

Chris has a keen interest in general sonography and guidance for procedural work and has used his expertise to train colleagues, nurses and medical practitioners. He has volunteered his time extensively for sonography, including volunteering with ASAR in accrediting sonography courses and auditing CPD. He has also volunteered for the ASA as a conference co-convenor and an adjudicator for oral papers.  

He is a Fellow of the ASA and has served as the Committee Chairperson of ASA Brisbane branch for last two years.  

Sonographer of the Year South Australia – Angela Farley 

Angela Farley supports rural communities by assisting in the training of rural sonographers. She currently works as a lecturer and a course coordinator at the University of South Australia. Angela is continually looking to advance sonography, and presented at the ASA2021 Brisbane Conference on “Sonographer perceptions of the use of elastography” and “A study to assess shoulder pain in patients undergoing corticosteroid injection into the subacromial bursa under ultrasound guidance: An evaluation of short-term outcomes with or without a physiotherapy intervention”.

Angela is currently undertaking a Masters by Research project at the University of South Australia on “The structure and function of the cardiovascular system in Australian jockeys”. Furthermore, Angela has volunteered her time as a member of the ASA2022 Melbourne Conference Program Committee.  

Sonographer of the Year Victoria – Carolynne Cormack 

Carolynne Cormak has a long history of being dedicated to the sonography profession and the ASA. She has given so much of her time across numerous committees, utilising her sonographer expertise to increase the quality and standards of those performing ultrasound. Carolynne recently co-authored a paper on current gaps in ultrasound education, clinical practise and quality assurance in Australian & New Zealand Emergency Departments, she was the sole sonographer on that research team.

Her Master's research is focused on the development of point-of-care ultrasound in Australasia, and the role of sonographers in educating the medical profession, to ensure that sonographer expertise is helping to create a healthier world. Carolynne has presented at many local and national events including the ASA’s Annual International Conference and is a Fellow of the ASA. 

Sonographer of the Year Western Australia – Natalie Clements 

Natalie Clements is a passionate rural sonographer who strives to help rural patients, to reduce the impact that distance can have on healthcare access. With local patients no longer having to travel to Perth for assessment of the liver with elastography, this ignited her passion to use elastography in the assessment of breast lesions and lymph nodes to similarly cut travel for rural patients.  

Natalie has worked tirelessly to ensure a comprehensive breast imaging service is provided in rural Western Australia so patients don’t have to travel to Perth and be away from their home and family.  Natallie was instrumental in setting up the state’s first in breast cancer treatment, MAGSEED, which improves breast cancer treatment and recovery.  

Sonographer of the Year ACT – Claire Kelso 

Claire is committed to enhancing her own, and her department’s, skills through providing feedback and giving constructive criticism. She has developed new feedback forms and training expectations for her department, as previously they were more casual or unofficial. She has worked tirelessly to update protocols to ensure best practice and providing in-services and live scanning to educate sonographers on what has changed. She has dedicated her time to teaching her colleagues how to perform uterine artery Dopplers, and as a result, her department has been able to add uterine artery Doppler studies to their scanning. She is currently working as site lead on a research project at her local foetal medicine department.

Researcher of the Year – Jessie Childs

Jessie Childs is heavily invested in sonography research. In the last 12 months, she has contributed to seven research projects and supervised and contributed to six student research projects. The research has also been presented in eight journal articles and seven conference presentations.  
Last year Jessie was awarded the University of South Australia’s Inaugural Chemical and Radiation Safety Award for liver research. This research has provided a novel approach to the use of ultrasound in replacing CT in both the assessment of liver volume and response to intervention, which means a safer alternative for patients.    

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, she worked with colleagues to set up a research project on “The initial impact of Covid-19 on Australasian sonographers”, three of the four-part project’s findings were published in Sonography Journal and have been recognised by the World Health Organisation on their Covid-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease database. Jessie is a Fellow of the ASA.  

Tutor of the Year – Donna Oomens 

Donna Oomens is passionate and committed to the wellbeing of her students. She makes herself available to provide advice and support to trainees and sonographers, and encourage early career sonographers to present at various meetings. Part of Donna’s research is about how sonographers learn, and the best ways that we as a profession can support them. 

She is constantly striving to find the balance between constructive criticism and supporting a student’s confidence by tailoring her teaching and assessments to allow students to grow personally, professionally and academically. Her high level of experience and passion for ultrasound education has motivated many to continue to develop their own teaching skills, leading to more sonographers providing outstanding supervision of our students.    

The Sue Caitcheon Memorial Award ASA Volunteer of the Year – Daniel Rae 

As a volunteer, Daniel Rae has lead countless projects and initiatives to develop educational resources for his peers, including webinars, podcasts, online learning modules, posters, workshops, guidelines and position statements. He works tirelessly behind the scenes on ASA events shaping Travelling Workshops, SIG Days, and the Annual International Conference. While volunteering in the lead up to the ASA’s Conference in 2021, he also volunteered his time and shared his knowledge as a speaker at the same event. 

Daniel is a part of the Rad-Aid lecture series, presenting to registrars at the Black Lion Hospital in Addis A-ba-ba, Ethiopia, a member of the Educational Advisory Committee and chairperson of the Vascular Special Interest Group for the last two years.  

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