Awards of Excellence Winners 2023
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 ASA2023 Brisbane International Conference, we bestow our heartfelt congratulations to the following winners:
Sonographer of the Year NSW – Linda Thebridge
Linda Thebridge has worked extensively with transplant surgeons, vascular surgeons, renal transplant physicians and transplant teams to develop ultrasound techniques that assesses the blood flow to kidney transplants. She has initiated sonographer-guided imaging of intra-operative transplant scanning, as well as sonographer-guided transplant biopsies. Her renal transplant research is being used to showcase the role of ultrasound, and intraoperative sonographers, within our health system for improved patient outcomes.
Linda has introduced systems to support the mental health of sonographers, including daily briefing meetings for sonographers to raise concerns, voice issues, and to provide a space that is safe and non-judgemental where people to feel comfortable enough to say their “not ok”. Over the past 12 months Linda has published two papers, with three more to be published.
Sonographer of the Year New Zealand – Olwen Clarke
Olwen Clark has gone above and beyond for her patients by devising a way to decreasing patients’ waiting periods for Musculoskeletal (MSK) services.
Recognising the shortage of proficient MSK sonographers, Olwen designed and introduced a 12-month in-house training program to increase the MSK skills of her colleagues. She obtained a commitment from her employer to provide one day per week of one-on-one MSK training with an experienced MSK sonographer. Sonographers are also required to complete the one-year Burwin Certificate in MSK scanning. She also introduced a formal assessment at regular intervals to ensure accuracy and proficiency. The program Olwen developed has increased the MSK skill level among her colleagues, and reduced waiting times for patients.
Olwen has is an exceptional speaker who has presented extensively, sharing her expert knowledge across New Zealand, especially in field of MSK.
Sonographer of the Year Queensland – Michael Foster-Greenwood
Michael Foster-Greenwood is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with his peers and has developed two informative posters, which are used throughout his Queensland organistation. One describes shoulder tears, and the other, how to accurately measure the median nerve for carpal tunnel diagnosis. Michael has dedicated his time researching into breast elastography using the same technology to differentiate between a full thickness and a partial tear.
He has also identified sonography markers that indicate strangulation in surviving victims of domestic violence. With a case series likely to be published later this year, this research will be a world first. Michael presented his findings at the ASA2023 Brisbane Conference. Michael has been the Qld ASA branch committee member since 2019, and currently serves as Chair.
Sonographer of the Year South Australia – Emma Godrik
Emma Godrik is passionate about training, and has produced an educational hub allowing sonographers in their organisation to access hundreds of hours of content, which can be accessed whilst on call or working in remote locations. She has also written a gynaecological and obstetric reference manual.
Emma has designed and implemented an in-house training school aimed at students seeking training positions. Students undertake 16-weeks of training, three-days per week, and during this time they scan real patients under the guidance of a trained tutor to experience what it is like to be a professional sonographer. Students also have weekly lectures, as well as practical and written assessment tasks to test their knowledge and skill.
Emma also opened two training hubs for junior students who completed their 16-week training, to enable them to scan in a safe environment with extended appointment times. Emma is an active member of the South Australian ASA Branch Committee.
Sonographer of the Year Victoria – Andrew Grant
Andrew Grant is well-known for his excellence and accuracy in performing breast ultrasound. His expertise lies in imaging of the Brachial Plexus, peripheral nerves, and thoracic outlet syndrome, and surgeons often refer patients to him specifically. His expert skill has led to patients requiring smaller incisions and therefore much less scarring, improving their health outcomes.
Andrew is very generous with his time, often supporting students and newly qualified sonographers after-hours, with one-on-one to one-on-three mini workshops to bring them up to speed on more advanced scanning techniques. Andrew presented at numerous local and national events over the last year including ASA SIG Days and the ASA2023 Brisbane Conference. Andrew is also a member of the ASA Victorian Branch Committee.
Sonographer of the Year Western Australia – Kylie Haliczenko
Kylie Haliczenko has dedicated her career to women’s health, with a passion for assisting those patients with deep infiltrating endometriosis, by providing regular teaching and guidance for colleagues on how to perform these scans.
Kylie has undertaken research to review and interpret bowel lesion shapes and determined that the surgical complexity of the endometriosis could be correlated with a particular shape of bowel lesions seen on both MRI and ultrasound. Her research has enhanced the training and up-skilling of sonographers, and most importantly, has positively impacted the health and wellbeing of patients.
In March 2023, Kylie was nominated for Woman of the Year within the Women’s and Health Service for her work in actively sharing information on deep infiltrating endometriosis.
Researcher of the Year – Assoc Prof. Nayana Parange, FASA
Nayana Parange is a prolific sonography researcher. In the last 12 months alone, Nayana has published 13 articles. Nayana was the senior author on ASA position statement “Mitigating sonographer distractions in obstetric ultrasounds”, and was a co-author on the development of the ASA clinical guideline “The ultrasound assessment of the gravid cervix to assess for risk of preterm birth”, to be released in the second half of 2023.
In 2022, Nayana's research relating to the lack of rural ultrasound facilities in Australia attracted substantial media attention, with a total of 65 stories published, aired and broadcast, reaching an audience of 620,000 people. Nayana is a strong advocate for the building of research skills in future generations of sonographers, and is a Fellow of the ASA.
Tutor of the Year – Louise Deshon, AFASA
Louise Deshon is a passionate and committed educator. She has set up a 14-room sonography training service and advised on the design of the service to best suit sonographers training requirements. Over the last year, Louise has tutored 25 students including a clinical supervisor for master by coursework. Louise has established a teaching team of five rotating tutors, providing the opportunity for early career tutors to gain confidence while working one-on-one with students. She has also provided one-on-one mentoring to sonographers, outside of their workplace, who are new to tutoring. Louise has the skills to understand the learning styles of students, to communicate effectively, and to quicky analyse their strengths and individual needs. Over the last 12-months she has revised the unit outlines and provided advice on the course structure for a potential new university course. Louise is an Associate Fellow of the ASA.
The Sue Caitcheon Memorial Award ASA Volunteer of the Year – Sandhya (Sandy) Maranna, FASA
Sandy Maranna has volunteered extensively for the ASA. She has sat numerous ASA committees, including the Sonographer Policy and Advisory Committee (SPAC), reviewed the ASA's journal, Sonography, and has contributed to eight Sonography journal articles. Sandy is an expert adviser for the World Health Organization (WHO), and a panel member on their Global Education Taskforce. She is a lead educator for the Healthy Newborn Project, which aims to improve maternal and foetal outcomes by upskilling GPs and midwives in rural and remote Australia. Sandy has served on the ASA SA Branch Committee for more than a decade and was chair until last year. Sandy is a Fellow of the ASA.