Message from the UFFC-S President Mark Schafer

2 years 4 months ago
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As I start my two-year term as UFFC-S President, I want to begin with thanks and congratulations. First, I must thank my predecessor, Paul Reynolds, for his extraordinary efforts during an unprecedented time. All the plans for his term were completely upended by the pandemic. He navigated completely uncharted territory, all the while guided by an unwavering sense of duty to both UFFC-S and its members, and the greater goal that our Society must be more welcoming, diverse, and equitable. Well done. Thanks are also due to our outgoing AdCom members, Past-Presidents, Transaction Editor-in-Chief, Conference committee members, and all the volunteers at every level who have contributed through 2020 and 2021. We could not have managed without you.

Congratulations are in order for incoming volunteers serving our Society on AdCom, as President-Elect, Committee Chairs, Editors-in-Chief, and all other roles required to run our Society. I welcome you to work with me and our membership during my term of office. I also welcome any member to volunteer in a UFFC activity or program that interests them… the door is always open.

The next two years will bring both challenges and opportunities. How do we best implement hybrid conferences? How do we best manage Open Access? The simple answer is we’re still learning and experimenting, and our initial attempts may not be “the best”: in adapting and trying new things, we may succeed at some things and fail at others. But we will learn and do better the following year. If nothing else, the last two years have taught us about adaptability as we work to overcome the obstacles inherent in building something new.

At the same time that we are presented with challenges, there will also be opportunities: to make our Society more accessible to our members, to develop membership in more areas of the world, to establish new partnerships. A great example of opportunity realized was the Latin America Ultrasound Symposium, which allowed students and researchers in IEEE Region 9 to participate in a high-quality, locally-based conference. Now the question is… where do we go next?

The LAUS conference also featured innovations such as multiple language translation, which we look forward to implementing at future conferences. Likewise, our virtual conferences required uploading pre-recorded presentations prior to the conference. This is something I want to retain because it allows for subtitling and translation, which benefits non-native English-speaking members. (Coincidentally, pre-recording also serves as a backup in case unexpected issues arise with conference travel.) There is also an opportunity in exploring the best ways to host poster presentations: how can they be adapted to stimulate remote interaction and participation?

I welcome both the challenges and the opportunities of the next two years, as we transition from a locked-down world to a seemingly just-out-of-reach “new normal”. We can enjoy seeing our colleagues face to face once more and include those who cannot travel to our conferences for reasons of cost, time, mobility, responsibility to family, or health. Our overall experience will be enriched by the continued participation of more members, and it is our obligation to adapt in ways that maintain and expand accessibility.

I challenge you all to find opportunities to serve and expand UFFC in ways that strengthen our conferences, publications, schools, and programs. The question is…where else can the Society add value?

Mark Schafer
President, UFFC-S, 2022/23