Dubose Gets Recognition For His Work in Sonography

July 5, 2011
Charles L. Ehrenfeld
Charles L. Ehrenfeld

While growing up in Brownfield, Terry Dubose, an expert in sonography, thought he wanted to be a banker. He enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University after graduating from Brownfield High School in 1962 and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1966.

While growing up in Brownfield, Terry Dubose, an expert in sonography, thought he wanted to be a banker.

He enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University after graduating from Brownfield High School in 1962 and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1966.

But then the Vietnam War got in the way. Unable to find a suitable job, Dubose enlisted in the army, serving in the Quartermaster Corps and earning the rank of first lieutenant.

"I volunteered, because I couldn't get a job that I could use my degree with," Dubose said. "I didn't want to go back to Brownfield and work in a service station."

After being discharged in 1969, Dubose hitchhiked from Austin to California. Disillusioned after hearing of the shootings at Kent State University, he quit his job as a tax examiner in the state comptroller's office, sold his car and set off to join the protests.

He later returned to Austin and looked at getting into the health-care profession. A counselor at the Texas Hospital Association suggested he might use his talents in photography and silk screening that he had been using for a group he helped organize called Vietnam Veterans Against the War and apply them in the field of radiology.

He knew little of radiology, but he was told by the counselor that it was just like photography, except it did not use visible light. While studying radiology at Seton Hospital in Austin during 1972 to 1974, Dubose became interested in ultrasound.

Ultrasound was just beginning to be used as an imaging modality. It took Dubose and some physicians at the hospital three years before convincing administrators to buy a used machine. In 1980, Dubose began providing outpatient sonography services for a radiology group. As the service grew, he supervised 11 sonographers who scanned some 16,000 cases per year.

When it became difficult to recruit qualified sonographers, Dubose helped found a diagnostic medical sonography program at Austin Community College in 1989. He left Austin in 1996 and moved to Little Rock, Ark., where he became the first director of the sonography program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Dubose won the Kenneth Gottesfeld Award from the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography in 1986 for research in calculating the growth of the fetal brain by estimating cranial volume and again in 1998 for research in distance education using compressed video.

He wrote "Fetal Sonography," a medical text published by W.B. Saunders Co. in Philadelphia in 1996, and has contributed to other books as well. He published the first sonographic images of female urethra and the blood vessels of the uterus. He also calculated the first regression formula that described the acceleration of the embryonic heart rate.

Dubose, 58, also is thought to have developed the first computer software program for the analysis of multiple fetal parameters for size and age. He helped found OBGYN.net, a Web site devoted to women's health, and is the sonographic correspondent for the ultrasound section.

As chairman of the Advanced Practice Sonography Task Force for the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Dubose initiated efforts to gain the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics' recent recognition of diagnostic medical sonography as a profession separate and distinct from radiologic imaging.

For those efforts and his strong advocacy for his profession, Dubose recently was presented with an award from the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

"It has changed from machines that filled a room as big as my office that gave, at best, fuzzy pictures, to small, hand-held machines you can put in a briefcase that produce high resolution," Dubose said. "The equipment is smaller and cheaper now.

"We're getting more and more applications for it. Each time we get a new resolution, they find a new use for it. It's being used all over, in obstetrics, cardiac, vascular disease, pediatrics, the ER, in surgery, ophthalmology. It's virtually all over the hospital now. Literally, everything from head to toe we can examine now."

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