Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Richard Palma Richard (Richie) Palma, BS, ACS, RCCS, RCS, RDCS, FACVP, FSDMS, FASE
SDMS & SDMS Foundation ​Director

Richard (Richie) Palma, BS, ACS, RCCS, RCS, RDCS, FACVP, FSDMS, FASE, is the founder, director, and clinical coordinator of Duke’s Cardiac Ultrasound Certificate Program and recipient of the 2021 Duke School of Medicine Cardiology Teaching Award and the 2011 SDMS Distinguished Educator Award. In 2022, he was appointed Hospital/VA-Based Educational Institution Commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). A month later, he was invited to join the CAAHEP Board of Directors as a director. Richie also serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) and the SDMS Foundation (2021-2025). He is an assiduous contributor to the sonography profession as educator, author, and program developer; he speaks on sonography and echocardiography nationally and internationally. His newest book, published in the fall of 2022, is Congenital Echocardiographers Pocket Reference. This volume, as well as the fifth edition of Echocardiographer’s Pocket Reference, are definitive references for today's echocardiography sonographers and students. In the latter book, Richie optimized content through the addition of videos, color, and four new chapters. He is honored to succeed Sid Edelman, an iconic Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) physics instructor, at ESP Ultrasound. Richie is a national speaker for Philips and Lantheus Medical Imaging and a Fellow of the SDMS, the American Society of Echocardiography, and the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals. Richie, who was among the first to achieve Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS) certification in the United States, has worked in sonography since 1990.

Say yes to opportunities and follow through
Richie encourages sonographers and sonography students to “always say yes” when opportunity comes. “Do it whether or not you think you will like it,” he says, because living outside your comfort zone can expand your concept of your interests and capabilities. His CV or curriculum vitae (Latin for “course of life”) shows that Richie follows his own advice. It is 28 tightly woven pages describing his education, professional experience and activities, teaching, publications, certifications, national chairmanships, professional memberships, academic appointments, and lectures.

He has learned that one opportunity opens doors to the next one. Participating with a team to publish echocardiography guidelines led to national speaking opportunities. Other volunteer involvement led to a chance to author a leading sonography text. Teaching medical school Fellows led to learning how to move from lead sonographer to becoming the developer of a nationally esteemed cardiac ultrasound teaching program. Kerry Weinberg, PhD, RDMS, RDCS, a former student of his at NYU, taught Richie how to design sonography programs to win accreditation, based on a sonography school she established.

Create your legacy
Richie began forming his ideas of leadership when he was captain of his college track team at Northeastern University. Later, in his career, he set his goals high, surrounded himself with smart people, and learned continuously. Mentors have taught him, and he mentors others. Teaching, he says, is his best means to pass on knowledge to the next generation and leave a legacy.

Best icebreaker
You can quickly break the ice with Richie if you say “Yo-Yo-Ma,” and know the story behind it.

Walking the quad at Harvard University, where he was a student, Richie saw another student playing cello. He asked his name. What he was told sounded like a “silly name” to him, so he crowed, “YO-YO MA” again and again. “I was a wise guy then,” Richie says today. The cellist was nothing but gracious and, 45 years later, he is world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Work is done, what are you doing?
Golf, spending time with young identical-twin grandsons, and working out. Richie was a world-class track and field athlete. In the 1980s, he was ranked seventh in the world in the long jump and narrowly missed a spot on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team for the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul, South Korea.

Richard (Richie) Palma, BS, ACS, RCCS, RCS, RDCS, FACVP, FSDMS, FASE “At-a-Glance”


  • Bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in cardiovascular health and exercise, Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Additional studies in research and statistical analysis, Harvard University’s School of Public Health (Boston, Massachusetts)


From Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)

  • Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS)
  • Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS)
  • Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer (RCCS)​

From the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)

  • Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)

Selected Publications

  • Palma RA, Congenital Echocardiographers Pocket Reference, First Edition (Publisher: Arizona Heart Foundation, 2022).
  • Palma RA, Echocardiographer’s Pocket Reference, Fifth Edition (Publisher: Arizona Heart Foundation School of Cardiac and Vascular Ultrasound, 2020).
  • Davis A, Billick K, Horton K, Jankowski M, Knoll P, Marshall J, Paloma A, Palma RA, Adams D, (White paper) Artificial Intelligence and Echocardiography: A Primer for Cardiac Sonographers. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. June 2020.

Selected Research

  • Mitchell C, Rahko PS, Blauwet LA, Canaday B, Finstuen JA, Foster MC, Horton K, Ogunyankin KO, Palma RA, Velazquez EJ. Guidelines for Performing a Comprehensive Transthoracic Echocardiographic Examination in Adults: Recommendations from the American Society of Echocardiography. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. 2019 Jan;32(1):1-64. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2018.06.004.
  • McIlwain EF, Coon PD, Einstein AJ, Mitchell CKC, Natello GW, Palma RA, Park MM, Ranallo F, Roberts ML Radiation safety for the cardiac sonographer: recommendations of the Radiation Safety Writing Group for the Council on Cardiovascular Sonography of the American Society of Echocardiography. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. 2014 August;27(8):811-6. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2014.05.015.
  • Walling S, Palma RA, Chubert L,. Combined 2D and 3D Transthoracic and Transesophageal Echocardiography in the Evaluation of Nonobstructive and Obstructive Cor Triatriaturn Sinister. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. 2013’29:89.


  • ASE Distinguished Educator Award (2022) 
  • Duke School of Medicine Cardiology Teaching Award (2021)
  • Fellow, Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (2020)
  • Fellow, Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (2016)
  • SDMS Distinguished Educator Award (2011)
  • ASE Sonographer Volunteer of the Month (2012 and 2009)
  • Fellow, American Society of Echocardiography (2002)
  • SDMS Advanced Practice Sonographer membership (2001) 

Professional Roles

  • Founder, director, and clinical coordinator, Cardiac Ultrasound Certificate Program, Duke University School of Medicine (2020-Present)
  • Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center (1992-2020)
    • Director and clinical coordinator (2001-2020)
    • Chief Cardiac Ultrasonographer (1992-2001)
    • Founder, director, and clinical coordinator, Hoffman Heart Institute, School of Cardiac Ultrasound (2001-2020)
    • Director, Hoffman Heart Institute School of Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound (2009-2020)
    • Hoffman Heart Institute School of Invasive Technology (2014-2020)
    • Hoffman Heart Institute School of Vascular Ultrasound (2016-2020)
  • Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Technologist, Bristol Hospital (1990-1992)
  • Senior Research Analyst, Massachusetts General Hospital (1987-1990)

Academic Roles

  • Clinical instructor/Associate clinical professor, Cardiology Fellowship Training Program, University of Connecticut School of Medicine (2007-2020)
  • Multiple clinical instructor roles in community colleges and hospitals in Connecticut and New York (1994-1999)

Public Speaker/Presenter

  • Sonography Principles and Instrumentation-Physics instructor, ESP Ultrasound (2020-Present)
  • Lantheus Medical Imaging (2017-Present)
  • Philips (2017-Present)
  • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (2006)

Voluntarism for the SDMS and/or the SDMS Foundation

Executive, Director, Board Liaison, and Board Representative Roles

  • Director, Board of Directors, SDMS and SDMS Foundation (2021-2025)

Task Forces, Committees, and Work Groups

  • Membership Committee (2009-2011)
  • Conference Management Committee (2005-2007)
  • National Education Curriculum Task Force (2005-2007)
  • SDMS CME Committee (2004-2005)
  • National Membership Committee (2004-2005)
  • Career Development Committee (2003-2004) 

Other Voluntarism in the Sonography Community

Selected Volunteer Roles for the American Society of Echocardiography

  • Board of Directors (2012-2015)
  • National chair/Moderator, national conferences (2006-2017)
  • Multiple national ASE committees (2006-2019)

Selected Volunteer Roles for Cardiac Credentialing International

  • Item writer, Adult Echocardiography Exam (RCS)
  • Chair, Basic Echocardiography Exam Task Force Committee
  • National Advisory Board Member ASE-CCI Liaison
  • Chair, Ethics Committee
  • Adult Congenital Registry Exam Task Force
  • Subject Matter Expert, Adult Congenital Heart Disease