Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

SDMS Announcements

The SDMS Mourns the Passing of Donald W. Baker

by Manju Alexander


Plano, Texas –
It is with great sadness that the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) joins the sonography community in mourning the death of Donald W. Baker on February 27, 2018.

Don was an international luminary in the field of medical ultrasound and known for his pioneering work in Doppler technology. He was instrumental in the invention and production of the first commercial medical Doppler instruments for non-invasive analysis of the human cardiovascular system.

Don was born in Skagway, Alaska on April 12, 1932 and served four years in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. Following his service in the Air Force, Don received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington.

Don identified himself as an Electrical Engineer come Bioengineer and was the driving force that carried the University of Washington’s Robert R. Rushmer’s personal objective and charge that, “It was not enough they just create a new concept or instrument and simply publish the idea to sit in a library somewhere.” People had to benefit.

“Don’s innovations and contributions to sonography, particularly Doppler, enable us to provide both tremendous diagnostic information and optimal patient care.” said Tammy Stearns, MS, RT(R), RDMS, RVT, FSDMS, President of the SDMS. “I can’t imagine what sonography would be like without his passion and skills to advance the technology over the years.”

Don was recognized in 2002 with the University of Washington’s Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award. In 2016, the Life Science Innovation Northwest also honored Don as an inaugural inductee into the Washington Life Science Hall of Fame.

Don was married to Joan P. Baker who is affectionately known throughout the diagnostic medical sonography community as the “matriarch” of sonography in the United States. Don, who was a skilled chef, and his wife Joan enjoyed hosting delegations from around the world in their Seattle home.