Forty years after first joining Wake Forest Baptist to study ultrasound as a therapy device in cancer, Frederick Kremkau, PhD, has become, in the words of James Johnson, PhD, director of the Center for Applied Learning, a “rock star’’ in the world of ultrasound education.
It’s evident in the fact that he’s working on the ninth edition of his profession’s seminal textbook Sonography Principals and Instruments, which for the first time will be an electronic edition.
It’s evident in his travel schedule, which has him constantly on the go from lectures to keynote speeches throughout the United States and overseas.
And it’s evident in the awards, plaques and memorabilia that bear the name of Kremkau, co-director of the Program for Medical Ultrasound, found within the unassuming offices of the Center for Applied Learning.
For Kremkau, the teaching of ultrasound and research on its use, has made a rewarding career by combining three fields that he loved as far back as high school
—electrical engineering, acoustics and medicine. The irony is that the field of ultrasound didn’t exist then, but ultrasound and Kremkau grew together.
Educating in Ultrasound
Kremkau has a PhD in electrical engineering. After a stint in the U.S. Navy working with sonar and ultrasound for submarine detection, he decided to pursue the nascent use of ultrasound in medical applications.
He arrived at Wake Forest Baptist doing research into the use of ultrasound in cancer treatment at the Cancer Center. In 1975, Wake Forest Baptist decided to create a Program for Medical Ultrasound, one of just two academic-based education programs in the nation for ultrasound.
Kremkau understood the need early on for an ultrasound textbook, recognizing that the nascent field required a strong teaching tool.
It instantly made him in-demand icon for ultrasound, someone who could lecture anywhere to help educate doctors, nurses and clinicians about an imaging field that would prove critical for multiple clinical purposes.
“He’s made complex material available and understandable to a multitude of folks interested in learning the basis from which ultrasound works and how it works,’’ says John Bennett, PhD, Neurovascular Course Coordinator of the Program for Medical Ultrasound.
Involvement in Professional Associations
One of the hallmarks of Kremkau’s career is his research, which has included studies of safety and risk in using ultrasound and the way using it interacts with tissue. He’s also studied what can go wrong in ultrasound and how to recognize that.
After a brief stint at Yale University in Connecticut to continue his research, Kremkau returned to Wake Forest Baptist in 1985 to become director of the Program for Medical Ultrasound, the post he’s held ever since.
In addition to the thousands of people he has taught, Kremkau has become heavily involved in the profession.
- He was president of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine from 1997-99.
- He has chaired 12 different committees of the institute, which addresses the educational needs of the profession.
- Kremkau was the longtime associate editor of the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.