1976 - The Beginning
In response to a request from the EMG section of the CSEECN, Dr. William Pryse-Phillips (St. John’s) chaired a three man committee to look into the recognition of EMG techs. The other two members of this committee were Dr. Adrian Upton (Hamilton) and Dr. William Brown (London). It very definitely was felt by members of the EMG section of CSEECN that the special skills and training of EMG technologists should be recognized.
In March of this year Dr. Pryse-Phillips asked Muriel Fullerton to sit on a steering committee, whose task would be to (1) develop a registry of people working as technicians in EMG in Canada and (2) to work on an acceptable basis for form registration in collaboration with the CSEECN (EMG Section). In June of this year an organizational meeting for EMG techs was held at Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City. Present were Dr. Pryse-Phillips, Dr. M. Brandstater, Stephen Yates, Graham Walsh and Muriel Fullerton.
A draft report written by Dr. Pryse-Phillips’ committee was reviewed and a number of revisions were deemed necessary. Dr. Pryse-Phillips prepared a new draft which was circulated to the EMG section of the CSEECN who would vote on it by mail. There was a unanimous agreement to form a provisional association of the EMG Technologists of Canada (AETC). Stephen Yates accepted the position of President, Graham Walsh, Vice President and Muriel Fullerton as Secretary/Treasurer. Dr.Pryse-Phillips and Dr. Murray Brandstater would be the liaison with CSEECN.
Dr.Pryse-Phillips was to explore the possibility with Dr. Blume and CBRET of setting up a board to register EMG techs and also EMG techs joining CAET under their own separate organization. During the fall of 1977 and spring of 1978 Graham Walsh and Muriel Fullerton drafted up a proposed Constitution for our provisional association. From a letter sent to EMG physicians by the EMG section of CSEECN we obtained the names of approximately 27 technicians doing EMG and we commenced recruitment of members for our Association.
The EMG section of CSEECN endorsed the concept of registration for EMG technicians and the first examination took place in June 1978 in Vancouver and in September 1978 in Hamilton. At the June meeting of CSEECN (EMG Section) a report of the first EMG technologist examination was given with an endorsement for a registry of EMG technologists. The registry was to be kept under the auspices of the AETC.
In June the annual meeting of CSEECN was held in Halifax and six techs were in attendance. We held an informal luncheon and business meeting and we agreed that the most important issue was to get our association established. It was felt there were insufficient number of techs present to establish the Association or conduct official business at this meeting. We agreed to redraft the Constitution and Bylaws. Although we were not formally constituted as an Association the group decided to have membership dues to at least offset expenses. Muriel remained as acting Secretary.
In June the annual meeting of CSEECN was held in Ottawa at the Chateau Laurier with 15 techs present. On June 18, 1980 the Constitution and Bylaws for the Association was adopted. We became an official association. We also had a means of communication. We officially would have a Newsletter, “Facts and Fibs”, editor Kris Carter. The first issue was September 4, 1980.
In June 1981, the annual meeting of CSEECN was held in Calgary. Frustrating and disappointing. Only four techs attended and we were unable to formally conduct any business.
Our name was officially registered. We had a representative, S. Sharma, on the registration board. Up to this date everything was controlled by the EMG section of the CSEECN. The AETC logo was designed. Our name was searched and officially accepted. There were 19 registered members that year. Dues were set at $30 for registered members and $12 for non-registered members. A mail vote was distributed thirty days before the annual meeting for those voting members unable to attend. Unopened envelopes were to be taken to the meeting to be included in the tally of votes. In April of 1982 Dr. M. Brandstater, Dr. W. Brown and Kristine Carter, RT (EMG) recommended that the Canadian Society of Electroencephalographers, Electromyographers and Clinical Neurophysiologists establish an examination committee; that training requirements for EMG technologists, priorities, objectives and the format of the exam be reviewed. The June meeting of the CSEECN was held in Toronto. Very poor response. Unable to recruit members for board position. Newsletter editor had resigned. Not sure of survival of Association.
Meeting held in Toronto in conjunction with AAEE and AAET in September. The meeting was a tremendous success. Our American counterparts gave us much needed enthusiasm, etc. The AAET presented a wonderful scientific session. The association pin was designed and produced with assistance from DISA Electronics Ltd. In Scarborough who agreed to underwrite the dye cost. A Job Centre or Exchange was established and coordinated by Ray Yaworksi, RT (EMG) for members interested in relocating.
There was a good representation by our techs at this meeting in Edmonton and we held our very first scientific session. Dr. Bolton spoke briefly to us during our business meeting. He stated that the EMG section physicians were pleased by our progress and he gave us a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement. Ray Yaworski, RT (EMG) published the first AETC Journal in January 1984 and circulated it to the membership, then totalling 32. The Journal, with its new title, look and intended publishing schedule of four times per year, was created in an attempt to publish articles of interest, educate, stimulate discussion and entertain. Ray predicted, in that first issue, that if the AETC continued to “improve as slowly as we have been, it will probably be ten years before our goal will be realized.”
Montreal. A very good meeting was held with 15 techs present and our second scientific session was held. It was unanimously agreed by all that we must make even greater efforts. We left Montreal feeling pleased with ourselves and very enthused about our 1986 meeting in London.
There were almost 50 members in the AETC. It was a year of great Constitutional reform, although this is a trend that has continued into the 1990’s.
The CSCN wrote to the AETC in June of 1987 regarding an offer of affiliation. A motion had been passed in Vancouver at the Annual CSCN Meeting to offer affiliate status to our association with the prime purpose of this to allow EMG technicians access, upon payment of the appropriate fee, to the courses at the Canadian Congress of Neurological Sciences. The CSCN would also try to ensure access to the scientific sessions at the Congress. At our annual meeting that year the offer was examined and it was revealed that we had already been enjoying these privileges, with the exception of some courses that were distinguished as “physician only.” The same year the AETC was approached by the CAET to enquire whether the AETC would be interested in amalgamating with a neurophysiology society. This was not the first time the AETC faced this offer, but as before, turned it down because a large percentage of our membership works within the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
There were 64 AETC members in 1988. The AETC was approached by the BC Institute of Technology to provide input for their EMG curriculum. The Examination Committee prepared a syllabus of techniques for pre-exam preparation. A vote at the annual meeting that year provided funding of economy travel and accommodation for the Executive to ensure their attendance at future meetings.
Committee became the Examination and Education Committee at that year’s The first basic workshop of the AETC was held in Ottawa in 1989. The Examination business meeting.
The AETC membership totalled 84. Proposals were made regarding changes in the practical and written portions of the registration examination during a meeting with the CSCN examiners and efforts were made to create a job profile for the Journal Editor at the meeting in Banff.
The AETC celebrated its 40th Anniversary in Quebec City. This milestone was highlighted during our celebratory Gala Dinner, during which we heard from guest speakers, Dr. Amanda Fiander and Dr. Shannon Venance. The Gala was concluded with a commemorative review of the History of the AETC, which included congratulatory messages from some of the Association's founding members.
Prepared by Muriel Fullerton.