Council Of Allied Professionals Founders
Susan L. Song, BSN, RN, FHRS
Jennifer A. Fraser, RN, FHRS, CCDS
Marleen E. Irwin, RCVT, RRT, FHRS, CCDS
Allied professionals have been active from the earliest days of the Society. In 1978, Susan Song, BSN, RN, FHRS, was the Coordinator of the FDA Pacemaker Registry for Dr. Michael Bilitch, who was credited with first conceiving of a medical society dedicated to pacing and electrophysiology. She immediately recognized the potential for this type of specialized organization and volunteered to help organize NASPE’s first Scientific Session in 1980.
At NASPE’s 5th Scientific Session (and first standalone meeting) in 1984, Jennifer A. Fraser, RN, FHRS, CCDS, advocated for the Society to provide educational opportunities designed to meet the specific needs of non-physician clinicians involved in clinical pacing. NASPE’s Executive Committee was immediately receptive to the idea and she got to work. She was joined by Marleen E. Irwin, RCVT, RRT, FHRS, CCDS, and Susan Song, and the Council of Associated Professionals (later changed to Allied Professionals) was born.
Their first focus was to design specialized training for allied professionals and they worked fast. The 6th Scientific Session, held in Toronto in 1986, offered four “programs for nursing contact hours.” Irwin and Song served as faculty for two of the topics: “a practical and clinical approach to pacemaker therapy and long term assessment“ and “the multicenter pacemaker registry,” respectively. A third AP, Lynn Edwards Strauss, taught a session on “the role of the associated professional in the pacemaker clinic and in the operating room” and Ralph Gallagher, a senior research assistant in the pacemaker clinic of NASPE founder Victor Parsonnet, spoke about “considerations in treatment of patients with tachycardia.”
CAP co-founder Marleen Irwin also worked with Dr. Furman to develop the idea of a credentialing program, which he established as NASPExAM (later renamed IBHRE) in 1985. She joined the NASPExAM writing committee for physicians in 1987, noting questions that were “appropriate for APs” to create a pool of questions for a future exam. In 1989, the first APs sat for their own credentialing exam. Today, nearly one quarter of HRS’s membership is composed of allied professionals.