Jody L. Hancock, associate professor and director of diagnostic medical sonography programs at ChattanoogaState Community College, and 2012 cardiovascular sonography graduate Tonya Epperson recently placed first in the sonographer presentation competition at the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography annual conference in Seattle, Wash.

As a result, Hancock and Epperson’s research abstract will be published in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Hancock, who has been with Chattanooga State since 1993, has a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix and is a registered diagnostic medical sonographer, registered vascular technologist and registered technologist.


Epperson,a general radiographer from Nancy, Ky., graduated in August from Chattanooga State’s regionally accredited Cardiovascular Sonography Program.

Her interest in research on mesenteric arterial assessment began as an inquiry during her first semester after attending one of Hancock’s course sessions in the Cardiovascular Sonography Program. Hancock encouraged Epperson to hold onto her question so they might explore it together as a formal research question.

Vicky Leather, former dean of library services at Chattanooga State, and other members of Chattanooga State’s library staff worked with Epperson as she began her literature review. Hancock supervised the development of Epperson’s methodology, as well as the review, results and revision processes of her research work.

“Tonya Epperson’s work is a prime example for sonographers to follow, and her work will serve well into the future as a straightforward research model for other sonography students at Chattanooga State to consider,” Hancock said in a prepared statement. “When a sonographer recognizes what appears to be a pattern or has a question about protocol development, he or she can use professional tools, such as literature review and research methodology, to assist in solving his or her own dilemma.”

Hancock and Epperson intend to further edit the results and conclusions of their pilot study and submit the work for publication consideration in a peer-reviewed professional journal, officials said. If accepted for publication, Epperson will assume primary authorship of the published work, with Jody Hancock as the co-author.