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In Focus: Brenda DeBastiani, CRA, FAHRA

Brenda DeBastiani, CRA, FAHRA, is the director of imaging at Mon Health Medical Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. As a West Virginia native, she enjoys giving back to her community.

She is a lifelong learner who recently completed her Master of Business Administration and is longtime member of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators (AHRA). She serves as a member of the AHRA board of directors, is a noted speaker/presenter, a textbook editor and holds a Lean Sigma Six green belt.

All of these accomplishments assist her in her career and with her passion to serve as a leader. DeBastiani has served in medical imaging management for 20 years and has been active in the medical imaging community for 35 years.

It all began when she was a teenager.

“When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to go into the medical field. So, I was looking all around,” she said. “When I went in for a radiology interview and job shadowing, I fell in love with radiology.”

Her career started via a 48-month program with only two months off. DeBastiani loved the work from the beginning.

“I love helping people so that is why I knew I wanted to go into health care and radiology,” she said.

However, it was not easy work by any means. Early in her career she worked for a variety of different places – at the same time. She had at least two jobs from July 1986 until October 1989. She worked at an orthopedic clinic, a family practice, an after-hours clinic and a hospital.

“I had three jobs when I first started. I did that for two years,” she shared. “I got a full-time job at ortho clinic and came here (to the hospital) and worked the midnight shift. In 1989, I came back to the hospital full-time.”

When asked about her greatest accomplishment, DeBastiani paused and shared several.

“That is really a tough question because I believe having a full-time job, raising my two kids – who are adults now – and furthering my education all at the same time was my greatest accomplishment,” she said. “I started late and went back and got my bachelor’s degree. I just got my MBA in December.”

The combination of a career she loves and her relentless desire to learn serve her well in her leadership role at Mon Health Medical Center.

“I am very passionate about imaging and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” DeBastiani said. “I love helping people. I love change and my job requires me to embrace change with new technology which can also mean new complications and new puzzles to figure out.”

“All those things make me love my job,” she added. “It is never boring.”

DeBastiani practices transformational leadership with a focus on team building. She empowers everyone she works with and never ceases to be amazed at what they can accomplish from everyday tasks to problem solving major issues.

“Our team will step up and come up with a fix that I never even thought of,” she said when praising those that she works with at Mon Health Medical Center.

Her leadership style is ever evolving and is a trait she constantly tries to improve. She holds the title director of imaging, but she knows being a leader requires good communication including listening to others.

“I have been a leader for most of my life, so I know when to lead and when to follow. Being a good leader sometimes means being a good follower, so I am able to do both very well,” DeBastiani told AHRA during her candidacy for the board of directors.

“I have good facilitator skills which are necessary for an excellent leader. I am always willing to pitch in to help a person in need, and that means that I’m not telling someone how to do something, but guiding them,” she added. “That makes for an excellent leader. I am always honest, fair and reasonable, which are all characteristics required to be an excellent leader.”

Her work ethic and management skills may also be in her DNA.

“Dad was a mechanic who worked on heavy duty mining equipment like coal trucks and bulldozers. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and was wonderful. She was the family manager,” DeBastiani said.

She also values the mentors who helped her rise through the radiology ranks.

“Peggy Pust was a great mentor for me. She was my director when I was a supervisor. She is the one who actually got me involved with the ARHA and that was life changing for me,” DeBastiani said.

She recalled how she was on a design team which required her to step outside of her comfort zone and be more of an extrovert. The change was noticeable.

“My husband joked with me, ‘Who are you?’” she recalled with a laugh.

Her mentor made such a strong impression that DeBastiani is now serving as a mentor to others.

“I have been mentoring two young leaders who are supervisors who report to me. They are awesome,” she said. “It is really rewarding for me to watch them grow.”

Away from work, DeBastiani said she enjoys living in close proximity to her extended family. They are able to see and interact with each other on a regular basis. She said it was great when her children were younger because many of the cousins could come to birthday parties.

“My mom, dad, brother, sister and all of their families all live close together, probably within 30 minutes. I have great nieces and nephews and we celebrate birthdays with them,” she shared.

The medical imaging community is stronger with individuals like DeBastiani among its ranks. Her strong work ethic, leadership skills and desire to help others indicate a bright future for the imaging community.

In Focus Nomination

  • The In Focus feature shines a spotlight on radiology and imaging directors from throughout the nation. We share information about their education and career with the readers of ICE. The article serves as a look at leaders who are making a positive impact and who serve as role models and mentors in the field.
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