By John Wallace
In Middletown, New York, Garnet Health Medical Center Director of Diagnostic Imaging Joyce Timko faces challenges on an almost daily basis … and she loves it! In fact, those challenges are one of the things she loves about her career choice.
“I love that every day brings a new challenge to find a solution to. I love puzzles and I feel radiology is a key piece to help solve the puzzle when it comes to patient care,” Timko says. “We get to use cutting edge technology, produce amazing images of the body, help patients and doctors, and the interaction with patients and staff all while trying to answer the question what is wrong with the patient or how can we help the patient get better. Even in administration, there are puzzles and challenges every day that need innovative ideas and solutions. We are working in unprecedented times allowing administrators and staff technologists to be innovative in their every day.”
Her ability to lead and troubleshoot and just a few of her talents.
MTMI Global President Ernesto A. Cerdena first met Timko almost two decades ago. He is not surprised by her success. Her work ethic and desire to help others are among the traits that stood out when she worked with Cerdena.
“I have known Joyce for the past 18 years. I hired her as a newly grad mammo technologist from Quinnipiac University in 2002, and mentored to take on additional responsibilities. She was eventually promoted to PACS administrator and radiology manager roles,” Cerdena wrote in an email. “She went back to school to complete her graduate degree and began working on her Ph.D. as well. She has held numerous imaging leadership positions, participated and presented with the AHRA.”
So, how did it all start for Timko? Like many diagnostic imaging leaders she found her calling early in life.
“While in high school, I participated in an Allied Health program associated with our community college for credit. The program was an introduction to the health field and health science including shadowing at our local hospital,” Timko recalls. “When I started the program, I thought I wanted to go into physical therapy, however my rotation in radiology changed my mind. Seeing the work being done in radiology, the film/screen technique, the one-slice and four-slice CT scanners, and the images produced completely fascinated me. I knew in the 11th grade of high school this was the field I wanted to pursue.”
Once she made the decision, Timko worked hard to become the first in her family to attend college and earn a degree. She earned a bachelor’s degree in radiology and a Master of Business Administration. She is currently working on a doctorate in health care administration.
She no doubt leads by example, but when asked to describe her leadership style she says, “My approach to leadership is to always stay positive, be approachable/available, be willing to jump in when needed, truly understand my teams’ work by walking in their shoes and, of course, have fun and laugh.”
“I will not ask my team to do anything I am not willing to do myself or with them,” she adds. “If they need help moving a patient, talking to a patient, positioning a difficult patient or just someone to vent to – I am there for them (including having their favorite chocolate bars for when a pick me up is needed). My team knows they can call me any time. Being positive is extremely important to me, even on the worst days there is always a positive aspect to be found.”
In addition, Timko stays informed by monitoring the latest trends and reading up on hot topics.
“I am always learning and researching, looking for opportunities to improve our workflow, patient care, and work environment. It is through the continual learning process and staying positive, we will learn to accept change, even embrace change to bring our department and quality of care to the next level,” she says.
It is not a surprise that she lists Ernie Cerdena as her first mentor.
“He was my leader at my first job after graduation from Quinnipiac in 2002 when I was a multi-modality tech performing mammography, X-ray and CT scan. He saw something in me and helped to develop my leadership by including me in the budget process, providing me with extra responsibility, stressing the importance to be involved with the AHRA community and continued learning,” she recalls. “He supported my plans to peruse a master’s degree while we worked together. Ernie promoted me to PACS administrator and X-ray supervisor. Along the way he continued to provide guidance and be a sounding board. To this day, 18 years later, if I have a question or need advice Ernie is available. I truly value the friendship and mentorship Ernie provided then when I was new grad and today.”
Away from work, Timko and her husband, Bryan, live in Orange County, New York with their two-year-old Siberian Husky, Bella.
Director, Diagnostic Imaging
Garnet Health Medical Center, formerly Orange Regional Medical Center
- What is the last book you read? Or, what book are you reading currently?
“Cemetery Road” by Greg Iles was the most recent book. I prefer audio books as I can read (listen) while commuting, at the gym, or when working around our property and splitting wood.
- Favorite movie?
“The Bird Cage”
- What is something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?
My all-time favorite vehicle is a VW Bus. Recently I sold my 1976 VW Bus and am currently keeping my eye out for the perfect VW Bus (preferably one from the later 1960s)
- Who is your mentor?
Ernie Cerdena was my first mentor and continues to provide support today. Currently Gene Bernieri, the vice president over imaging, provides guidance and support.
- What is one thing you do every morning to start your day?
My husky, Bella, and I go for a walk to get the day started.
- Best advice you ever received?
Focus on what you have control over and make positive changes until you have achieved your goal(s).
- Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My parents. They both worked extremely hard to make sure my brother and I knew we could do anything in life we wanted and when times get tough you still could have fun even if that means going for a Sunday drive, getting lost and finding a new restaurant for lunch. I learned from my parents that tomorrow will be better than today, and never give up on your dreams.
- What are your hobbies?
Reading, going to the gym (pre-COVID), and recently I have taken up crocheting.
- What is your perfect meal?
Enjoying a BBQ of hot dogs, hamburgers and corn on the cobb with family and friends