By John Wallace
King’s Daughters Medical Center Imaging Director Wanda Mangum Biokua, BSHA, R.T., (R) (M) (ARRT), was reluctant to become a leader at the Brookhaven, Mississippi facility.
“My journey into radiology leadership began when my director was promoted to a COO position,” Biokua explains. “She asked me to move into her position, I was young and had no interest in being a leader at the time. She finally convinced me to take the position as an interim. I discovered I loved the work and began to thrive. I had found my calling. I became a sponge. I absorbed everything I could and began to educate myself to become a leader. I have worked for some great organizations and great people that have afforded me wonderful opportunities to grow as a leader over my career.”
Now, Biokua has her own signature style when it comes to leadership.
“Building relationships is so important. Trust and honesty – I try to make a difference in people’s lives,” is how she describes her approach to leadership. “The decisions we make can affect our employees’ ability to provide patient care and the patient’s experience. Some in small ways, others in larger ways. We should always keep this in mind when making decisions.”
“Good to Great” is one of Biokua’s favorite books and it provides one aspect of her leadership goal.
“The principle we need the ‘right people on the bus’ – it is so important to recruit the right people. The ability to adapt and perform in an everchanging field is so important. These individuals have high expectations for themselves and others. They may not be in a leadership position, but they are leaders nonetheless,” she adds. “As leaders, we must be open to learning every day. I look for team members who have strengths that balance my weaknesses.”
Leadership also means helping others.
“I really feel that my greatest professional accomplishment has been paying it forward – helping others move into leadership roles,” Biokua says. “Over the years, I have been honored to work with those who I felt would make great supervisors, chief technologists or managers. Mentoring those individuals and working closely with them I have witnessed their growth. It has helped me understand how different people are motivated and this has helped me grow as well.”
Biokua’s career success can be traced to mentors who helped her along the way.
“Dr. Mark Geller was a great mentor to me and taught me many valuable lessons. Dr. Geller was my radiology medical director and is now president and CEO of Montefiore Nyack Hospital in New York,” she says. “He encouraged me to use data and analytics to make sound decisions. He taught me to dive deep into the data and interpret the numbers to make improvements. It was under his leadership that I developed the ‘Imaging Scorecard’ I still use today.”
“Tim Moore, president and CEO of the Mississippi Hospital Association, is a leader I watch closely today. He started his career in radiology,” she adds. “Tim is a sterling example that a radiology background can influence public policy and make positive change in health care. He is working tirelessly to bring change and create better access to care for our state through Medicaid expansion.”
Diagnostic imaging is not for everyone. However, Biokua says it is a dream job for her.
“I love science and numbers. Radiology is a great field for me to apply the application of these two areas,” she says when asked why she loves her job. “Patient care is a vital piece of our work, but we must also have strong analytical skills. We have to be able to manage large volumes of expensive equipment and be strong in project management. I enjoy educating myself on the latest news and technology as it helps me keep up with the constant changes in protocols, regulations and requirements in the field.”
She echoes what many in the field say when asked about the future of diagnostic imaging.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest advancement for radiology. AI is complex, challenging and can be cost prohibitive for smaller and rural health care systems. It is important to stay abreast of the latest technology and opportunities so we can make the right decisions as it pertains to patient care and diagnostics,” Biokua says.
Away from work, Biokua creates time to stay connected with family.
“This goes back to a healthy balance of work and family. My greatest joy comes from my two children and three grandchildren. We make the time we have together as meaningful as possible,” she says.