by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | July 18, 2016
From the July 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HealthCare Business News recently spoke with AHRA President Ernie Cerdena to learn more about his background and to get an update regarding the association.
HCB News: What inspired you to get involved in health care?
I’ve been in health care for the past 30 years. I started as an imaging technologist and worked as a technologist performing X-ray, interventional radiology and CT for 13 years and then one year in MRI with the rest of the time in medical imaging management. My father used to work in a maternity clinic, back in the Philippines, as an attendant, helping the midwife. I would say that I was influenced from an early age. My brother is also a technologist. He’s in Texas. My sister is a registered nurse and my wife is as well. What truly inspired me is the notion of helping the sick to get better. Regardless of your position, we’re all in it together — our calling is to be there for the patient.
HCB News: How and why did you get involved in the AHRA?
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In 1999, my first leadership position in New York City was at St. Vincent’s in Manhattan. I was supervisor and then manager of the cancer center. After 9/11, I decided to stay local, so I accepted a director of radiology position, and in 2003 I joined AHRA. In this business, in order to be successful as leaders we have to have some source of networking and ability to know and learn the industry. The AHRA is the association for that. It’s great to be involved in the association — whether networking, talking to your peers, we share the same language.
It’s something that we can take with us and apply to our day-to-day operation. In 2003, I attended the annual meeting for the first time, in Anaheim, California. I met some people, there was a sign up for volunteers and I did that. I felt it was a great organization early on and decided to invest my time to find what value I could bring to, and gain from, the association.
I wrote a few articles in radiology management. They wanted me to be involved with the design team that was behind the conference. There are three major meetings — Spring, Summer (annual meeting) and Fall. I did the Fall conference for two years and the annual meeting for three years. In 2009, I was the chair of the annual meeting in Las Vegas. From there, I became more involved in the various committees. I was elected board member and then chair of the education foundation, and then elected onto the main board of the AHRA. On my third year on the board I was elected president.
HCB News: Are there any initiatives you’re championing as president?
The year I became president, or even before, as a member of the board, I thought that there was a need to really educate members of the board and AHRA staff. There was a need to understand the scope of the members of the board, which is the governance, versus the operation aspects of the association, which is the CEO and staff. So from day one, I presented the scope so everyone knew their responsibilities. As a board, as a whole, we were to meet three times as well. After the orientation I had a great feeling that everyone now understands. That gave us a solid foundation in terms of the development and implementation of our strategic plan.