“My father was a true professional and he believed that the patients deserved the best care possible. That was my father’s philosophy. That’s the way he was trained. He spent time with the patients to make sure they understood what he was doing and to make sure that they were satisfied with the results of his service to them. And he instilled that attitude among all of his colleagues.” – Michael Ty, son of Dr. James Ty
The James S. Ty, MD Memorial Award is given to Guthrie Medical Imaging team members at any of the health system’s five hospitals who exemplify the team’s core values: patient-centeredness, teamwork, service to referring physicians, passion for imaging excellence, honesty, and integrity. These values were central to the work of Dr. James Ty, for whom the award is named. Dr. Ty worked as a radiologist at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital for 15 years.
“Being a member of the Guthrie Health System was very important to him,” says Michael Ty, Dr. Ty’s son. “He enjoyed his work. He was always the first one in to work and the last one out of there, and he would make sure that all the work was done before he left to go home. My dad loved working at the Robert Packer Hospital. He was very passionate about what he was doing.”
After his death, the James S. Ty, MD Memorial Award was created thanks to donations from the Ty family. The first award was given in 1996. Since then, 22 Guthrie Medical Imaging employees have been recognized as winners or first runners-up. Award winners and runners-up receive scholarship money they can put toward medical education-related pursuits such as earning a degree or attending educational conferences.
“It’s very important for our family to support the legacy my father left and see that it continues,” Michael says. “He’d be very honored by this award. He would have loved to see something of this magnitude if he was still alive.”
From Winner to Organizer
After joining the Guthrie Medical Imaging team in 2010, Harold Hulings, RT, now an Interventional Radiology Supervisor at Robert Packer Hospital and Guthrie Corning Hospital, attended the award ceremony and saw the plaque engraved with the recipients’ names. Right then he set a goal for himself: that one day he would be nominated for the award. In 2015 Hulings achieved that goal. Not only was he nominated, he won.
“When I got the nomination, I was in disbelief,” Hulings says. “I was thrilled, and honestly, I didn’t think that I had a chance to win it. It was such an honor just to be nominated by my peers.”
Hulings used his award money to attend a seven-day national interventional radiology conference, where he was able to hear about advanced procedures straight from the health care professionals who perform them, learn about new products, and network with other interventional radiology department supervisors.
Now, Hulings is on the award committee that collects the nominations and helps determine the winners.
“When you read the nominations, you realize how many wonderful things the people here are doing,” he says.
Hulings also helps plan, and serves as master of ceremonies at, the annual awards ceremony, which Michael and his mother usually fly in from Las Vegas to attend. The ceremony, and a more private dinner afterward, give Dr. Ty’s family the opportunity to connect with the nominees and their families, and to share stories about Dr. Ty with those who did not know him.
All Guthrie Medical Imaging team members – doctors, nurses, front desk staff, administrators, and everyone in between – are eligible for the award. That is because the values the award celebrates are at the heart of each Medical Imaging staff member’s work.
“‘Every Patient. Every Time.’ is not just a slogan here. We’re committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those we’re lucky enough to serve,” Hulings says. “With imaging, sometimes we only see a patient for 15 minutes. If you can make a little difference or offer them help in some way or just give them a reason to smile in that brief period that they’re with you, that means a lot. If you can have a positive impact, that gives you a good feeling.”
According to Michael Ty, that is exactly how his father approached his work.
“My father was a very kind person,” Michael says. “He wanted to make sure that patients got the care they deserved.”