Tosca Bridges Takes on New Role with Gusto

The recent redesign of UCSF Health imaging operations created a new Chief Imaging Officer role and eight new director positions to support regional and programmatic expansion of imaging services. As our new team members are hired, we’ll introduce them and share how they each contribute to UCSF’s ongoing work to ensure the highest quality patient care. This is the first article in the series. 

Tosca Bridges photographed with a smile in a hunter green sweater at UCSF Parnassus Heights.

To learn more about Tosca Bridges, recently named Interim Director, Imaging Operations – Adult Hospital, we joined her early morning rounds at the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights.

Full of energy and her characteristic optimism, Bridges briskly observed that “Radiology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and we are seeing great demand for imaging at UCSF.”  Bridges is enthusiastic about her new position and considers it an extension of her previous roles in Diagnostic Radiology – as a technologist, an educator, and a regulatory compliance and safety leader – but on a larger scale. 

Bridges first came to UCSF as a traveling technologist in 2002, working at UCSF on and off for five years, before gaining more experience in education with roles at Stanford and John Muir Health. In 2022, she returned to UCSF as Chief Manager of Diagnostic Radiology, leading a team responsible for 250,000 imaging exams each year in collaboration with many different service lines.

“I have come full circle – from starting as a dark room tech, to a radiologic technologist performing direct patient care, to a radiology clinical instructor and educator teaching radiation safety and various courses to surgeons, technologists, and students,” said Bridges. “I have experienced every aspect of radiology, and that gives me a unique perspective and helps me understand what leadership looks like at every level.”

Growing up in Mississippi, she worked as a dark room technician in college, processing film for technologists while she completed her studies. At 25-years-old, she set out to be a traveling technologist. She had never been on an airplane before, so she hopped in her car and drove all over the country.

“My dad gave me the motivation,” she said. “I was a daddy’s girl. He taught me everything I know, including how to drive and he raised me to be independent and to take care of myself.”

Today, as the main point of contact for imaging operations for the adult hospitals, Bridges collaborates with the Radiology Operations Committee, Perioperative Triad Collaboration, and procedural areas to ensure that inpatient imaging operations run smoothly, and patients are getting the care they need.

Tosca Bridges in a radiology patient room with colleagues.

Bridges has oversight of all imaging modality units – Diagnostic Radiology, MRI, CT, and Ultrasound, Interventional Radiology, Molecular Imaging & Therapeutics, and Mammography – at UCSF’s Parnassus, Mission Bay, and Mount Zion adult hospitals. Bridges works closely with modality unit managers and supervisors at each site to ensure timely patient access to imaging, meet quality and safety goals, hire new technologists, lead in-service & cross-training efforts, and participate in the selection of new imaging equipment.

A key aspect of Bridges’ recent work includes her collaboration with the radiation safety committee, faculty modality chief Kimberly Kallianos, MD (CT), and Diagnostic Medical Physics Director Michael Hoff, PhD for their work to revise patient shielding guidelines. Bridges also continues to work closely with Abdominal Imaging and Ultrasound Chief Dr. Zhen Jane Wang in driving fluoroscopy initiatives.

Bridges describes her leadership style as that of a servant leader. “I understand the staff and where they're coming from because I've come from there too,” she said. Journaling since childhood, Bridges stays introspective, often reflecting on how to be her best self, while absorbing key learnings from the many leadership books she enjoys reading. Her regular yoga practice helps to maintain her high spirits in part by “twisting herself into a pretzel” to release tension she says.

“When life gets difficult, there’s always a silver lining,” said Bridges, brimming with positivity. She recalled taking care of her father when he struggled with dementia, alongside her mom – an experience that brought them closer together. “We’re like sisters now,” she said, knowing her father would be very happy to see how close they are now.

Family has always been a shining light of inspiration in Bridges life. “My very classy, runway-ready grandmother taught me how to be my authentic self. If she could see me now, she would be very, very proud,” said Bridges.

Today, Bridges describes herself as grateful, invigorated, confident in who she is, and open to learning. She is a winning combination for success, as she plays a vital role in ushering in the next generation of imaging innovation and expansion of radiology services.

“In this role, I get to use all of my unique experiences and I am having a great time doing it!” said Bridges.

By Arleen Bandarrae