Spotlight: Cynthia Hammond, MBA, RT

Cynthia Hammond, MBAMay 8, 2020

Early in her career, Cynthia Hammond, the Quality and Safety Manager for UCSF Health Radiology, learned two powerful lessons from her mentor, Alexa Canady, MD: focus on the positive and maintain your own integrity. A Detroit native, Cynthia was fortunate, as a new supervisor at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, to work with Dr. Canady, the first African-American woman neurosurgeon in the United States. For 10 years, Cynthia watched and learned from Dr. Canady, noticing how her mentor worked within a system that was not always accepting of a trailblazing African American woman physician, defused tense and heart-breaking situations with patients, and developed relationships with operating room teams that seemed almost like an extension of her because their communication and rapport felt so seamless. Cynthia recalls that “Dr. Canady respected all of her staff, patients, and their family members. She taught me that you can help people get through horrific situations by being open, honest and showing compassion.” Cynthia’s compassion and dedication to her profession were also influenced by hearing author Maya Angelou speak at a live event. Cynthia remembers, “Angelou said that People won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel. So, I focus on making patients and staff feel that I care about them.”

While Cynthia’s work home has long been in teaching hospitals, she worked for several years at a for-profit medical practice, but found that it was not her preferred environment due to high staff turnover and a work setting that did not prioritize mentorship and building teams and leadership from within. Following her work experience in the for-profit sector, Cynthia joined UCSF in 2007 first as Chief Radiologic Technologist, then as the site manager for UCSF Mount Zion Radiology and UCSF Montgomery Street Radiology, and in 2018 earned a promotion to her current role. Upon returning to a teaching institution, Cynthia remarked that she was “so glad to again work with doctors early in their careers. I enjoy watching them progress through their training.” At UCSF, Cynthia noted that she still relies on Dr. Canady’s example, noting that an important value in education is “not faulting people for what they don’t know. Instead, model the next level.”

Just as mentoring has been central to her professional life, Cynthia has made time over the years to mentor young people through Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (founded in 1913 at Howard University), the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. As a working, single parent, Cynthia joined Big Brothers Big Sisters during her son’s teen years so that he would have a strong male role model to go to for questions and advice. At the same time, Cynthia was surprised to find how much she enjoyed mentoring young women who did not have strong and positive female role models in their lives. Cynthia is still in contact with a ‘little sister’ whom she started mentoring more than 20 years ago and is very proud of the professional woman and parent this ‘little sister’ has become. Through her participation in Delta Sigma Theta, Cynthia contributes to this service sorority’s long history of promoting education, political awareness, philanthropy, and social justice. Recent projects include working with her sorors to fundraise for COVID-19 affected communities, leading college tours for teens, and sponsoring a year-long debutante program that includes workshops on life skills such as financial and time management, etiquette, and setting education goals. Cynthia is proud to note that her son and daughter-in-law continue this family tradition of service and mentoring through involvement in their own organizations.

Outside of work Cynthia likes to sew, from costumes to face-masks, and loves to travel and spend time with her family and friends.

By L. Delgado

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