Radiology Manager – Seeing Life Through A Lens

Michelle Alting, radiology manager at IU Health University Hospital is also a photographer.

There’s a simple piece of paper tacked above Michelle Alting’s workstation in the basement of IU Health University Hospital. It describes the qualities of a great leader. The list includes words like “Inspire,” “Teach,” “Protect,” “Remove Obstacles for Advancement,” and “Be Human.”

There’s a quote too: “If you cultivate these characteristics, you’ll become the unforgettable leader that people will respect and remember for the rest of their careers.”

It’s a reminder to Alting where she started at IU Health 28 years ago. She was in school to become a radiology technologist taking x-rays. From there she cross-trained in mammography and CT, became a team lead in fluoroscopy, and then became a supervisor over diagnostic radiology and mammography. Twelve years ago she became the manager over all of radiology.

It’s a career that found her at a young age. She watched a family member in the care of providers at Riley Hospital and knew she wanted to be a caregiver.

“I knew then that I wanted to work in the medical profession and help others,” said Alting. “I love radiology. It offers lots of opportunities because there are so many different areas where we are able to help in the patient’s diagnosis.”

Many of her patients come to IU Health for cancer treatments. She knows her role can have a profound impact on their experience.

“I’ve learned to be a good listener. Everybody has a story and it makes a big difference if you just listen,” said Alting. That affirmation comes back to her daily but she remembers one patient in particular who came in quiet and scared.

“I just held his hand and afterward his wife said, ‘you must have healing hands because you made a big difference today,’” said Alting, who grew up on the Southside of Indianapolis with a younger sister and two older brothers. She graduated from Roncalli High School and then started a career in radiology.

“I love this department. I love the people who work here – a lot of them have been here a long time. Some of the physicians were residents when I started and are now staff physicians,” said Alting.

What’s changed over the years? “We still focus on the best patient care but the equipment is more sophisticated and makes for a better diagnosis. There are a lot of good things that have happened here for patients – and a lot of miracles – people who have been here and are healed by the work here every day.”

And what about that manager role?

“She is probably the best boss I’ve had,” said Tina Ehrensberger, diagnostic radiology technician. “She has all these irons in the fire and yet she manages to stay calm. She really embodies the ideas that she thinks are important.”

More about Alting:

  • She has been married to Steve Alting for 28 years. They have two sons Tyler, 25 and Landon, 21.
  • She enjoys photography and has taken several senior pictures and photographed a few weddings.
  • Her late father Jerry DeHebreard’s father came from France and opened a French restaurant in Martinsville. Her mother is Beann DeHebreard. “Mom has always been the glue that held everything together. She really took care of all of us.”
  • What might surprise people to learn? “There’s a special place in my heart for the homeless. I don’t always talk about it but it is something I’m passionate about. During cold weather we do a big push to collect warm clothes to distribute. I used to dream of owning a big shelter.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
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