Cindy Winter, PhD, FAHRA, CRA, Director of Radiology and Patient Transportation was an officer in the United States Merchant Marine who worked on liquefied natural tankers in Asia when she was diagnosed with colon cancer at 29. This diagnosis ended her time at sea, but it would lead her to a career that allows her to care for patients who need it the most.
"In 1996, I underwent surgery to remove my colon, and right after the surgery, I was cancer-free," Winter said. "The experience with radiology and oncology and the people I met inspired me to learn more. I completed my radiography and ultrasound programs at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Since I was in a leadership role in the Merchant Marines, I went into radiology, then on to leadership."
Although Winter's journey to overcoming her diagnosis sparked her passion for radiology, her leadership quality was fueled by wanting to create a legacy for her family.
"My dad is Native American, and he's from White Earth Reservation. My mother was a first-generation American whose parents were from Germany. Neither of them finished school, so they weren't well-educated," Winter said. "So, for me, it was essential that I go beyond. I felt like my mom was a great leader, but she needed that education. That prompted me to attend school and become the first in my family to graduate high school and college. I earned my bachelor's, master's, and doctorate."
The time she dedicated to improving her family's legacy has been a success thus far, prompting her daughter to go into the medical field. That dream is what led Winter to JPS Health Network.
"My daughter was back and forth between becoming a radiologist or veterinarian since the first grade," Winter said. "She finally decided to become a veterinarian with a focus in radiology. She wanted to go to TCU. I worked at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare in Florida then and decided to move to Fort Worth to become a resident, and JPS was a good fit. It was where I needed to be, and the mission resonated with me."
It's been four years since Winter joined JPS, and she loves caring for the patient population and her colleagues, who have become more like family than work partners.
"It has been the compassion of working with people that inspires me," Winter said. "It is key for me to help the population and those who can't care for themselves. When we look at the population around Tarrant County, they don't have as much of a support system without JPS, so I love the ability to give that care to our community."
Many women in leadership are responsible for more than their duties in the workplace. They have to balance their personal life with their career, which can be challenging. To overcome barriers and push past adversity is an inspiration.
"Here at JPS, reporting to a female Vice President and having our CEO be a woman is exciting and empowering," Winter said. "It makes me feel proud to be a woman in leadership, and I am proud of what I've done and how far I've come in my career."