It’s no wonder Ginger Tyra had no problem fitting into her new community three years ago. The effervescent 50-year-old treats everyone she meets like an old friend.
Joining Cartersville Medical Center as director of Marketing and Public Relations in 2010, Tyra said she felt welcome in her new home.
“We moved here three years ago and didn’t know a soul. We were welcomed immediately by our work and church families, and our children thrived and made friends very quickly,” she said.
The University of Alabama graduate began a career in health care after joining an advertising firm that worked with health care entities. She now oversees the image of the award-winning and expanding Cartersville Medical Center.
With Tyra, it’s evident the hospital — and community — gained a friend.
Name: Ginger Grissom Tyra
City of Residence: Cartersville
Occupation: Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Cartersville Medical Center
Family: Husband, Kenny; stepdaughter, Kendall, 25; stepson, Jeremy, 19; daughter, Olivia, 8; cat, Aubie, 14 ?; rescue dog, Scout, 1 ?; hermit crab, Mr. Krabs from Panama City Beach, Fla.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
How did you enter the health care field?
A: Upon graduation from college, I accepted the first job I was offered, in advertising sales for a billboard company in Northwest Alabama. My client list included several hospitals and other health care entities, and I always felt at home when I was working with them. I didn’t want to be a clinician — my sister is the nurse in the family, but I knew there were marketing and public relations needs at hospitals, so I plotted a map of hospitals within a 50-mile radius, updated my resume and began making calls and pounding the pavement. I landed a job at Marion Baptist Medical Center, 57-bed hospital and nursing home in Hamilton, Ala., an affiliate of Baptist Health System where I served as administrative assistant, medical staff coordinator, physician recruiter, marketing and public relations coordinator, volunteer chaplain coordinator and auxiliary coordinator. I wore several hats, but credit that time as the most critical learning period of my career.
What do you see as the largest obstacle facing Cartersville Medical Center?
A: First, not just Cartersville Medical Center, but hospitals across the nation are experiencing a growing number of uninsured and underinsured patients, in addition to government reimbursement cuts, which impacts the business side of health care as well as health care costs.
Second, in some cases, the perception of “bigger is better” still exists in our community. We have some of the most talented, well-trained and skilled physicians and staff right here at Cartersville Medical Center, yet many people don’t realize it. We are Chest Pain Center accredited, a Certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center, accredited Cancer Center, accredited Diabetes Education program, and provide Gold Seal accredited Mammography services. CMC is one of only four hospitals in the state of Georgia to earn Disease Specific Care Advanced Inpatient Diabetes Certification. We are a Joint Commission Top Performing Hospital on Key Quality Measures for Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia and Surgical Care. Additionally, Cartersville Medical Center was recently ranked No. 5 among the state’s “Top Small Hospitals” by Georgia Trend Magazine and has been awarded, for the third consecutive period, an “A” Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group. These are all national or state awards from organizations that recognize the high quality patient care we provide.
The expansion project — how will that help our health care community and the face of our county?
A: The investment signifies the commitment of Cartersville Medical Center and our parent company, HCA, to provide and enhance service offerings as our hospital, Bartow County and neighboring communities continue to grow. Upon completion, patient rooms will be upgraded, a new patient floor dedicated to Ortho/Neuro services will be added, the emergency department will more than double in size and number of treatment rooms and patient rooms will all be private. This is an exciting time for our hospital and community.
What do you enjoy most about your position?
A: No two days are the same. Though I’m not a clinician, I have the opportunity every single day to serve and make a difference in others’ lives. When researching new services, I sometimes observe procedures or surgeries and I interview amazing patients and staff. If there is a local disaster or crisis, I serve as media spokesperson and am a member of the command center at the hospital — that seems to fulfill my adrenaline rush needs! I enjoy editing our quarterly community magazine, Connect, as well as writing press releases, developing marketing and media plans, managing our social media and websites and coordinating community health events.
My position also affords me the opportunity to serve other organizations in the community. I currently serve on the Advocates for Children Board of Trustees and I am excited to be joining the 2013-14 Leadership Bartow class in August.
If you could be doing anything — a dream job — what would it be?
A: In my next life, I would love to be journalist/photographer for Conde’ Nast Traveler. Cool.
What makes Bartow County special?
A: First and foremost, the people. We moved here three years ago and didn’t know a soul. We were welcomed immediately by our work and church families, and our children thrived and made friends very quickly. From the baseball field to the tumbling gym to the classroom, there has always been someone with a smile and friendly conversation.
Next, everything we need is here. Shopping, great schools, excellent health care, community theatre ... all within 10 minutes of home or work. And, we’re still within a comfortable driving distance to beaches and mountains.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I played keyboards in a basement band during the summer before college. In the early ’90s I was a certified scuba diver, and in the late ’90s, early ’00s, I loved going to NASCAR races. Again, adrenaline junkie.
Favorite medical TV show? Why?
A: “House, MD.” He’s just so incredibly quirky — love him! Also, “MASH” reruns.
What is your favorite meal?
A: Fresh seafood, pasta and salad.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things could you not live without?
A: My family, Diet Coke and a good, thick book by Dorothea Benton Frank. Maybe I can learn to make soap and toothpaste while I’m there.