Notice: This article is more than one year old and is part of the Henry Ford College news archive. Information in the article may be outdated. For the most current news and information about Henry Ford College, please visit, or contact
Release Date: 
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Husband, wife alumni credit careers, marriage to HFCC's Radiographer Program

By Kurt Anthony Krug

Upon graduation from HFCC's Radiographer Program, Dan and Carolyn Attard were hired by Oakwood Health Systems as Radiologic (X-ray) Technologists.

'We did our clinical rotations at Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center (in Dearborn). They liked us as students and they hired us right off the bat,' said Carolyn, who is a registered radiologic technologist, specializing in X-rays. She is currently a clinical instructor in the Radiographer Program at HFCC.

It was also at Oakwood in 2003 where Carolyn met her husband Dan, who just graduated from the program and is a registered radiologic technologist, specializing in both X-rays and Computerized Tomography (CT). The couple became engaged in 2004 and married in September 2005, just one month after Carolyn graduated from the program.

In their jobs as radiologic technologists, the Attards utilize various forms of medical technology--such as X-ray equipment, computerized digital readers, and CT scanners--to create images of patients’ tissues, organs, bones and vessels that comprise the human body.

When requested by a physician, it is the radiologic technologist who is responsible for creating these images in a safe and precise manner. One of the radiologic technologist's major responsibilities is using radiation properly. When not properly utilized, ionizing radiation is hazardous to the health of both the patient and the radiologic technologist.  

Therefore, the radiologic technologist is trained to understand radiation and be aware of its potential dangers. This knowledge serves to protect both the patient and the radiologic to create a safe environment. It is the radiologist--a doctor specifically trained in the interpretation of these images--who makes a diagnosis of the final image.

The HFCC Radiographer Program, which is housed in the Health Careers Division and directed by Sharon Wu, is a full-time program that spans 22 months and offers both academic and clinical coursework. The program is so rigorous that it is highly recommended that outside employment not exceed 20 hours/week.

According to Carolyn, the program 'has really upped its game.' An online Principles of CT course is now offered and digital X-ray technology content has been integrated into the curriculum. Energized X-ray equipment and a Computed Radiography reader have been installed in the Imaging Lab next to the classroom. Students in the Radiographer Program are now able to expose anatomical phantoms and do exposure experiments in the lab.

The HFCC Radiographer Program has a highly effective curriculum design.  Academic and clinical courses run concurrently throughout the program.  This theory into practice curriculum model works well with community college students.  Some strengths indicated in the program's 2010 Exit Student Surveys included 'great curriculum, learning and going to clinicals at the same time, instructors explain lessons several ways so everyone understands, and instructors are very open to change for the better.' 

Perhaps one of the most accomplished aspects of the HFCC Radiographer Program is that graduates have an excellent 95 percent (111/117) five-year average first-time pass rate on the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) National Certification Examination. With additional attempts the five year pass rate is 100 percent (117/117). The faculty is proactive in coaching and advising students throughout the program both academically and clinically. The Radiographer Program’s five-year graduation rate is 89 percent (117/131).

'The program is really intense. It prepares you for everything,' Carolyn said. 'By the time you graduate, you are ready for anything. There are so many general aspects of radiography; this program makes sure everyone gets all the proper training required. The teachers are really good. They really know what they’re talking about. I found them fantastic, knowledgeable, and easy to work with,' she added.

'Ms. Wu knows exactly what she’s talking about--she doesn’t need to teach from a book,' Dan said, adding 'she knows exactly what is needed for you to pass the board exams. Do exactly what she says and you’ll pass the boards.'

Both Dan and Carolyn have had stable employment since graduation. Dan currently works at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where he’s been for nearly four years. Previously, he worked at Oakwood for four years.

It is that stability that allowed Carolyn to leave her position at Oakwood Heritage after five years to devote time to their two children: Gabriel, 2, and Natalie, 4 months. Teaching in the radiography program at HFCC allows Carolyn flexibility--she has the freedom to spend time with her children and keep her hand in her profession, thereby giving her the best of both worlds.

'This two-year program is better than most four-year programs,' Dan said. 'It saved me tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a great program for the price. You get a lot of bang for your buck.'

To learn more about the program, please visit or call 313.317.6595