Sue Jabara: retirement is the luxury of having no plans at all

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Portrait of Sue Jabara.

Even though there have been days when HFC Director of the Radiographer Program Sue Jabara was stressed out, overworked, and hardly keeping her head above water, working at the College has been the best job she has ever had.

“I’ve really enjoyed the camaraderie. I have met so many wonderful people here at the College and will hold them dear as my friends for the rest of my life,” said Jabara. “I loved seeing how students are able to improve their lives in so many ways by going through our program. Many students come in with limited life experiences and graduate as confident, mature individuals with a strong set of skills in their chosen profession. Completing the HFC Radiographer program is a life-changing event for so many.”

“I wanted to do something hands-on”

Born in Highland Park, Jabara is the third of four daughters. She lives in Flat Rock with Rick, her husband of 35 years. They have four adult sons and five grandchildren.

Jabara is an alumna of Bishop Borgess High School in Redford. After graduation, she enrolled in Madonna University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. She later earned her master’s degree in educational technology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is also a graduate of the Oakwood Hospital School of Radiologic Technology, where she became a registered technologist in radiography.

“I began the radiography program at the age of 19. I wanted to do something medical, hands-on, and with a short educational process,” recalled Jabara. “Actually, I became a technologist with the thought of keeping that job until I thought of what I wanted to do for a living!”

She realized she enjoyed being a radiologic technologist, a field she’s been in for 42 years.

Moving Oakwood’s in-house radiology program to HFC

Of those 42 years, she has taught for 28. Jabara spoke about what inspired her to go into teaching.

“In my first job at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn (now called Corewell Health Dearborn Hospital), I worked with student technologists and found I had a way of explaining things so they could understand,” she said.

During her time at Oakwood, the hospital had an in-house radiography program – the same one Jabara graduated from – and she eventually became its program director in 1988. The last class to graduate from this program was in 1997. Working with then-HFC Associate Dean of Health Careers Ron Bodurka, the program moved to HFC (back when it was Henry Ford Community College), where the first class graduated in 1998.

Jabara left the field for several years to raise her family, but she returned to HFC in 2006 as a part-time faculty member. In 2012, she joined the faculty full-time and became the program’s clinical coordinator. In 2018, she became the program director. Jabara reports to HFC School of Health and Human Services (HHS) Dr. Cyndi Scheuer.

Retirement plans include living daily with no plans at all

For Jabara, keeping up with the changes in health care and the technology used in the profession can be demanding.

“We have to continually be ahead of the curve to maintain our high standards and employment rates for graduates,” said Jabara. “Those challenges are not unique to HFC, but always working in a state of change. New roles, processes, and procedures always keep us on our toes and it can be overwhelming for sure.”

Jabara spoke about why she decided to retire at the end of the Winter 2024 semester.

“It was just time. I'm healthy, have a wonderful family, a little money in the bank, and a husband who loves me – what better time than the present?” she said. “My retirement plans are to live each day with no plans at all, spending time with the people I love.”

Related Content: HFC Radiographer Program informational video