As a physician, Tim Riddell knows the way the healthcare system works—or, as the case may be, doesn’t—and that makes him the perfect person to fill the chair behind the desk of the Northshore regional medical director at Ochsner Medical Center.
Since taking the position in 2020, Riddell has been working to enhance the unique relationships that Ochsner has created with partners including St. Tammany Health System in Covington, Slidell Memorial Hospital in Slidell, and Singing River Health System on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Those connections have proven important to the way that Ochsner serves the Northshore community—service that, for Riddell, is the very reason he became a doctor. “I first realized that I wanted to go into medicine in junior high, when I was a student at Slidell Junior High. During career day, I heard that neurosurgeons made $1,000,000 a year; and, having realized that my rock star dreams were slipping away because I couldn’t play the guitar and that my athletic career wasn’t going where I thought it would go, I focused on the idea of being a doctor,” Riddell says with a laugh. “Of course, as I matured, I recognized the fact that the job is so much more than money. I started to realize that I had a skill of understanding and helping people with problems that they faced. We talk a lot about empathy and the ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes while they’re suffering, but we also have a deep-seated need to fix things that is paramount. You can’t fix everyone’s disease, but you can fix the way that they are experiencing that disease; and that has driven my desire to be a doctor. It can sound a little bit contrived at times, but I believe that this profession is very noble and allows us to really help people at the worst of times.”