The American Health Information Management Association announced its annual AHIMA Triumph Awards recipients honoring the excellence, dedication and service of health information management (HIM) professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the field.
The award presentations were made today during AHIMA’s 84th Annual Convention and Exhibit in Chicago. Triumph Awards were presented to 12 AHIMA members in eight categories.
“AHIMA has a cherished tradition of honoring professionals who inspire others and whose efforts have enriched the health information management field,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “I’m happy to congratulate these Triumph Award recipients who have made a positive difference to our profession.”
Distinguished Member Award
Merida L. Johns, PhD, RHIA, is the 2012 recipient of AHIMA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Member Award. Johns’ contributions to the HIM profession span almost 40 years. She has worked as a practitioner, educator, volunteer and author. Johns directed the first health informatics master’s degree program for the training of healthcare chief information officers (CIO), bridging the gap between HIM and informatics in the United States. Johns is a past president of the AHIMA Board of Directors as well as author of one of the premier textbooks on HIM.
Francis L. Waterstraat, Jr., MBA, PhD, RHIA, received the Educator Award for his commitment to preparing the next generation of HIM professionals. Waterstraat served as program director and faculty member for the HIM program at Illinois State University for 24 years where his leadership contributed to the university’s national recognition as a leader in HIM education. Waterstraat is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Illinois Association of Healthcare Quality and recipient of the Illinois Health Information Management Association Personal Achievement Award.
Mark S. Dietz, RHIA, is the recipient of AHIMA’s Leadership Award. He has served in more than 25 state and local HIM volunteer positions and 16 national AHIMA roles. As a member of four college and university HIM undergraduate and graduate advisory committees, Dietz uses his passion for the profession to motivate and inspire his colleagues. Recognized internationally as an accomplished speaker, Dietz is also a contributor to several professional publications.
Literacy Legacy Award
Leah A. Greber, MS, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMA, received the Literacy Legacy Award for the many educational publications she has written. Greber is the author of Medical Coding: Understanding ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS, work that not only provides comprehensive coverage of the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS coding systems, but also highlights the anatomy, physiology, path physiology, medical terminology and other disciplines necessary to accurately code using the ICD-10 system. This publication is one of the few textbooks available that provides a comprehensive approach to learning ICD-10.
Andrea Clark, RHIA, CCS, CPC-H, is the recipient of the Mentor Award in recognition for her long record of encouraging others to realize their full potential. With more than 30 years of experience in the HIM profession, Clark continues to ecnourage young professionals through a mentoring program she established. Clark is also a nationally featured speaker for AHIMA.
Pioneer Award (2)
This year, AHIMA recognized two people with the Pioneer Award given to those who have advanced quality data, standards development, patient safety and systems development. The recipients are:
Andrea G. Koppelmann, MS, RHIA, received the award for founding Knowledge Connex, a company that strengthens board association leadership, increases an association’s financial viability, and expands virtual education offerings. Koppelmann’s work has taken state leadership and services into the 21st century by providing nationwide support to state and regional health information management associations.
Katherine G. Lusk, MSHM, RHIA, is also a recipient of the Pioneer Award. Leading her organization through the implementation of electronic health records for two acute care facilities and more than 50 ambulatory clinics, Lusk has proved to be a pioneer in her field. Under her leadership, Children’s Medical Center Dallas became the first hospital in Texas to achieve a HIMSS Level 7 Analytics award.
In recognition of her contributions to advancing HIM research and fostering new generations of researchers, Susan H. Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, is the recipient of the Research Award. Among her many accomplishments, Fenton was instrumental in bringing the AHIMA Research Boot Camp to Texas State University where she is assistant professor in the HIM Department. As Director of Research at the AHIMA Foundation from 2007-2009, Dr. Fenton managed the doctoral dissertation assistance program, improving the quality of HIM faculty nationally.
Student Awards (4)
The 2012 Student Award recognizes AHIMA student members with high academic achievements who are trained in Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredited or AHIMA-approved coding programs nationwide. Among their many accomplishments, these students demonstrate leadership and commitment to the future of the HIM profession.
Brandi Bierbrauer, a student at the College of St. Scholastica, is an active student member of the Minnesota Health Information Management Association (MHIMA), a student member of AHIMA, and was elected president of the student HIM group on her campus.
Reine-Elodie Koffi, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in HIM at Temple University. Koffi’s volunteer efforts helped to raise student membership for the Southeast Pennsylvania HIM Association. Koffi serves as a component state association Board Liaison to the Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association.
Monte W. Handley, RHIT, is pursuing his Master’s degree in HIM and information technology leadership at The College of St. Scholastica. Handley completed an Associate in science degree in Health Information Technology and his Medical Coding Certificate at Santa Barbara City College in California.
Cynthia Paulson, a student at Dakota State University, has made several contributions to the HIM field including helping establish a “Yellow Dot” program in South Dakota. This program ensures vital health information is available to first responders at the scene of motor vehicle or other catastrophic accidents.