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New Members of AHIMA’s Oversight Groups Announced

CHICAGO – January 2, 2020 – The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announces the 2020 members of two entities that oversee the certification and educational preparation of health information management (HIM) professionals, respectively.

“As the HIM profession continues to grow, we welcome the ideas and innovation of our newly elected commissioners and council members,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “Education and certification are the foundation of AHIMA’s leadership in the healthcare ecosystem.”

New Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management Members Announced

The Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM) establishes, implements, and enforces standards and procedures for certification and recertification of HIM professionals. The commission provides strategic oversight of all AHIMA certification programs and is the sole and independent authority in all matters pertaining to both the initial certification and ongoing recertification of HIM professionals.

Newly elected or appointed members of the CCHIIM are:

Rex A. Baker, CISSP, CISA, has worked in various capacities in information security management, IT auditing and information risk assessment. Much of his work has involved adherence to security compliance standards, security incident response and escalation procedures and internal security assessments. He has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree from Boston University.

Linda Galocy, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, is program chair and a clinical associate professor for the health information technology and administration programs at Indiana University Northwest. She has a bachelor’s degree in health information administration and a master’s degree in adult education. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree at Indiana University.

Debra Primeau, MA, RHIA, MAOM, FAHIMA, has over 40 years of experience as a health information professional. She has worked with large integrated delivery networks, small hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory care settings and consulting vendors. She is past president of the California Health Information Association and a member of AHIMA Advocacy and Policy Council. She received her bachelor’s degree in business management and a master's degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.

Lynette Williamson, EdD, RHIA, CCS, CPC, FAHIMA, is an assistant professor in health information management at the University of Hawai’i-West O’ahu. She previously served as program director for the medical coding specialist certificate program at Santa Barbara City College. She received her bachelor’s degree in health information management from Florida International University, her master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix, and an EdD in educational leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University.

John Young, RHIA, CHPS, CPHIMS, is a health information management consultant for the Hospital Division of Louisville, KY-based Kindred Healthcare. In this role, he directs HIM operations in Kindred’s transitional care hospitals across the United States. Previous employers include Conifer Health Solutions, Norton Healthcare (Louisville, KY), and Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital (Lexington, KY). He is past president of the Kentucky Health Information Management Association and also served on AHIMA’s Privacy and Security Practice Council and EHR Documentation Integrity Practice Council.

They join the following returning commissioners:

2020 Chair: Cathy A. Flite, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, assistant professor in health services administration and policy at Temple University in the College of Public Health

2020 Chair-elect: Lori Nobles, RHIA, CHTS-IM, PMP, CPHIMS, principal with Cumberland Consulting Group, HIM professional and healthcare IT consultant

2020 Past chair: Karen Collins Gibson, MSA, RHIA, FAHIMA, adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College and Immaculata University

Carlyn Doyle, MSHI, RHIA, CHPS, HCISPP, compliance engineer for WebMD Health Services in Portland, OR

Lisa Baris, RHIT, CCS, CCDS, director of HIM for Nuance Communications, Inc., clinical documentation improvement

Kelly Canter, BA, RHIT, CCS, manages the subject matter experts responsible for the development of Optum360’s Clinical Classifier Natural Language Processing (NLP) software and maintenance of Optum360’s computer-assisted coding software

Chet Deshmukh, MBA, MS, OTR/L, CHDA, CDIP, CPHI, principal, VASTACCESS, Inc.

Charlotte McCuen, MHA, RHIA, adjunct faculty member at the University of Cincinnati

Michelle Millen, MSCPM, RHIA, dean of academic affairs at Collin College in McKinney, TX

Rebecca Reynolds, EdD, RHIA, CHPS, FAHIMA, professor and chair of health informatics and information management at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Elizabeth Taylor, MS, RHIT, CHC, is a subject matter expert in health information/informatics, compliance, privacy and organizational leadership. She is the chief compliance officer for DMHAS state of Connecticut

Liz Wilson, MA, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CPC, CRC, CEMC, CPMA, CPCO, CHC, corporate compliance and privacy officer at Endeavor Health Services

New Council for Excellence in Education Members Announced

AHIMA's Council for Excellence in Education (CEE) is focused on preparing students for the future of HIM. The CEE was created to improve and adapt the education strategy for health information and related professions, focused on future opportunities and challenges. Newly elected or appointed members of the CEE for 2020 are:

Jeanne Freeman, PhD, MBA, RHIA, is the associate department chair/program director for the master’s in health informatics and information management program at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Freeman taught in the health information and information management program at Saint Louis University for more than 25 years. She also served as the administrator/director for health information at the Washington University School of Medicine and Saint Louis University Hospital. She received her MBA and PhD in leadership and higher education from Saint Louis University.

Debra Hamada, EdD, MA, RHIA, is an assistant professor and chair for Loma Linda University Health Informatics and Information Management Department. In this role, she teaches in the bachelor of science in health information administration, the master of science in health informatics, and the bachelor of science in health care administration (BSHCA) programs. Dr. Hamada completed her bachelor’s degree at The College of Saint Scholastica, her master’s degree from the University of Redlands and doctoral degree from the University of Southern California.

Christina Manley, MAEd., RHIT, is the director of the health information technology program at Marion Technical College in Marion, Ohio. She received her master’s degree in education from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and her bachelor’s degree in human ecology from The Ohio State University and health information management administration from The University of Cincinnati. She is currently in her third year of doctoral studies at The University of Toledo in higher education leadership.

Dasantila Sherifi, PhD, MBA, RHIA, is a full professor in the College of Health Sciences at DeVry University. Dr. Sherifi has more than 16 years of experience in health information. She received a PhD in health services from Walden University, a Master of Business Administration from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a bachelor’s degree in health information administration from Gwynedd-Mercy University in Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Tirana, Albania. She has experience in HIT program management, curriculum development, student recruitment and data analysis.

Lynn Ward, EdD, RHIA, CPHIMS, is the associate dean of the undergraduate and graduate degree HIM programs at Southern New Hampshire University. Dr. Ward completed her doctorate in education at Capella University. She has served in a variety of areas and roles within the health information profession, including HIM director, program director of a CAHIIM accredited online program. Additional roles include instructor for online HIM programs and leadership roles in quality improvement.

They join the following returning council members:

2020 Chair: Norb Belz, PhD, MHSA, RHIA, academic consultant and president of norbbelz, Inc.

2020 Chair-elect: Scott Sittig, PhD, MHI, RHIA, assistant professor in health informatics at the University of South Alabama

2020 Past Chair: Keith Olenik, MA, RHIA, CHP, vice president, Revenue Cycle Services at Pivot Point Consulting

Lisa Delhomme, MHA, RHIA, program director of the health information management program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Mary Beth Haugen, MS, RHIA, founder and CEO of Haugen Consulting Group and Haugen Academy

Elaine O’Bleness, MBA, RHIA, CDIP, CHP, CHRI, CHCR, is advisory financial alignment executive at Cerner Corporation

Laurie Rinehart-Thompson, JD, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA, director of the health information management and systems program and professor at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


AHIMA is a global nonprofit association of health information (HI) professionals. AHIMA represents professionals who work with health data for more than one billion patient visits each year. AHIMA’s mission of empowering people to impact health drives our members and credentialed HI professionals to ensure that health information is accurate, complete, and available to patients and providers. Our leaders work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business, and are found in data integrity and information privacy job functions worldwide.

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