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AHIMA Presents 2019 AHIMA Triumph Awards to Members

CHICAGO – September 18, 2019 – The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) recognized recipients of the 2019 AHIMA Triumph Awards at the Appreciation Celebration at Chicago’s Navy Pier during the AHIMA19: Health Data and Information Conference. This honor is presented to members who have demonstrated excellence in their dedication and service to the health information management profession.

“The AHIMA Triumph Awards recognize the contributions of health information management (HIM) leaders who have enriched the field by preparing future HIM professionals, encouraging fresh HIM talent and leadership and contributing to our knowledge base,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “We are pleased to honor the following individuals with these awards.”

Distinguished Member Award

Cassi L. Birnbaum, MS, RHIA, CPHQ, FAHIMA, was named Distinguished Member, AHIMA’s highest honor. Birnbaum has been a dedicated volunteer for more than 30 years and has served as a past Board president/chair of AHIMA and as an AHIMA director. She led and guided the industry and profession through a successful transition to ICD-10, information governance, analytics, informatics and CDI strategies. She is currently employed by the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Health System as system-wide director of HIM/revenue integrity, as well as adjunct faculty member for San Diego Mesa College and UCSD Extension academic programs.

Advocacy Award

AHIMA is proud to have selected the Ohio Health Information Management Association (OHIMA) as the recipient of the 2019 AHIMA Advocacy Triumph Award. OHIMA advocated for the HIM profession by creating a short, animated video showcasing the diverse job settings, skills and functions that make up the HIM profession to aid potential students, human resource departments and the general HIM profession in understanding the field. Kristin M. Nelson, MS, RHIA; Lauren W. Manson, RHIA; and the OHIMA Board are credited with leading this strategic advocacy project.

Educator Award

Marquetta M. Massey, MBA, RHIA, was honored with the Educator Award. Massey has been an instructor at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, N.C. since 2012 and a program chair since 2015. In 2018, she received a CPCC award for “Best Instructional Video” based on her use of creative teaching tools and methods used in her online courses. Massey is recognized for her “student-first” stance and persistent and widespread use of technology to enhance her students’ learning experience. As a mentor and active member, Massey encourages students to become involved with AHIMA and their local state association.

Emerging Leader Award

Kenneth H. Lugo-Morales, MS, RHIA, received the Emerging Leader Award. Lugo-Morales directs the Health Information Management Department at the San Jorge Children and Women’s Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he has successfully implemented a committee resulting in greater chargemaster accuracy and improved documentation and coding outcomes. He is a former president of the Puerto Rico Health Information Management Association (PRHIMA) and is a CSA Delegate to the AHIMA House of Delegates.

Innovation Award

Patricia S. Coffey, RHIA, CPHIMS, CPHI, was honored with the Innovation Award. She is currently employed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as chief of the HIM department in the Clinical Center. Coffey helped influence NIH gender identity efforts, cutting-edge patient engagement and efforts to facilitate the collection and management of critical research data while ensuring the integrity of clinical data and patient information. Before transitioning to electronic medical records was a national initiative, she positioned the HIM department at NIH to transition to a completely paperless medical record.

Leadership Award

Chrisann K. Lemery, MSE, RHIA, CHPS, FAHIMA, received the Leadership Award. She has served in various leadership capacities including president, past president and board member of the Wisconsin Health Information Management Association (WHIMA) and secretary of the AHIMA Board of Directors and Speaker of the House of Delegates. Lemery served on the award-winning HIPAA Collaborative of Wisconsin (HIPAA COW) Board of Directors as well as government-appointed committees addressing electronic health records and medical record copy fees. She has given more than 70 presentations sharing her knowledge.

Mentor Award

Tressa A. Lyon, RHIT, received the Mentor Award. Lyon is currently the HIM manager at Norman Regional Hospital in Norman, Okla., and a member of the executive board for the Oklahoma Health Information Management Association (OkHIMA). She has been involved with professional committees and projects including the Medical Decision-Making Committee, the Patient Portal Committee and the Outcomes and Efficiencies Team. Lyon serves as a mentor for many colleges and universities in Oklahoma and through OkHIMA.

Rising Star

Award Laura A. Shue, MPA, CHDA, CPHIMS, was awarded the Rising Star Award. Shue received a master’s in public administration with a concentration in healthcare administration from Eastern Michigan University. She earned her CHDA in 2012 and CPHIMS in 2016. Shue currently serves as the HIM operations director for Michigan Medicine where she has engaged in widescale efforts to reduce medical record delinquencies and improve EHR functionality, and has advocated for quality, data management, data analytics and management development. She is currently president-elect of the Michigan Health Information Management Association (MHIMA).

The AHIMA Triumph Awards are sponsored by 3M.


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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