Board of Directors – 2019
AHIMA is governed by the Board of Directors. Members of AHIMA elect a president-elect and directors each year to serve in the role of governing the association, setting strategy and maintaining fiscal oversight and fiduciary responsibility. The AHIMA Board of Directors consists of 13 members including the CEO, who serves in an ex-officio role.
Valerie J. Watzlaf, Ph.D., MPH, RHIA, FAHIMA
Vice Department Chair of Education and Associate Professor
University of Pittsburgh - Department of Health Information Management
School of Health and Rehabilitation Science
Valerie Watzlaf is the Vice Chair of Education and Associate Professor within the Department of Health Information Management in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburgh. She also holds a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Public Health. In those capacities, she teaches and performs research in the areas of health information management, epidemiology, quality improvement, statistics, and long-term care.
Dr. Watzlaf received her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Records Administration from the School of Health Related Professions; her Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctorate in Epidemiology from the Graduate School of Public Health; all from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Watzlaf has worked as an HIM practitioner and consulted in several health care organizations in HIM, long-term care, and epidemiology. Dr. Watzlaf is very active in professional and scientific societies having served/chaired the following AHIMA committees: Data Quality Task Force; Coding, Policy, and Strategy Committee; Research Committee; Council on Accreditation (which is now CAHIIM), the Council for Excellence in Education (CEE); AHIMA Board of Directors, and the AHIMA Foundation Board of Directors. She was also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of AHIMA (JAHIMA) and Perspectives in HIM. Dr. Watzlaf has published extensively in the field of HIM. She has delivered over 100 presentations and authored over 50 publications.
Dr. Watzlaf has received the AHIMA Research Triumph Award, PHIMA’s (Pennsylvania’s) Distinguished Member Award, and the University of Pittsburgh's SHRS Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Ginna Evans, MBA, RHIA, CPC, CRC, FAHIMA
Coding Educator, Internal Medicine Specialties Division
Ginna Evans works for Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining Emory she was Assistant Director of Medical Records at Dekalb Medical Center. She served on the AHIMA Board of Directors from 2014 – 2016 and was Chair of the Board Governance Committee in 2016. She has also served in many other roles for AHIMA including AHIMA Foundation Board in 2013, Chair of Triumph Awards Committee, Chair of Nominating Committee, member of Nominating, Fellowship and Bylaws Committees, and other groups. GHIMA service includes President twice in 2007 and 1993/1994 as well as many other leadership positions. She served on the HIM Advisory Boards for Devry University, Augusta University (formerly MCG), and Dalton State College.
She received her Masters of Business Administration from Mercer University, Bachelor of Medical Records Administration from Emory University, and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory College; Emory University. She is a Fellow of AHIMA.
She is the recipient of the 2018 Trust HCS Trust Builder Award and the 2011 AHIMA Mentor Award. In addition, she has received numerous awards from the Georgia Health Information Management Association including the Distinguished Member Award in both 2008 and 1996, Mentor Award in 2009, the Distinguished Service Award in 1998, and the Clinical Site Award in 2006.
Diann H. Smith, MS, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA
Vice President, HIMS and CDI at Texas Health Resources
Integrated Healthcare System
Diann H. Smith is Vice President of Health Information Management Services and Clinical Documentation Improvement at Texas Health Resources in Arlington, TX, an integrated health system with 29 hospitals. Smith develops and executes system-wide standardization, efficiencies, and strategies that support the overall performance and quality improvement for Texas Health. She is a published author and experienced speaker on a variety of healthcare-related topics. She has served as chair on the AHIMA Professional Ethics Committee, a director on the AHIMA board, president of the Texas Health Information Management Association (TXHIMA) and commissioner on the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
Smith earned a Master of Science in Human Relations and Business from Amberton University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management from Texas Woman’s University. She is a fellow of AHIMA.
Smith has received several notable local and national awards including the TXHIMA Distinguished Member Award, outstanding leadership awards from the YWCA of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Texas, the AHIMA Triumph Leadership Award, the 2016 Inspiring Women Award, and most recently, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®., Xi Theta Omega Chapter named Smith the 2017 Woman of the Year community award, of which she is also an active member.
On a more personal note, Smith is a proud breast cancer survivor and was the 2015 Ambassador for the American Cancer Society (ACS) North Texas Region. Smith’s daughter, Dee, succumbed to breast cancer in 2017, and Smith remains a strong supporter of breast cancer research and awareness. She currently serves on the ACS Advisory Board of Tarrant County, Texas.
Speaker of The House of Delegates
Shawn Wells, BS, RHIT, CHDA
Director of Health Information
University of Utah Health
Salt Lake City, UT
Shawn Wells has been in the HIM profession since 2003, currently serving as Director of Health Information at University of Utah Health (UUH). While at UUH, Shawn has implemented enterprise-wide Computer Assisted Coding, led UUH through the ICD-10 transition, and developed a new HIM team focusing on data integrity, analytics and Information Governance. Shawn is an active volunteer and mentor and sits on the Weber State University HIM Advisory Committee. He served as UHIMA’s Treasurer and President and is Speaker-Elect of the AHIMA House of Delegates. Shawn is an active public speaker at the regional, national and international level on topics of ICD-10, computer-assisted coding, data integrity and emerging roles in HIM
Wylecia Wiggs Harris, Ph.D., CAE
Chief Executive Officer, AHIMA
Wylecia Wiggs Harris joined AHIMA after serving as CEO of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) and the League of Women Voters Education Fund. While at the LWVUS, Dr. Harris was responsible for enlivening the national organization. Working with her Board of Directors, she created and lead an organizational transformation strategy to increase the impact, relevance, and visibility of the LWVUS and its 700+ affiliates. Prior to her work at LWVUS, Dr. Harris held senior executive positions at the American Nurses Association, including as Chief Operating Officer, was executive director of the Center for American Nurses and executive director of the Maryland-based Sister to Sister Foundation—a national organization supporting women’s health issues and heart disease education. Dr. Harris also served as senior vice president and executive director at the American Heart Association.
Dr. Harris holds a Ph.D. in organizational development from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota; a master of management degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; and both a bachelor and honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Wittenberg University, in Springfield, Ohio. She is an ASAE-certified executive director and certified facilitator for leadership assessments through the Center for Creative Leadership.
Advisor to the Board
John P. Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS
Executive Vice President Emeritus
John P. Hoyt was Executive Vice President Emeritus, HIMSS Analytics at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the largest U.S. not-for-profit healthcare caused-based organization focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology. While a full time Executive Vice President, Mr. Hoyt was responsible for providing executive leadership and direction to HIMSS Analytics worldwide where he also provided direction for all Stage 6 and Stage 7 validations and derivative research. Now as consultant to HIMSS Analytics, Mr. Hoyt continues to conduct Stage 6 and Stage 7 validations, consulting engagements globally pertaining to HIMSS Analytics maturity models and is the principle architect and interpreter of the revised acute care EMRAM standards which were announced at HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas for use in 2018.
Throughout his healthcare career, Hoyt has been instrumental in defining business and IT strategy as well as selecting, implementing and integrating mission-critical healthcare information systems across the enterprise. Before joining HIMSS, Hoyt served as a hospital Chief Operating Officer and twice as a Chief Information Officer with various healthcare organizations accumulating in over 22 years of hospital executive committee leadership experience. Mr. Hoyt served in consultancy practices, including: IBM Healthlink Services and First Data Health Systems Group.
Hoyt holds a BSBA in Economics from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and an MHA from St. Louis University in Missouri. He is a HIMSS Fellow and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). He joins the Board in a volunteer, non-voting role as advisor.
3rd Year Directors:
Term ends 2019
Jill S. Clark, MBA, RHIA, CHDA, FAHIMA
Senior Consultant and Director of Coding
Red Lion, PA
Jill Clark is senior consultant and director of Coding Services at e4, where she supports large healthcare initiatives, contributing to HIM projects and organizational strategy. Prior to joining e4, Clark was a director of HIM Solutions at AHIMA, where she provided professional expertise to members. Her career includes management in a variety of healthcare settings, as well as an engagement manager position for a large software vendor. Clark has served in various volunteer leadership roles and on committees as a member of AHIMA, the Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association, and the Central Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association. She has contributed to numerous professional articles and serves as a part-time instructor for DeVry University, Health Information Technology Program.
Dwan Thomas-Flowers MBA, RHIA, CDIP, CCS
Dwan Thomas-Flowers is a healthcare consultant, offering expertise in coding, management, HIM operations, quality management and revenue cycle. Currently, she serves as an Interim Director of Coding for a large teaching medical center and member of AHIMA’s CDI practice council. Dwan is a former chair of the Clinical Terminology and Classification practice council. Other AHIMA activities include past Professional Ethics and Triumph Award committee member, HOD Best Practices and Standards and Operations teams and ACE designation. Involved in several professional associations, she’s held positions in many such as AHIMA, FHIMA, HIMSS, NAHSE and NFAHQ. She is former chair of the HIMSS ICD-10 Task Force, past-president of FHIMA and recipient of multiple industry awards including two AHIMA Triumph Awards for Leadership and Mentoring and two FHIMA Distinguished Member designations. A frequent instructor for CCS preparatory workshops and sought-after presenter within healthcare, her publications are found in industry magazines such as “Advance for HIM Professionals” where she served on panels for Coding and Management Q&A columns.
Karen S. Scott, MEd, RHIA, CCS-P, FAHIMA
Senior Training Specialist
Karen Scott is senior training specialist at TruCode and owner of Karen Scott Seminars and Consulting. She has been an educator for many years, teaching in the HIM programs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Arkansas Tech University. She has worked as an HIM director in an acute care hospital setting, training director for a national transcription company, and reimbursement specialist for a regional physicians group. She is past president of the Tennessee and Arkansas Health Information Management Associations, past chair of the AHIMA Council on Certification, and recently completed a six-year term as commissioner for CAHIIM.
2nd Year Directors:
Term ends 2020
Seth Jeremy Katz, MPH, RHIA, FAHIMA
Associate Administrator of Information Management
Truman Medical Center
Kansas City, MO
Seth Jeremy Katz is the associate administrator of information management at Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, MO. In addition to responsibility for HIM, Katz focuses on strategic projects including referral management and improved patient access. For more than 10 years he has directed the transformation of Truman’s HIM department to a fully electronic system; the department was awarded the 2013 Grace Award in recognition for these changes. Outside of Truman, he was the 2015-2016 president of MoHIMA, (Missouri), is the current co-chair for the House Leadership team and has served on various AHIMA committees. Additionally, Katz is consulting faculty for the HIM program at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Kim D. Theodos, JD, MS, RHIA
Assistant Professor of Health Studies
University of Louisiana Monroe
Kim D. Theodos is an assistant professor of Health Studies at the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). At ULM she teaches health informatics, healthcare leadership and healthcare administration. Previously, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the HIIM program at Louisiana Tech University. She has served at the state and national level in various capacities including LHIMA (Louisiana) president, treasurer and secretary, annual convention chair and education strategy manager. Theodos was a member of the AHIMA Annual Convention Program Committee for four years, serving as chair in 2015. With numerous presentations at meetings, publications and service, Theodos has been a consistent contributor to AHIMA’s HIM Body of Knowledge.
Melinda A. Wilkins, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA
Professor and Director of Health Information Management
Arkansas Tech University
Melinda A. Wilkins serves as professor/program director of the graduate program in health informatics and undergraduate program in HIM at Arkansas Tech University. She has additionally worked in an outpatient and inpatient setting as well as in consulting. Wilkins is a recent recipient of the AHIMA Leadership Triumph Award and has served in many volunteer roles at both the national and state level. Most recently she has served as the chair of the Board for CAHIIM as well as a consultant for Arkansas’s health information exchange efforts.
1st Year Directors:
Term ends 2021
Sharon B. Easterling, MHA, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, FAHIMA
Recovery Analytics, LLC
Sharon B. Easterling is CEO of Recovery Analytics, LLC in Charlotte, NC. Her experience includes past corporate assistant vice president as well as senior director pf ambulatory clinical documentation improvement. She is a national speaker and widely published. Sharon authored the “Clinical Documentation Improvement Prep Guide and Exam Book”; AHIMA and is past winner of the CSA Recognition for Advancing Coding Knowledge through CodeWrite. She currently sits on the executive board of NCHIMA as past president, Coding Classification and Terminologies Practice Council, Wolters Kluwer Advisory Board, and chair of the advisory board of the American College of Physician Advisors.
Jennifer E. Mueller, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, FAHIMA
Vice President & Privacy Officer
Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center
Jennifer E. Mueller, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, FAHIMA, is the vice president & privacy officer at the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center (WHAIC). Prior to WHAIC, Jennifer served 19 years as VP & CIO at Watertown Regional. She served the Wisconsin HIM Association (WHIMA), twice as President, and is very involved in its leadership. She has received several awards, including the WHIMA Distinguished Member. Nationally, Jennifer has been on the AHIMA Privacy and Security Council. She has a Bachelor’s degree in HIM as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She also is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Health Information Management Association.
Godwin I. Okafor, MSHI, RHIA, FAC-P/PM
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Godwin I. Okafor is program manager at US. Dept. of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC and an adjunct professor in Maryland. He has served in a variety of roles at the state and national levels. He has served on the AHIMA Annual Convention Program Committee, AHIMA HoD Task Force and the HIE Practice Council. Okafor has also served as the director of the MdHIMA and president-elect. He serves on an advisory committee for an academic program to ensure program curricula consistently and effectively meet industry needs. Okafor has extensive volunteer experience that demonstrates his commitment in the HIM profession. He is a model professional for representing AHIMA, which is evident by his dedication to service to his profession.
The House of Delegates (HoD) is a deliberative assembly comprised of delegates elected or appointed from each of the 52 Component State Associations (CSA) and the AHIMA Board of Directors. Delegates serve as a grassroots member forum of AHIMA governing the health information management (HIM) profession. The HoD is chaired by the Speaker of the House, an AHIMA official elected by delegates.
Delegates work virtually year-round, operating on a July 1-June 30 term advocating for the profession, the members, and the Association. These leaders help keep our profession strong and moving forward by contributing or recommending action on issues affecting the industry.
Founded in 1946, the House of Delegates is a long-standing, decision-making body of our professional association. Delegates have a critical role in guiding and governing the health information management (HIM) profession.
In 2012, the HoD implemented a new, forward-thinking approach to the operations and configuration of the House of Delegates. Consisting of the House Leadership, Envisioning Collaborative and ad hoc Task Forces, the HoD allows for agility and diverse input for strategic planning to better address and meet the needs of our members, profession, and industry.
2018-2019 Speaker of the House – Shawn Wells, BS, RHIT, CHDA
We gather input from the Envisioning Collaborative consisting of one selected delegate per state to help inform the Board in setting strategy. We have a House Leadership team consisting of one CSA delegate per state. Along with subject matter experts from other relevant areas, delegates not on the House Leadership Team or Envisioning Collaborative can join Task Forces. As issues come through the House Leadership pipeline and are vetted, delegates will be notified and assembled to address them. The HoD offers a variety of activities for participation and cross-collaboration, such as vetting practice briefs for Practice Councils and joining workgroups with other volunteer groups.
This approach will position the House of Delegates to move more agilely to address the issues facing our profession today, tomorrow, and in the future and will allow the HoD to make the best use of time and effort for our delegates to govern the profession.
House Leadership will serve as a steering committee consisting of 52 CSA delegates. They ensure effective House of Delegates operations through alignment with strategy. House leadership provides oversight and direction to designated task forces and operations.
House Leadership members will identify best practices, document performance, and foster innovation and agility in decision making.
The Envisioning Collaborative serves as a "think tank" comprised of delegates, subject matter experts, and industry leaders bringing forward emerging issues and trends that can impact the HIM profession.
The Collaborative charges are to conduct environmental scanning year-round by looking at our environment (internally and externally), gathering the data, consolidating and discussing the information, and validating the results. a robust exchange of perspectives, innovation, and ideas that will contribute to the strategic planning process and enable sound decision-making.
2011-2012 – Susan Parker, MED, RHIA, FAHIMA
2012-2013 – Kimberly Baldwin-Stried Reich, MBA, MJ, RHIA, PBCI, CPHQ, FAHIMA
2013-2014 – Jennifer McManis
2014-2015 – Laura Pait, RHIA, CDIP, CCS
2015-2016 – Elizabeth Delahoussaye, RHIA, CHPS
2017-2018 – Catherine E. Porto, MPA, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA
Task forces create a member focused objective. Task force members can be comprised of delegates, subject matter experts, and industry leaders.
Throughout the year, a call to serve will be sent to delegates on a variety of topics. Delegates may be reached personally depending on their areas of expertise. Ad hoc task forces will allow for more flexibility and agility in the completion of projects.
AHIMA is a federation with affiliated entities. We work in conjunction with these partners to provide quality healthcare through quality information.
To learn more about the relationships between AHIMA, CAHIIM, CCHIIM & CEE please view our Education FAQ.
The AHIMA Foundation improves health information management by supporting the people, research and resources that advance the HIM profession.
Through scholarships and grants for HIM students, professional education and advancement programs, research, and a comprehensive HIM resource library, the AHIMA Foundation takes the lead in advancing the HIM industry.
The AHIMA Foundation, founded in 1962, is the 501(c)(3) charitable affiliate of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) dedicated to providing resources to support continuous innovation and advances in health information management. Today, the AHIMA Foundation is the pre-eminent foundation recognized for excellence in health information leadership, policy, education, and research for the healthcare industry and the public.
Learn more about the Foundation
CCHIIM is an AHIMA commission founded in 1981, dedicated to assuring the competency of professionals practicing HIIM. CCHIIM serves the public by establishing, implementing, and enforcing standards and procedures for certification and recertification of HIIM professionals. CCHIIM provides strategic oversight of all AHIMA certification programs. This standing commission of AHIMA is empowered with the sole and independent authority in all matters pertaining to both the initial certification and ongoing recertification (certification maintenance) of HIIM professionals. Commissioners represent a broad spectrum of health informatics and information management professionals, and must be AHIMA-certified and meet certification, work experience, and leadership requirements in order to serve on the commission
Learn more about CCHIIM
AHIMA is a federation, which includes a system of component state organizations (state chapters) in every state plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Component state associations (CSAs) provide their members with local access to professional education and networking. CSAs also serve as an important forum for communicating national issues and keeping members informed of regional affairs that affect health information management. For more information on how to connect with colleagues in your area, click your state's name below. If you are an AHIMA member, please visit the Engage CSA Community.
CSAs support AHIMA by helping in recruitment and retention of members. Here is a CSA Member Recruitment flyer to use in those efforts.
District of Columbia