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Ryan H. Sandefer, PhD


Ryan H. Sandefer, PhD, is the vice president for academic affairs at the College of St. Scholastica, based in Duluth, MN, where he also serves as faculty in the Department of Health Informatics and Information Management. Sandefer is an expert in data analysis and works to deepen the college’s culture of using data for strategic decision-making. He has a master’s degree in political science from the University of Wyoming and completed his PhD in health informatics from the University of Minnesota. He served as the chair of the AHIMA Council for Excellence in Education; presented for AHIMA data analytics workshops; taught Certified Health Data Analytics exam prep workshops; and co-edited the textbook Data Analytics in Healthcare Research: Tools and Strategies.

Position Statement Question

AHIMA’s mission is empowering people to impact health. What distinctive expertise and experience do you have to contribute to AHIMA’s mission?


Position Statement Answer

Healthcare faces significant challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed just how real these challenges are for mission-driven, data-dependent healthcare organizations, including AHIMA.

I remain optimistic about the future of the health information profession as the foundation of the healthcare enterprise. There has never been a greater need for quality data to drive health planning and evaluation. The profession is at a critical juncture in its history, a place where significant decisions must be made to align identity with market realities. There is a need for transformational leadership and I am excited to help lead these changes and contribute to AHIMA’s mission.

I feel passionate about AHIMA’s mission of empowering individuals to impact health. In many ways, I feel as an educator and researcher I have devoted my career to this overall mission statement. The purpose of higher education is to transform individuals by expanding their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. The byproduct of transforming individual lives through education is transforming the broader community—we know that educational attainment is a predictor of many other outcomes, including health.

I have extensive experience conducting research and communicating research findings. I feel extremely confident in my ability to analyze large amounts of data. I have strong skills in statistics, techniques for data analysis, research, and evaluation. While I am confident in my technical skills, education, and training, I believe my leadership capabilities will allow me to contribute most significantly to AHIMA’s mission.

When I served as the chair of AHIMA’S Council for Excellence in Education, I also chaired the CEE’s strategic planning effort, which resulted in the Health Information Management Reimagined plan. I feel extremely comfortable surveying the landscape, making assessments, and driving change.


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