International College Health Information Technology Graduate Wins Two Florida Health Information Management Association Awards During 2004 Annual Convention

The Florida Health Information Management Association (FHIMA) presented International College Health Information Technology graduate Elizabeth Whitmer with two awards during its 2004 Annual Convention.

Whitmer, 48, of Fort Myers Beach, received the Literary Award and Outstanding Professional Award during the “A FHIMA Expedition: Discovering New Territories for a Better Tomorrow” convention last month in Orlando.

It is the first time an International College student has received two awards from the association. Whitmer also serves as an adjunct professor for the HIT program this summer term.

Whitmer, President Elect and past President of the Southwest Florida Information Management Association, has been the HIM manager and privacy officer at Southwest Florida Heart Group for the past five years. She graduated in Fall 1999 from International College with an associate degree in Health Information Technology and a 3.93 GPA.

“This recognition is such an honor. It was at that point I was convinced my educational investment at International College reaped additional dividends,” Whitmer said. “Being happy with what I do professionally reflects my performance in the field. I recognize that what I do makes a difference in the healthcare environment in which I work by creating an outstanding health information department at Southwest Florida Heart Group.”

The FHIMA Literary Award recognizes members who have made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in health information science and management through the preparation of a single outstanding publication, or a body of publications, such as books , manuals, or teaching materials, which, taken as a whole, represent a significant contribution to the field. The Outstanding Professional Award recognizes a member who demonstrated innovation and creativity in practice or education on the state and local level.

Whitmer has written numerous articles in the Journal of American Health Information Management, local newspapers, and healthcare magazines. The HIM topics have contributed and aided in educating others about the HIM profession and also has promoted privacy issues.

She also has been recognized for her dedication to the Find, Inspire, Recruit and Educate (FIRE) Committee. Under Whitmer’s direction, visibility of the Health Information Management profession increased in her local area and within the HIM arena. Whitmer also actively and consistently serves as a mentor through student internships at Southwest Florida Heart Group.

The FHIMA website said the following of Whitmer: “Elizabeth personifies the HIM profession at every level. The association is fortunate to have such a dedicated and loyal member who promotes the profession with great enthusiasm and joy.”

HIT Chair Deborah Howard echoed the organization’s sentiments.

“I am so proud to have been an instructor to Elizabeth,” Howard said. “Elizabeth is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Her combination of education, enthusiasm, and dedication to International College, FHIMA, and the profession reflects the spirit of graduates of the Health Information Technology program.”

International College is currently accepting applications for its Health Information Technology (HIT) associate degree program for the Fall 2004 term. The College’s HIT program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs in cooperation with AHIMA. For more information about International College’s program or to register, contact the admissions department in Fort Myers at 482-0019 or in Naples at 513-1122.
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