HIMSS' Most Influential Women in Health IT are most impressive

HIMSS Executive Vice President Carla Smith reveals the winners of the inaugural awards.
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This week, seven women from across the globe learned that they are the inaugural recipients of HIMSS’s Most Influential Women in Health IT Award, sponsored by Verizon and EY. Our distinguished judges, themselves notable influential women, selected our awardees from more than 140 nominations.

I am honored to share this exciting news with you.  Each of these women has demonstrated transformational influence in the health sector. They are at various stages of their careers, which was a defining philosophy of our Awards program – that a woman at any stage of her career can be influential and positively change health and healthcare in meaningful ways.

Each Awardee collaborates and innovates within her area of health IT-related expertise. Each understands, and has acted upon, the power of harnessing the best of IT across many different components of health and healthcare including nursing, pharmacy, medicine, government, public policy, industry and business management. The accomplishments of these women matter not only within their respective organizations, but across the healthcare trajectory.

As many of our nominees demonstrated various characteristics required of the Award, our judges had a challenging time determining our inaugural recipients.  The stories and accomplishments are inspiring; one Awardee has positively impacted the lives of millions of citizens, while another has shaped the entire trajectory of the health IT sector. And, we have recipients who have used IT in health settings to utterly transform the ability of a region’s population to remain well, and to receive optimal care when needed.

[Gallery: Meet the winners of HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT awards]

Inaugural recipients of HIMSS’s Award are:

Shareefa Al Abulmonem, MSc CPHIMS
Head of eServices
King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Saudi Arabia

Marion J. Ball, Ed.D, FHIMSS, FACMI, FAAN, FAHIMA, FCHIME, FMLA
Senior Advisor, IBM-Center for Computational Health, USA 
Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University

Rachelle Blake, PA
CEO and Managing Director
Omni Med Solutions, Germany

Christina Caraballo, MBA
Senior Healthcare Strategist
Get Real Health, USA

Karen DeSalvo, M.D., MPH, MSc
Acting Assistant Secretary of Health
US Department of Health and Human Services, USA

Karen Guice, M.D., M.P.P.
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
US Department of Defense, USA

Lisa Stump, MS, RPh, FASHP
Chief Information Officer
Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine, USA

When I reviewed the nominations of our recipients, I found consistent references that captured the accomplishments and drive of these seven leaders. As leaders in their respective careers, these seven women also understand the strategic role IT plays in improving health and healthcare. They acted on that knowledge, and as a result, made patient care better, more accessible and more affordable.  

Here are examples from the nominations:

Marion Ball has and is mentoring many young women and men in her long career as a national and international leader in health IT.   

Dr. Karen Guice’s leadership has already created profound improvements for our military’s fighting forces, and will shape military medicine’s engagement with the world for the coming decades.

With a focus on innovation, Lisa Stump is leading efforts to experiment and roll out new technologies aimed at improving population health, patient engagement, and the patient’s experience with the healthcare system.    

Dr. Karen DeSalvo is a physician who has dedicated her career to improving access to affordable, high quality care for all people, especially vulnerable populations, and promoting overall health.

Recognizing Shareefa Al Abulmonem as one of the Most Influential Woman in Health IT will set the female population of her home, Saudi Arabia, ablaze as to an example of what can be accomplished when you put your passions to purposeful use.

Christina Caraballo is highly respected in the community for her passion to move health IT forward, working with other thought leaders and getting involved in her community to learn, share ideas and solve problems.

Rachelle Blake’s critical thinking and problem solving skills allow her to equip professionals to meet policy, business, and regulatory requirements in everyday practice – to take the possible in health IT and make it real.  

[Also: A guide to Women in Health IT happenings at HIMSS17]

HIMSS knows that women in health IT seek resources and community: About a year ago, after surveying over 20,000 women about the current state of women’s professional needs in health IT, we identified a need for expanded recognition of women sector-wide.

Some 83% of respondents said there remains insufficient recognition for the women executives in health IT.  And, an overwhelming 85% would find value in a resource recognizing contributions, and supporting the career advancement, of women. Women across all career levels within health IT seek community and resources.

HIMSS is answering that call.  Our resources include a biweekly enewsletter from HIMSS Media and HIMSS webinars, podcasts, roundtable reports and more offered online for anyone ready to enjoy and benefit from this information. 

Women have been making a difference in health IT for decades, but their accomplishments and contributions are not often visible to all of us. Recognizing these seven recipients of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Award changes that scenario. I congratulate them and encourage all of us to embrace and learn from their collaborative spirit and success. 

This post originally appeared on this HIMSS site.

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