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HIM and Health Informatics are for EVERYONE!

Paula Davis HeadshotSHRS' Inclusion Initiatives play an important role in the University of Pittsburgh's efforts to promote diversity and inclusion campus-wide. It is an effective means of reaching diverse students to let them know that their decision to pursue their studies in one of our health care options is a fantastic way of providing high quality, comprehensive care to others and that the door is open for everyone.

It is our pleasure to partner with SHRS programs in recruiting, welcoming, retaining and graduating talented diverse health care professionals for the good of our country's health.

—Paula Davis, associate vice chancellor, Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Pitt Health Information Management Diversity and Inclusion Initiative:

As the demand for quality health care rises, so does the need for accurate and reliable patient data. Pitt’s Department of Health Information Management (HIM) aims to educate and empower students and faculty to cultivate a diverse profession that integrates health data science into the socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural populations they serve with high quality and immersive experiences that prepare them to meet future health data management challenges across the ever-changing landscape of health care.

Our HIM Department is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion to create a more welcoming, accessible and inclusive school for our students, faculty, staff and friends in the community. We acknowledge that there are systemic problems that require complex solutions, and that we must become part of the change, which starts with this diversity and inclusion initiative.

As health information managers, we must be aware of the role we play in the centuries-long systemic oppression of people of color, particularly black and indigenous people who have consistently received poorer quality health care. The goal of this initiative is to help break this cycle by promoting diversity and inclusion at Pitt HIM, highlighting the strengths of our diverse community and increasing outreach efforts to recruit health information managers who are more representative of our community at large.

Our Initiative Aligns With:

The Plan: 

This three-part plan allows us to share what we are doing and how we plan to continue to disrupt the barriers to:

  • Diversifying the identities among practicing HIM professionals
  • Maintaining and advancing the climate of inclusivity among the students, staff and faculty of our department
  • Preparing HIM professionals to be knowledgeable and incorporate the diversity of health information for all patients of all backgrounds and viewpoints

1. Communicate Our Strengths

Faculty and Staff Activities

Equip faculty and staff with skills to advance inclusive health care experiences through the development of health information technologies. Here's what our faculty are doing:

  • Faculty attended the 2020 Diversity Forum, Advancing Social Justice: A Call to Action. This helped us to grow, listen and self-reflect.
  • Several faculty are incorporating diversity and inclusion exercises in their courses. Some examples include a social portfolio on HIM leadership, an evaluation of the culture of a health care organization around professional ethics and cultural diversity, and a heavy focus on the many cultural differences one encounters in health care and how this can impact the patient’s quality of care and health information.
  • HIM faculty have been involved in the SHRS Wellness Pavilion and the Neighborhood Resilience Project for many years. They've been building health information systems to capture and reflect accurate and reliable health information for patients and their families. They've also focused on the use of proper health information technologies to build platforms such as the electronic health record and telehealth and mobile health applications. Another major focus is the development of health information governance policies that reflect important areas such as privacy and security of health information. 

Student Activities Include:

  • SHRS Wellness Pavilion - The HIM Department has been involved with the SHRS Wellness Pavilion since its inception in 2017. All of our undergraduate and graduate students as well as our students groups, HIMSA and GSHIC, were involved in the projects. Some of these included the creation of a data collection system, security audits of those systems and HIPAA presentations. Currently, our HIM students are taking the lead on developing a mentorship program through the Wellness Pavilion. This initiative was started by one of our graduate students aiming to get students of all disciplines to participate. This student-led mentorship program is for middle and high school students in Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas. (Wellness PavilionExplore HIM: Accessing Pitt Mobile Personal Health Record)
  • Neighborhood Resilience Project (NRP) - Our HIM students have been working closely with the NRP for many years. Along with the HIM faculty, they have developed information governance policies and procedures for the Focus Pittsburgh Free Health Center. They've developed a mobile app called imHealthy to collect data on wellness and trauma aspects of members of the Hill District community. Students continue to work alongside the clinic to address quality improvement, insurance and other health information and informatics related projects. 
  • Student Government Board Diversity and Inclusion Committee - The SGB Diversity and Inclusion Committee is dedicated to supporting the University’s initiatives in diversity and inclusion. HIMSA, our undergraduate student group, and GSHIC, our graduate health informatics student group, works closely with the SGB to promote diversity and inclusion in all of their activities.


2. Strengthen Our Partnerships

Enhance Engagement

  • We are hosting a series of speaker discussions comprised of faculty, staff and students to engage in more reflections to promote listening, learning and growth in our community.
  • Through our work with the Neighborhood Resilience Project and the SHRS Wellness Pavilion, we are implementing University and Health Sciences resources to support efforts and events aimed at advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • We are enhancing our engagement with regional and national organizations such as AHIMA, HIMSS, PHIMA, WPHIMA and WPHIMSS in order to connect students, faculty and staff across multiple HIM populations.
  • Our advisory committee (comprised of students, alumni, faculty and staff) oversees the planning and implementation process for both our undergraduate and graduate programs to strengthen our diversity and ensure inclusivity.

3. Advance Our Efforts

Spread the Initiatives

Leverage HIM's efforts to grow, expand and unify initiatives across all programs at SHRS.

  • Our goal is to spread this initiative across the University and other clinical organizations, wherever health information is used, to promote the quality and safety of health care.
  • We will advance our mission through an increasingly diverse body of students, alumni, faculty and staff supported through a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.


Special thanks to HIM students Eric Jang, Micah Nollora and Nicholas Gamcik for their contributions to building this page.