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Emma Grimes, Pitt Health Informatics alumna

Emma Grimes, Pitt Health Informatics alumna

I entered my first year at Pitt as a biology major with aspirations of being a dentist. I filled my schedule with all of the proper dental prerequisites and spent my free time researching my future career. By the end of my first year, that had all changed. I felt discouraged, unmotivated and was no longer passionate about pursuing this career. All I knew at that point was that I was still interested in working in health care in some capacity.

I went back to the drawing board and was researching different career paths again. One day I was looking through the bachelor’s degrees offered at Pitt when one stuck out to me – the Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics (HI). The more I learned about the program in the Department of Health Information Management, the more excited I got! The combination of health care and technology just seemed so interesting to me, and made me feel hopeful about my studies and future career again.

Throughout the program, I learned the basic concepts of health information technology as well as a mix of coding, data science, statistics and general health care industry knowledge. I found the curriculum to be very engaging and interesting! The classes that stood out the most to me were Introduction to Healthcare IT and Emerging Technologies, Project Management and Systems Analysis, and Revenue Cycle Management. However, my absolute favorite part of the HI program was the small class sizes. This allowed me to freely ask questions in classes and to be engaged in class discussions.

I feel so lucky to have had that tight-knit community within my major, especially at such a large university! Right from the start the faculty work with us on career resources in the department, such as resume writing and interviewing skills, to prepare us for careers in HI. Assistant Professor Patti Anania-Firouzan, who is also the clinical education coordinator, was very helpful in terms of helping us get internships and job offers. Each fall term she hosts several recruiting events with organizations who seek out Pitt HI graduates. These sessions enable students to learn more about the organizations and their internship and job opportunities and provide valuable networking experiences. Every aspect of the HI program--the curriculum, projects, internship requirement, capstone and professor network--have allowed me to thrive in my post-grad career.

Currently, I work at Cigna Healthcare as a TECDP (technology development program) senior analyst. Cigna is a health care company that mainly operates as a health insurer. The TECDP program is a three-year rotational program that empowers early-career technologists to explore different technology disciplines. This means that every year until 2026, I get to choose a new role within the program!

My current team is within the Provider Technology organization (very relevant to HI!) and I am doing a project management rotation. Within my role, I am currently assisting a program manager with a program that relates to the optimization of provider claim reimbursement systems. Most of my peers within the TECDP program come from a computer science background, so being able to come into this role with a plethora of general health care knowledge from HI has really given me an edge in terms of acclimating quickly to this company and my projects!

Choosing to major in health informatics was one of the best decisions I made at Pitt and has undoubtedly set me and my classmates up for success in our first post-grad roles!


Written by: Emma Grimes (BSHI ‘23)

For more information on the Health Informatics program please see our website or contact an enrollment specialist at today!