Dr. Valerie Watzlaf is professor emeritus of the Department of Health Information Management in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburgh. She has devoted over 39 years to teaching courses in health information management and informatics (including statistics, epidemiology, privacy and security, quality management, and research methods) and conducts research on clinical classification systems (coding productivity and predictive models) and telehealth privacy and security best practices. She has also been instrumental as her role as Vice Chair of Education in the development of a new Master of Science in Health Informatics program at the University. Dr. Watzlaf has worked as an HIM practitioner and consulted in several health care organizations in HIM, long-term care, and epidemiology.
Dr. Watzlaf is currently serving on the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) which advises the HHS Secretary on health data, statistics, privacy, national health information policy, and the Department’s strategy to best address those issues. She is also serving on the Privacy, Confidentiality and Security subcommittee of NCVHS and is a co-chair of the ICD-11 subgroup of the subcommittee on Standards of the NCVHS. She was the 2019 President of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), a national HIM association in the US, representing over 100,000 members and was elected to its national Board of Directors by a national ballot and served a three year term. She has also served and chaired other national committees of AHIMA including the Data Quality Task Force; Coding, Policy, and Strategy Committee; Research Committee; Council on Accreditation (which is now CAHIIM—Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management), the Council for Excellence in Education (CEE); and the AHIMA Foundation Board of Directors. She was also appointed by AHIMA to serve on the American Medical Association’s CPT-5 Project and was a member of the Standards and Terminologies Task Force between the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and AHIMA. She served on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of AHIMA (JAHIMA) and Perspectives in HIM. Dr. Watzlaf has published extensively in the field of HIM. She has delivered over 100 presentations and authored over 100 publications including “Health Informatics Research Methods: Principles and Practice,” which was recently recognized by Doody Enterprises as a Core Title in the Health Sciences for Health Information Management.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Watzlaf received her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Records Administration from the School of Health Related Professions; her Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctorate in Epidemiology from the Graduate School of Public Health; all from the University of Pittsburgh. She also holds a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Watzlaf has received several awards including the AHIMA Research Triumph Award, PHIMA’s (Pennsylvania’s) Distinguished Member Award, and the University of Pittsburgh’s SHRS Distinguished Alumnus Award.