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Valerie Watzlaf, PhD, MPH, RHIA, FAHIMA is vice chair of Education and associate professor within the Department of Health Information Management in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburgh. 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. In those capacities, she teaches and performs research in the areas of health information management, epidemiology, and quality improvement. She has taught courses in the following areas:

  • Introduction to Health Information and the Health Care System
  • Classification Systems
  • Statistical Applications in HIM
  • Quality Care Assessment
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Information Systems in the Non-Traditional Setting
  • The Electronic Health Record
  • Security, Privacy and Legal and Ethical Issues of HIS
  • Business Issues and Clinical Data Analysis
  • Issues in Long Term Care Services
  • Research Methods on Aging

Watzlaf has worked as an HIM practitioner and consulted in several health care organizations in HIM, long-term care, and epidemiology. She is very active in professional and scientific societies having served/chaired the following AHIMA committees: Data Quality Task Force; Coding, Policy, and Strategy Committee; Research Committee; Council on Accreditation (which is now CAHIIM), the Council for Excellence in Education (CEE); the AHIMA Board of Directors, and the AHIMA Foundation Board of Directors. Watzlaf is currently serving as the president/chair of the AHIMA 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 AMIA and AHIMA. She recently served on the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) Expert Roundtable on “Evaluating Pathways to ICD-11.”

She's also served on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of AHIMA (JAHIMA) and Perspectives in HIM. Watzlaf has published extensively in the field of HIM and has delivered over 100 presentations and authored over 80 publications as well as a book entitled “Health Informatics Research Methods: Principles and Practice.”

Watzlaf has received the AHIMA Research Triumph Award, PHIMA’s (Pennsylvania’s) Distinguished Member Award, and the University of Pittsburgh SHRS Distinguished Alumnus Award.


Department of Health Information Management


Health Care Supervision and Management
Health Informatics
Health Information Management
Health Information Systems