Tamika Douglas, a student in the Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) Program in the College of Health Professions at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, was one of 25 students in the country selected as a student ambassador for the recent American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) convention and exhibit recently held in Miami.
She was selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants to serve among a team of sponsored student ambassadors and volunteers, a first for the convention. The event brought together more than 4,000 health care professionals to learn about the latest issues affecting the industry and insights into strategies for advancing the profession.
“We were so excited to have Tamika selected as one of the student ambassadors for the AHIMA convention,” said Rebecca Reynolds, EdD, RHIA, FAHIMA, chair and professor in the Department of Health Informatics and Information Management. “Having her selected is a testament to her leadership abilities as she is able to juggle responsibilities of a full-time job, school, and her family. She is typical of the students in our program who have many responsibilities outside of the classroom, but who are able to make the commitment to the profession. Student involvement in the professional association is something we encourage all of our students to do but it takes drive and ambition, like Tamika, to make it happen.”
Douglas graduated with a degree in biology and worked in a laboratory setting for many years. She later completed a certification in medical technology, working as a med-tech at a blood bank for seven years. She was introduced to health informatics in her current role as a medical laboratory scientist.
“I’ve never done anything like this in the sciences, clinical laboratory is my background, but with this pathway into a different field, I can see many opportunities,” she said.
Douglas has worked in the field of clinical laboratory sciences for 13 years and says she is eager to graduate in the spring of 2019. She hopes to use her new career in HIIM to promote better communication among information technologists, physicians, clinicians, and the health informatics field.
“I see myself as breaking down barriers and encouraging everyone to collaborate to use health technology better to promote health care,” Douglas said in her submission video. The video was used as criteria in selecting student ambassador candidates for the conference.
During the conference, she had the opportunity to network with current HIIM professions and future employers as well as meet with recent graduates from HIIM programs throughout the country. Douglas said attending the conference encouraged her that HIIM would be a very rewarding career path.
“As I was walking around meeting people at this convention, I realized that this was a career that I’m going to stay in. I really felt good about my decision to pursue this career — from cyber security, privacy, compliance, information governance — there’s just so many different tracks,” Douglas said. “There are endless possibilities.”