WPHIMA is proud to honor Maryann Anderson, MPH, RHIA as the PHIMA Distinguished Member for 2021. Read about Maryann’s HIM journey.
My first introduction to the profession of medical records (MR) was when I was a high school senior trying to decide on my future. I found a pamphlet on medical records and thought the career sounded like a perfect match to my interests. I selected Colby-Sawyer College in NH which had a medical record administration program. I then attended the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital Medical Record program in Baltimore, MD.
From Baltimore, I went to Detroit, MI where I was an assistant director of HIM in a 750-bed acute care hospital. The director of the department was a wonderful mentor who encouraged me to continue my education. So, after three years, I left Detroit and went to Ann Arbor, MI to the University of Michigan where I majored in Public Health Administration and earned an MPH.
That led me to Chicago, IL and a job overseeing the Family Planning Program at the Chicago Board of Health. While there, I wrote an article published in AMRA’s Medical Record News entitled “Volume, Complexity Challenge MRA’s in Maternity-Infant Care Program”.
My husband’s job then had us moving to Pittsburgh, PA. With a baby to take care of, I decided to stay home. But then I received a call from JoAnn Avoli, Program Director of the HIT program at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). She was going on leave and needed a substitute, I agreed, and that was the beginning of a 40+ year relationship with the CCAC HIT program. I became a full-time professor in 1986 until my retirement in 2020. At CCAC I taught a variety of HIM courses and was the HIT clinical (PPE) coordinator. In the coordinator role I was fortunate to meet and work with many of the HIM practitioners throughout Southwestern PA. What a wonderful and generous group of people. They willingly shared their expertise and time with the CCAC students. To me, the most important part of HIM education is the clinical where you actually get to work with professionals and see all that book-learning put into practice.
To keep up to date, I attended many, many workshops, seminars, and conferences arranged by WPHIMA, PHIMA, AHIMA, and AOE. Although I never was an officer, I tried to be an excellent “general member” and helped out on a variety of committees. I learned so much from talking with members and listening to the excellent educational presentations. I also served on the CCAC HIT advisory committee and the Slippery Rock University, M.S. in Health Information Management Program advisory committee.
Needless to say, I am extremely grateful and humbled by this Distinguished Member honor. My sincere thanks go out to WPHIMA, PHIMA and my former students for their participation in this recognition.