2017 Most Influential Women in Health IT: How I Advanced in My Profession


Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University
Senior Advisor, Healthcare Informatics
Center for Computational Health
IBM Research

Recipient of the 2017 HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards


As I reflect on my career in health IT, I am fortunate to have outstanding mentors who have guided me, and made possible so many contributions to the field of health informatics.


At the beginning of my career, I was also fortunate for my own introduction to the field of medical informatics. I worked for a pathologist at the University of Kentucky as a programmer, and helped install one of the very early Clinical Pathology lab systems. I excelled at documentation, and wanted to be sure that others could save time by utilizing proper documentation, in order to prevent miscommunications about issues that were either already resolved, or still pending. In this role, my job responsibilities also included managing the process of selecting a computer system for the Pathology Clinical Lab, in all of its intricacies.


Following my experience at University of Kentucky, I decided to write my first book entitled How to Select a Computer for the Pathology Clinical Laboratory. This was my introduction to both publishing and teaching. I ended up writing and or editing almost 30 books during my career and publishing over 250 articles in my field. I learned that if you want to explain something to someone, it helps to write the story down first; that forces you to be focused and precise on the topic at hand. Moving forward, I devoted my career to the implementation of health IT.


After being a programmer and installer at the University of Kentucky and receiving both teaching certification and a master’s degree, I was ready to move into a more administrative role. I accepted a position at Temple University where I became the Director of Computing for the Health Sciences Center, propelling me into the use of computers in hospitals. At this point, I began to take an active role in various professional organizations, while working myself up to leadership roles as a volunteer. Over time, I was fortunate enough to become a fellow in several of these intra-professional healthcare related organizations.


During my tenure at Temple, we installed a financial system and selected and implemented a clinical laboratory system. Throughout these 18 years, I also completed my doctorate, and published a book entitled “How to Select a Computerized Hospital Information System.” This was the beginning of additional Volumes in the Springer series on Computer in Healthcare, of which I was the co-editor.

In 1985, I accepted a job at the University of Maryland, where I became Director of Computing for the Health Sciences Center. I also had an academic appointment at Johns Hopkins, where I became a full professor. After retiring from academia, I moved into the private sector, taking theory in to practice at the point of care. Currently, I work for IBM in research.

This is my story. Given what I accomplished, I was honored to be selected as a member of the inaugural class of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT.

I am most fortunate to have a fabulous husband who has been my greatest supporter and mentor. We have two children of whom we are enormously proud. My son Dr. Charles Ball, and my daughter Elizabeth Concordia. We also have five grandchildren: Alexis, Mike, Erica Concordia and Alex and Ryan Ball.

In conclusion, I feel strongly that the world for women in IT could not be brighter. I am confident this potential will continue to grow – in the year 2017 and beyond.

Know someone like Marion?

Nominate them for the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards.