Population and Public Health

Black History Month HIMSS Member Spotlight: Angela Ross DNP, MPH, PMP, DASM, PHCNS-BC, FHIMSS

We celebrate Black History Month

HIMSS is celebrating Black History Month by spotlighting HIMSS members who are making a difference for underrepresented minority communities. HIMSS has supported its members in initiatives to lessen racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare like the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, the annual Global Health Equity Week, and celebrating black excellence at the HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition.  

Today, HIMSS is highlighting Angela Ross, DNP, MPH, PMP, DASM, PHCNS-BC, FHIMSS. Angela is the assistant professor, director doctorate in Health Informatics at UTHealth Houston McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics.  

Angela will also be a speaker at the upcoming 2024 HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition, supporting the Nursing Informatics Forum.

Angela Ross

What inspired you to pursue a career in health IT, and how has your journey contributed to advancements in the field, particularly for underrepresented communities?

After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel from the US Army Nurse Corps and the Defense Health Agency, I eagerly embraced a new chapter at McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston. In my previous role as chief medical information officer, I spearheaded the selection and implementation of IT systems across military medical treatment facilities. At UTHealth Houston, I leverage my extensive clinical knowledge and experience in teaching, evaluation, process improvement, implementation, and workforce development. My sincere goal is to nurture future leaders in informatics by teaching the importance of evidence-based practice, innovation, and critical thinking.

My passion for applied/clinical informatics was ignited during my tenure in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at a US Army Medical Center. At the time, the hospital was on the cusp of implementing Electronic Health Records (EHR), and I seized the opportunity to join the committee overseeing this transition. This experience, particularly the collaboration with the interdisciplinary team, was pivotal in shaping my interest and subsequent career in Health Informatics.

Can you share a specific initiative or project you've been involved in within the industry that has positively impacted addressing health disparities or improving healthcare access for marginalized populations?

Contributing my expertise and time to various health care organizations has enabled me to stay updated with the dynamic healthcare landscape and actively improve patient care and services. My contributions span multiple organizations and initiatives, including the grant-funded Health Care for the Homeless Houston (HHH), the Gaining Equity in Training for Public Health Informatics and Technology program, and the Texas Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences' Community Engagement Component. These grant-funded programs are focused on historically marginalized communities, including Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latinx populations throughout Texas.

How do you envision the future of healthcare technology playing a role in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry? Are there specific areas where you see opportunities for positive change?

In envisioning the future, health care technology must be developed and implemented with a strong focus on all. This requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including policymakers, health care providers, technologists, and community representatives, to ensure that technology is a tool for bridging gaps in health care. Through deliberate and inclusive approaches, health care technology can be a powerful ally in improving outcomes for all. Future developments must focus on creating algorithms trained on diverse datasets to ensure that AI-driven diagnostics, treatment recommendations, and patient management tools are equitable. Technology can facilitate better engagement with communities through platforms that allow for direct feedback, community health initiatives, and participatory design processes involving community members in developing health interventions and technologies.

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