HIMSS Announces 2021 Changemaker in Health Awardees

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HIMSS proudly recognizes 11 awardees of the inaugural Changemaker in Health Awards. In addition, HIMSS is proud to recognize the recipient of the first-ever Changemaker Lifetime Achievement Award.

HIMSS Changemaker in Health Awards recognize inspiring senior healthcare executives who rigorously challenge the status quo in their journeys to build a brighter health future. The awards celebrate innovative individuals as they lead change in their relentless pursuit to improve care by harnessing the power of information and technology.

Awardees were determined by public voting, making the HIMSS Changemaker in Health Awards uniquely powerful and a true representation of the voice of health information and technology.

2021 HIMSS Changemaker Award Recipients

Aysha Al Mahri

Group Chief Nursing Officer, Corporate Nursing & Midwifery Division
SEHA –Abu Dhabi Health Services
President, Emirates Nursing Association
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Aysha Al Mahri is the President of Emirates Nursing Association and the Group Chief Nursing Officer at Abu Dhabi Health Services Company “SEHA”. She was the first leader in a nursing senior position to identify the importance of the nursing informatics specialty. She established Nursing Informatics Society at the country level. She acknowledges this need through establishing the position for nurse informatics within the nursing division in SEHA   as well.,  , and since 2017, she builds the capacity for nursing informatics specialty through in house training sessions accredited by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi. She is empowering the nursing informatics team with identified committees under nursing practice advisory groups. She is a strong support towards technology adoption.

Alison Connelly-Flores

Chief Medical Information Officer
Urban Health Plan, Inc.
Bronx, New York, US 

As CMIO of Urban Health Plan, a Federally-Qualified Health Center, Alison Connelly-Flores has worked diligently to increase Covid vaccination rates through aggressive texting campaigns and an on-line vaccine registration for one of the hardest hit areas in the country.   Her recent focus has been on improving telehealth services and implementing remote patient monitoring for the most vulnerable patients.  Under her tutelage as CMIO, UHP was the first FQHC to implement E-Clinical Works in the country and the first to have a truly integrated EHR. Connelly-Flores has been the bridge between healthcare technology, analytics and informatics. This is what Connelly-Flores does on Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, she sees patients, is usually charting on the weekend, handling EMR upgrades and assisting clinicians on how to best utilize the EHR. Her patient satisfaction scores are extremely high, and colleagues are consistently attesting to how wonderful Connelly-Flores is to listen to her peers and affect appropriate changes within the EHR. 

Sue Feldman

Director, Graduate Programs in Health Informatics
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
Birmingham, Alabama, US

Dr. Sue Feldman is a highly valued professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Specifically, she is the program director of the graduate programs in health informatics, senior scientist in the Informatics Institute at UAB, and an active and recognized participant in industry innovation related to social good and well being. 

The historic challenges in healthcare due to the recent pandemic have made executives in health IT acutely aware of our systemic weaknesses. Dr. Feldman answered the call by leading the development of the Map it, Zap it coronavirus symptom tracker, adopted by nearly 100,000 community users. This site led to an Alabama statewide development initiative, supported by Governor Kay Ivey, known as GuideSafe™. Led by Dr. Feldman, the development of GuideSafe™ resulted in the delivery of on-going COVID-19 symptom monitoring through Healthcheck, Event Passport, with 250,000 daily users, a statewide exposure notification system (ENS), and most recently, a worldwide vaccination and adverse events dashboard. GuideSafe™ was instrumental in maintaining face to face instruction in schools across Alabama.

Damian Jankowicz

VP, Information Management, CIO & Chief Privacy Officer 
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

Dr. Damian Jankowicz, is the VP, Chief Information Officer and Chief Privacy Officer at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). A PhD graduate of McMaster University, where he specialized in AI, machine learning and computational modelling, Dr. Jankowicz blends his passion for innovation with the power of technology to advance care, research and education. Under his leadership, CAMH’s EHR grew to what it is today, a highly integrated paperless platform designed by clinicians, for clinicians. This was foundational in the successful achievement of HIMSS Stage 7 in 2017 (first academic hospital in Canada) and being awarded HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence in 2018.  Furthermore, Dr. Jankowicz established CAMH’s Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics.  Comprised of world-leading scientists employing big data analytics, machine learning, and multi-scale modeling, the centre aims to accelerate global collaborations in brain science to fundamentally change how mental illness is understood and subsequently treated.  

Stephanie Lahr

Chief Information Officer and Chief Medical Information Officer
Monument Health
Rapid City, South Dakota, US 

Dr. Stephanie Lahr serves in a unique dual role as both CIO and CMIO at Monument Health. Dr. Lahr is a leader who puts care for the communities of western South Dakota and Eastern Wyoming front and center of any investment in technology she makes. In so doing, Dr. Lahr is singlehandedly changing the way rural healthcare is delivered. Additionally, as CIOs accelerate their plans towards digital healthcare, Dr. Lahr is leading the way forward. She is the first to prioritize an AI-powered omnichannel virtual assistant platform that will allow patients in her communities access to care and clinical and administrative services through Monument Health’s digital front door. These examples of leadership and innovation, fueled by a drive to make lives better within her community, demonstrate Dr. Lahr’s unwavering commitment to technology to not only improve upon but completely transform healthcare experiences for patients and physicians. She is, in every sense of the word, a changemaker.

Karen Murphy

Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer and Founding Director
Steele Institute for Health Innovation at Geisinger
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US

Dr. Karen Murphy is executive vice president, chief innovation officer and founding director of the Steele Institute for Health Innovation at Geisinger. She has worked to improve and transform healthcare delivery throughout her career in both the public and private sectors. Before joining Geisinger, she served as Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, addressing the most significant health issues facing the state, including developing an innovative payment and delivery model for rural hospitals. Prior to her role as secretary, Dr. Murphy served as director of the State Innovation Models Initiative at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as President and CEO of Moses Taylor Health Care System in Pennsylvania.

Isaiah Nathaniel

Chief Information Officer
Delaware Valley Community Health, Inc
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Isaiah Nathaniel serves as CIO of Delaware Valley Community Health Inc. — a community-based healthcare organization known for offering primary medical, dental and behavioral health services to patients regardless of their financial standing. Nathaniel is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council and is the president of the Calcom Technologies, using his expertise to improve technological adoption in his area. His dedication to patient care is what fuels his passion for optimizing IT experiences. Having been presented with new challenges to overcome on a daily basis for more than a decade, Nathaniel has grown accustomed to embracing new technologies to enhance care quality for all who need it.

Linda Reed

Chief Information Officer, Vice President of Information Technology
St. Joseph's Health
Paterson, New Jersey, US

Linda Reed, St. Joseph’s Health’s (SJH) Vice President and Chief Informational Officer, is widely regarded as an influential leader not only within her organization, but across the healthcare industry. With more than 25 years in healthcare information technology, her leadership ability was put to the ultimate test during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, as she saw the organization through the implementation of cutting-edge solutions that would aid SJH not only in its fight through the COVID-19 crisis but as it forges ahead through the constantly evolving world of healthcare technology.

John H. Windom

Executive Director
Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Electronic Health Records Modernization (OEHRM)
Washington, DC, US

John Windom leads VA’s effort to harness the power of information and technology to positively transform the delivery of Veteran health care by creating an interoperable electronic health record (EHR) solution shared among VA, the Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and community care providers. This new EHR solution facilitates the secure transfer of active-duty service members’ health records as they transition to Veteran status, improving data analysis capabilities and leading to better health outcomes. 

Deanna Wise

Sr. Vice-President & Chief Information Officer
Banner Health
Phoenix, Arizona, US

Currently at Banner Health, Deanna Wise has built a high performing leadership team which has successfully implemented Workday and developed a data strategy and supporting governance while also improving overall IT service delivery. She is in the process of implementing an industry leading population health tool, Innovaccer, which will deliver critical needs of Banner’s Insurance division integrated with Banner’s core clinical delivery system. She conducted a rapid rollout of an Acute and Ambulatory Telehealth platform to meet the needs of COVID-19. She introduced several Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Bots and enabled consumerism of healthcare through the implementation of a Digital Front Door strategy. She is focused on cybersecurity standards and maturity while modernizing key core systems (Revenue Cycle, Human Resources, Data Management) and appropriately leveraging cloud services.

Frans van Houten

Chief Executive Officer
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Frans van Houten serves as the CEO of Philips and is committed to embracing and integrating information and technology across the health continuum; identifying and tackling healthcare challenges and driving new technologies and digital transformation of healthcare to improve patients’ lives. Van Houten has done this consistently for years, while transforming Philips, a 130-year-old company, from a diversified conglomerate into a focused health technology leader with products and solutions that span the health continuum, from healthy living and prevention to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips’ products and solutions help customers deliver on the Quadruple Aim and help people take better care of their health at every stage of life. Determined to deliver the full benefits of data-enabled care, van Houten has significantly stepped up Philips’ activities in informatics and data science. Today, around half of Philips R&D professionals are active in these fields, and most of Philips’ acquisitions since 2015 have been designed to strengthen its informatics capabilities.

The HIMSS Changemaker Lifetime Achievement Award

The HIMSS Changemaker Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to George Halverson.

George Halvorson is the Chair and CEO of the Institute for InterGroup Understanding. He is also the immediate past Chair of the First Five Commission for Children and Families for the State of California.

Halvorson served for more than 30 years as CEO of six different healthcare delivery and financing organizations. Halvorson was the Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente from 2002 to early 2014. Prior to that position, he served as the CEO of the HealthPartners cooperatively governed health plan and care system in Minnesota for roughly 17 years.

He formed the Institute for InterGroup Understanding two years before retiring from Kaiser Permanente.

HIMSS21 Changemakers in Health will be recognized Aug. 9-13 at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

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