Anniversaries offer the opportunity for reflection. As I think about the 50 years of the
Federation’s existence and the activities that preceded its establishment, I identify three different
ways in which I was involved.
As a student (1953) one of the hospitals in which I did my clinical practice was participating in
the first International Study Project which explored the feasibility of using the International Lists
of Diseases and Causes of Death for indexing diseases in hospitals. I must confess that I knew
little about the background of the study but valued the experience of working with an alternative
to the Standard Nomenclature of Diseases and Operations which was in use at the time. The
consideration of alternatives to current practice was an important lesson that has served me well
over the years.
The second stage of my involvement was attending Congresses. The Second International
Congress on Medical Records was held in Washington, DC in October 1956 and is a memorable
event for me. I not only attended but was a member of the Publications Committee (my first
volunteer activity for my national association). The Fourth International Congress on Medical
Records was held in Chicago in October 1963 and I presented a paper describing medical record
activities in Latin America. In September 1976 I attended the Seventh International Medical
Records Congress held in Toronto, Canada. At all these Congresses I benefitted from the
presentations but did not participate in any of meeting of the international committee (1956 and
1963) or of the IFHRO Grand Council (1976).
In 1980, the American Medical Record Association appointed me as its representative to the
International Federation of Health Record Organizations. My active participation in IFHRO
began that year at the Congress in The Hague where I attended the IFHRO Grand Council
meetings, was elected Vice President, and began to participate in sub-committees and IFHRO-
WHO joint projects. The sub-committees and projects included members from a number of
different countries and we all learned from one another and developed lasting friendships.
As a result of my association with the Federation, my life has been enriched by the knowledge
that I’ve gained and the friends that I’ve made. I hope that many others will experience the same.
Carol Lewis, MPH, RHIA
IFHIMA Past President