In 1995, I was the President of AHIMA and Linda Kloss was the Executive Director.  We both realized that AHIMA (AMRA at the time) needed to become more involved in IFHIMA (IFHRO at the time!) and we decided to attend the IFHRO Congress in Munich, Germany.  Much to my surprise, Carol Lewis declared I was a delegate and I sat at the Congress delegate table for the first time.  Little did I know that I would become President of IFHRO and have the privilege of meeting other health information professionals across the world, and see IFHRO grow into IFHIMA and make a difference in many areas of health information management.

Some of the highlights of my IFHIMA journey included participation in the coding certification initiative, development of the IFHIMA website, collaborations with IMIA and WHO, and expanding our membership countries.  I have fond memories of staying in members’ homes and being immersed in the culture and beauty of those countries, for example Willem Hogeboom in Holland and Lorraine Nicholson in England.  I will never forget the gentleman who was my interpreter in China and who showed me the city of Beijing through his eyes; and the great IFHIMA friends in Australia, Canada, and Ireland who are always ready with a laugh and an invitation to have a pint of ale!  And Italy, Denmark, Japan and Korea – thanks for the memories!  Yes, fun times, but also to see up close and personal the width and breadth of our professionals across the world and how they have made a difference for better health records and information.

So, thanks to members like Carol Lewis, Phyllis Watson, and Ulli Hoffmann who have been there since the beginning and continued through the years to keep IFHRO/IFHIMA alive and well.  In closing, if you want to travel, meet lots of fun and interesting colleagues and make a difference for health information management around the world, then becoming an active member of IFHIMA is the organization for you!  Happy 50th IFHIMA!

Jean S. Clark, RHIA

Past President, IFHRO