First of all: CONGRATULATIONS TO IFHIMA ON THE 50th ANNIVERSARY AND MANNY PROSPEROUS YEARS TO COME. For me many great experiences relates to IFHIMA, to professional development, to friendships, to meetings and congresses around the world, but most of all to individuals and culture.

My introduction to IFHIMA happened in 1986 when my colleague Lykke Rasmussen was a Danish representative.  The Danish Organization for HIMs (SadL) had been familiar with IFHIMA since 1968. Lykke participated in WHO Workshop on ICD-10 classification in Malta in 1986 and in following congresses. She worked together with bigwigs like Carol Lewis, Phyllis Watson, Ruth Zwick, and Ulli Hoffmann until 1996. I was honored to be her replacement.

My first meeting took place at the World Congress, Vancouver, Canada, in 1992 and instantly my interest in being part of the organizational work was created. From the beginning my IFHIMA activities focused on expanding knowledge and potential recruitment of members within European Professional Organizations.

In October 2000 representatives from United Kingdom (Lorraine Nicholson), Ireland (Ann Brennan), Germany (Angelika Händel), The Netherlands (Willem Hogeboom), Italy (Luigi Molendini) and Denmark (Darley Petersen) launched the first Regional Team of IFHIMA as IFHIMA EUROPE on Harmonisation of Health Information Management. The team met face-to-face in connection to World Congresses and European Congresses. We progressed, but in order to reach the finish line we strongly needed financial support to set up and to join locally meetings for coming member states. We contacted European Union in order to create a European educational program for HIMs, but unfortunately this would involve a large guarantee sum which neither IFHIMA nor any of the European member countries could undertake. We had to continue our campaigning work with organizational and private funding.

By implementation of today’s organizational structure in 2010, the IFHIMA MEMBERSHIP TEAM was launched to cover globally to

  • Obtain Existing Materials and Create New Materials and Promotions
  • Define the Membership Recruitment Campaign
  • Coordinate and Execute the Membership Recruitment Campaign
  • Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Membership Recruitment Campaign

I had the pleasure to chair this team with representatives from the Regions: Americas (Marci MacDonald), Europe (Stuart Green), Africa & Eastern Mediterranean (Joon Hong) South East Asia (Yukiko Yokobori), Western Pacific (Sallyanne Wismann). Every new member state and every new individual member was received with great pleasure and seen as proof of IFHIMA progress. Also collection of annual membership fees in cooperation with AHIMA, USA, became included.

I enjoyed the cooperation with members of the Executive Board and IFHIMA Teams and with all individual members as well. A lot of inspiration and energy was gathered among all who fulfilled their tasks as leisure work without any pay. Valuable friendships were created over national borders – friendships which I still enjoy and appreciate after my retirement from IFHIMA and hospital work.

Over two decades, I have visited global destinations like Canada, USA, Ireland, Great Britain, South Korea, Scandinavian countries, and several European countries. All of these gave me the opportunity not only to update my professional knowledge, but also to meet the local culture. As my husband often joined me on these “business trips”, we combined the meetings with a subsequent vacation to get to know the places better.

Looking back over the long period I have followed IFHIMA, I find great pleasure in seeing how IFHIMA has developed and now embraces all WHO Regions.

Darley Petersen

Retired Health Information Manager
Odense University Hospital, Denmark

Member of IFHIMA since 1993

IFHIMA – European Regional Team 2000 – 2013
IFHIMA – Membership Team (Chair) 2010 – 2013
IFHIMA – Executive Board ex Officio 2010 – 2013