- Posted by Admin GIT
- On June 17, 2019
- 0 Comments
IFHIMA Congresses, what can I say? Truly a life changing experience, and some of my most treasured IFHIMA memories.
The very first Congress I ever attended was after I joined the Board as the Regional Director for the Americas, in 2010. It was held in Milan, Italy. It was so incredible and amazing to meet HIM’s from all over the globe, people that all do the same job as I do in Canada, and that all share the same issues and challenges! It was also a great opportunity to connect with people I had only ever emailed or teleconferenced with, and to finally put friendly faces to many of our National Directors. Friendships established at this meeting still exist today, and the international fellowship within our profession was very evident! Plus the city itself – gorgeous! As anyone that knows me well will tell you, I love footwear, and a pair of boots I bought in Milan are still with me, though last year I had to get them re-soled! Learning about our Italian hosts, while at the same time the cultures and professional concerns of the international participants, meant more to me than I can put into words. I learned that in Italy, many of the HIM functions are performed by physicians. This is quite a departure from my home country, and it was interesting to discuss coding with physicians – who actually understood the nuances of how it works!
The next Congress I attended was in Montreal, Canada, in 2013. Being on the Board and also the CHIMA planning committee, offered a 3600 perspective of both planning and attending a Congress. There is an immense sense of pride when you open the doors and invite in the world! It was also a great opportunity for many HIM’s within Canada to attend a Congress, with healthcare funding to attend an international Congress not readily available to many of us. I was very fortunate, as the organization I work for agreed to fund the attendance of one on-staff HIM. We literally put all the names in a hat and drew, and one of our Coders had the opportunity to experience an IFHIMA Congress. She still speaks of this opportunity and the impact it had on her. In Montreal we planned for “break-out” sessions at the General Assembly, focusing on the strategic directions of IFHIMA. It was fabulous to have international members all meeting together to address common issues, giving their perspectives on the HIM world in their host nations. AND – it was great to see some folks that I first met in Milan!
2016 was the third Congress I have attended thus far, held in Tokyo, Japan. This was simply amazing. I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to visit Japan. All delegates were party to the warm welcome and kindness of the hosts. For me personally, this Congress had a special meaning. I got to personally meet Dr. Margaret Chan, who at the time was the Director General of the WHO. What an amazing and inspirational woman! She held my hand and praised the HIM profession, stating the WHO would be lost without such a dedicated work force, providing them with vital information. I really can’t explain it, but she has this great energy about her, and it is infectious. Some delegates approached me later to say that they had worked at WHO for years, and never had the chance to meet her. But she took the time to sit with Angelika Haendel, Margaret Skurka and myself, the present, past and incoming IFHIMA presidents – and I know we were all touched by her generosity of spirit.
IFHIMA Congresses stoke the HIM fire, they provide you with an international support group, they inspire you to do more, and they make you proud of our profession!
The next Congress is later this year, and we are all so excited to both welcome a Middle Eastern Association into the IFHIMA family, and to attend the first ever IFHIMA Congress in this part of the world, in the fabulous city of Dubai! It also marks the celebration of our Golden Jubilee – 50 years
of IFHIMA is a remarkable anniversary.
I know the profession will continue on for another 50 and beyond, and that the flames will continue to be fed. Please consider joining us at this monumental Congress, where I know that this infectious and positive energy will encourage you all to be inspired and proud!
Marci MacDonald, CHIM
IFHIMA President 2016-2019