The University of Louisiana at Lafayette

College of Sciences
Department of Health Information Management

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is one of eight publicly supported universities in the University of Louisiana system offering undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university has an enrollment of approximately 16,000 students with a full-time faculty of 550.

The College of Sciences consists of academic departments in the disciplines of biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, health information management, mathematics, physics, renewable resources, cognitive science, and Army ROTC.

The Department of Health Information Management began as the Medical Record Library Science program in 1964, underwent several name changes, and became Health Information Management in 1992. There are currently five full-time faculty members in addition to adjunct and clinical faculty members. Since the program’s inception, over 700 students have graduated. Currently, there are 24 senior HIM majors, 33 junior HIM majors and approximately 125 majors at the freshman and sophomore levels.

Orientation and medical terminology courses are taught at the freshman and sophomore levels with the majority of the courses being offered at the junior and senior levels. Courses include: foundations of health information management, classification systems and nomenclatures, legal aspects of health information management, healthcare delivery systems, medical science, health reimbursement systems, performance improvement, management, healthcare statistics, alternate delivery systems, professional practice experience (PPE), and management internship. Students complete their PPE and internship courses at hospitals though out the local area, the state of Louisiana and across the United States.

In addition to academics, the HIM students also participate in various campus organizations including SHIMS, the Student Health Information Management Society. SHIMS members meet on a monthly basis for fun and fellowship, participate in community activities, award scholarships to junior and senior members, and host an annual get-together for all graduating seniors. SHIMS members are quite active during AHIMA’s annual Health Information and Technology Week, offering educational activities across campus, pizza parties for members, and recognition of faculty and staff. The club also promotes fund-raisers to implement these activities as well as contributing to various organizations in the state. SHIMS contributed to the Louisiana Health Information Management Association’s Katrina Assistance Fund which financially supported many health information management practitioners whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The end-of-year party for the graduating seniors is always very enjoyable. The junior SHIMS members plan the event and recognize all graduates with a memento of their years at UL Lafayette and honor them with refreshments and fun activities. These parties have consisted of Hawaiian luaus, Mexican fiestas, barbeques, formal banquets, and crawfish boils. It is always a great send-off for the graduates.

After graduation, the students have found employment in all areas of health information management including acute care hospitals, physicians’ offices, long term care facilities, rehabilitation physicians, behavioral health facilities, coding, privacy and compliance, information technology, consulting, vendors, law firms, insurance companies, veterinary hospitals and, even, state prisons.