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Health Informatics Information Technology (Archived- see Section Newsletters)
Section Newsletter
Winter 2009





Chair Emeritus/Founder’s Message


Message from the HIIT Chair


APHA Legislative Priorities


APHA Annual Meeting Highlights




Article Feature








Upcoming Events



Volume 4, Issue 4                                                                           Winter 2008/ 2009

Chair Emeritus/Founder’s Message

It is with a sense of gratitude that I greet fellow colleagues as outgoing Chair of HIIT.  Since its   inception in 1993, HIIT has served as   a vehicle for collaboration and knowledge sharing in the health informatics field.  As a Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) of APHA, HIIT has emerged as an important voice in the Health Information Technology (HIT) arena.  With the current national interest and momentum around HIT, informatics, and technology, HIIT is well positioned to significantly contribute to the national dialogue and influence policy at this exciting time in HIT.  In fact, the work of HIIT will continue to play a pivotal role in the future development of local, national, and international HIT infrastructure.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the leadership, officers, members, Dr. Georges Benjamin and Staff, and organizational affiliates for their individual and collective contributions to HIIT.  Whether you have been there from the   very beginning, or have recently become acquainted with our organization, I’d like to encourage you to continue your active involvement.  As we strive toward our next milestone of becoming a Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA), I am confident that our organizational infrastructure, complemented by the expertise and commitment of our HIIT team, will allow us to succeed in this endeavor.   In closing, my sincere wish is for everyone to have a successful, healthful, and prosperous New Year!!!


Message from HIIT Chair

I have been given the distinct honor of serving as chair of HIIT for 2009 – 2010 and am excited about working with everyone as we move the HIIT mission to improve the public’s health and facilitate prevention through innovative and effective approaches of information technology and informatics. But, I have to share a couple of things with you because this transition of HIIT leadership has such a unique historical perspective.


First, I have to thank our outgoing Chair, Dr. Diane L. Adams, for her pioneering work in establishing this great organization. She would be the first to say that it wasn’t easy, and I have to thank all of you for working with her to make it happen. She inspired me, and many of you, to believe in what can be accomplished when a small idea reaches many and finds its way to reality. I can remember standing in an airport somewhere trying to figure out where her lost luggage was, and witnessing her frustration as she was just trying to get to the HIIT business meeting. I can remember standing in cavernous exhibit halls from Boston to San Diego and wondering how we’d ever get the HIIT exhibit table up and running in time to meet and greet conference goers. I can remember having all scientific sessions organized and ready for delivery and then having to go to 'HIIT's plan B' when a presenter or moderator is a ‘no-show.’ I remember the late night phone and email conversations where she would wonder how to galvanize our members and leaders and set the direction that all of you have enthusiastically supported over the years.


So, secondly, this message is about leadership. Leadership is about motivation, knowledge, skills and abilities. HIIT has been lead by the best. Our Founder has given hers. Our Officers have given theirs. Our Committee Chairs have given theirs. Our Advisory Board has given theirs. The good news is that all of us are still committed to giving, and thank you for your commitment to HIIT, public health and the public.


I remember how difficult it is to lead an organization of this magnitude. So, from wherever you sit in the world of public health, and HIIT operations, thanks so much for giving of your time and talents and I’m looking forward to working with you as we lead into the future!



Sandy Worrell, HIIT Chair


Special Recognition

The Leadership of the Health Informatics Information Technology (HIIT) unanimously voted to create the title of Chair Emeritus for Dr. Diane L. Adams.  The recognition was recommended by incoming Chair, Sandy Worrell.  The honor was bestowed on Dr. Adams for her visionary leadership, and tireless efforts to make HIIT a key component of the American Public Health Association.  Among her many duties as Chair Emeritus, Dr. Adams will focus on enhancing membership as HIIT strives to become a Section of APHA.  Congratulations on this prestigious honor, Dr. Adams!!!


APHA Priorities for the 111th Congress

The following is a short summary of some of the legislative priorities APHA will be pursuing in 2009:


Health Reform

APHA will not only be advocating for covering the 46 million Americans who are currently uninsured, we will also be urging Congress and President Obama to focus on strengthening the nation’s public health system by investing in community-based programs and interventions, strengthening our nation’s primary care and public health workforce and working to eliminate racial and ethnic, socioeconomic and geographical disparities in health care and health status.


Funding for CDC and HRSA

APHA will be advocating for adequate and sustainable funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and other public health service agencies. We believe these agencies and programs are the key to building a healthier America.


Transportation and Public Health

Through the reauthorization of the federal transportation law, APHA will be working to educate members of Congress and the Administration about the public health implications of transportation policy. This includes advocacy for additional funding for mass transit, bike and walking paths, as well as ensuring that transportation plans allow for access to health food, affordable housing and health services.


FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products

APHA has long advocated for legislation that would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, labeling, distribution, and sale of tobacco products. This legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2008 and APHA will make it a priority to pass it through both House and Senate of Congress and send it to the President for his signature in 2009.


Climate Change and Health

APHA will work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that any climate change legislation considered in 2009 contains funding for addressing the public health implications of climate change. In addition APHA will be advocating for funding for both the CDC and the National Institutes of Health for programs and research to assist the public and state and local health agencies in adapting to the health affects associated with climate change.

APHA Annual Meeting Highlights

About 13,000 public health professionals came together to focus on "Public Health Without Borders" during APHA's 136th Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

The Annual Meeting was held Oct. 25–29, and focused on cross-border public health issues that impact human health — irrespective of national or regional boundaries — and the ways in which today's global public health challenges can be resolved. Speakers and sessions explored a range of transnational health issues, such as increasing global obesity, environmental health threats and inequalities.

"From infectious diseases to climate change, today's public health threats know no boundaries," said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E). "A decision made in one country today could affect a population halfway across the world. That is why we, as public health professionals, must work to confront these problems together."

The meeting featured hundreds of scientific and educational sessions — including roundtables, poster sessions and panel discussions — and thousands of scientific papers on the latest public health issues. The meeting also offered networking and continuing education opportunities.

Participants who attended the Annual Meeting but who wanted to take in sessions they missed or review a session they attended are able to listen to them online. APHA's E-ssential Learning program allows meeting participants to hear audio from scientific sessions and watch PowerPoint presentations from their own computers after the meeting ends. More information on the program, which requires a registration fee, is available online at meetings/sessions/recorded presentations.htm.

During its meetings, the Governing Council considered nine proposed APHA policies, which once adopted, will serve as the Association's official stances on public health issues. HIIT’s Governing Council Member Ms. Brenda A. Leath was present for each session of the Council Meeting. Public hearings on policies, which addressed issues such as smoking in movies, lead paint and vitamin D deficiency, were held Sunday, Oct. 26, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The hearings were open to any APHA member who wanted to comment on the policies.

HIIT’s Annual Program Highlights

The annual program of the Health Informatics Information Technology (HIIT) Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) was a resounding success at the 136th Annual APHA Meeting & Exposition.

Several HIIT Advisory Board Members, Leadership, and Committee Members greatly contributed to the overwhelming success of HIIT’s Annual Program.  Over the course of the meeting, HIIT organized, moderated or presented two business meeting, one awards ceremony, eleven oral presentations, two Roundtable oral presentations, and five poster sessions.  Brenda A. Leath, HIIT Advisory Board Member, Community Outreach Chair, and Governing Council Member moderated the first oral session of the HIIT track on Monday October 27th.  The session was entitled Medical Homes and ePHRs Offer Potential for Improving Care for Persons with Chronic Illnesses and/or disabilities.  Attendees explored the current use and challenges of the “Medical Home” and its interface with Personal Health Records (PHRs) from a variety of perspectives.  Ms. Leath also organized and moderated the second oral session of the HIIT program entitled Personal Health Records: Overcoming Barriers from Childhood to Adulthood for Persons with Disabilities Part II.  The session focused on improving services for children and youth with special health care needs in support of their successful transition to adult systems of care. The third oral session, Curriculum, Competencies, and Credentialing in Informatics/IT, sought to help define the challenge and opportunity of communicating to the public what HIT professionals are being taught, and how to evaluate what they can actually do once their training is complete.  The session was organized and moderated by HIIT Advisory Board Member and Education & Research Committee Chair Dr. Edward Mensah.  The fourth oral session entitled, Data Mining Technologies and Applications.  was moderated by HIIT Advisory Board Member Dr. Dave Potenziani.  The overarching purpose of the oral presentations was to apprise participants of how data mining can impact public health practice in a variety of settings.  Day 1 concluded with a continuation of a poster session entitled Evaluating Techniques in Public Health Informatics/Information Technology. Global Applications in Public Health Informatics/Technology and Systems Solutions was the session topic for the HIIT track on morning of October 28th.  Linda Lake, RN, PHN, MSN organized and moderated the roundtable discussion.  The main goal of the roundtable was to learn from the successes and challenges facing clinicians and public health practitioners around the world, in order to ultimately improve health outcomes across all populations.   Dr. Diane Adams, HIIT Chair Emeritus, and Sandy Worrell HIIT Chair, organized two interactive town hall meetings entitled (oral sessions five and six), Collaboration Among Sections, SPIGS, Forums, Caucuses and HIIT to Achieve Health Equity.   Representatives from Epidemiology, International Health, and Public Health Nursing Section; Alternative and Complementary Health Practices and Ethics SPIGS; Family Violence Prevention and Genomics Forums agreed to participate with the Health Informatics Information Technology (HIIT) SPIG in the Town Hall Meetings on "Collaborations to Achieve Equity." Ms. Frances Atkinson, Director of Component Affairs, offered complimentary remarks at the end of the  meeting.  An informative poster session was featured on the topic Enhancing Public Health Initiatives Globally in HIT, which commenced the afternoon seventh oral session on Day 2.  Tracy Hilliard, HIIT’s Secretary, moderated a thought-provoking session entitled Addressing Healthcare Disparities in Information Technology. In the session, innovative research was presented regarding how health informatics and information technology (HIIT) can be used to eliminate health disparities.   

 Alex Charleston, HIIT’s Awards Committee Chair, moderated and gave a presentation during an eight oral session entitled Environmental Public Health Tracking. The session focused on the Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Network. Four panelists presented EPHT from the perspectives of federal, state, local, and academic stakeholders.  Pedagogy, eLearning, and Use of Decision Support Tools in IT, was the topic of a poster session toward the end of the day.      Day 2 concluded with a ninth oral panel session moderated by Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu, HIIT’s Vice-Chair and Policy Committee Chair.  The session was entitled Systems Paradigms in Public Health and presented cutting edge information technology in disease prevention and management. Practical design tips on phone, website, PDA, and system applications were presented. Scientific testing and evaluation on the applications provided valuable expert experience for public health practitioners and clinicians.  The first session of Wednesday October 29th featured an interactive discussion moderated by Byron Sogie-Thomas, HIIT’s Program Co-Chair.  The tenth oral  session was entitled Use of Health Records in Health Information Technology.  The overarching goal of the session was to sensitize participants to the opportunity that personal health records (PHR) introduce into America's health care system.  The second session of the day was simply entitled GIS,        Roundtable Discussion on Improving Health Literacy Through Health Informatics and Health Information Technology.  Christopher Williams, HIIT’s Co-chair moderated the session.  The eleventh oral session of the HIIT track featured an innovative presentation entitled Games and Simulations in Information Technology.  Donald George, HIIT’s Marketing & Public Relations Chair, moderated the session.  The goal of this session is to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the three phases of an influenza pandemic using a web-based interactive simulation tool and enable individuals to apply decision-making skills for their specific roles and responsibilities in the event of an influenza pandemic.  The session provided participants with an understanding of the emerging use of video game technology in creating conceptual models to develop evidence-based video games for diagnosis and treatment decision-making. Also, discuss the use of an interactive video game in educating and motivating children to promote healthier eating habits and exercise; and raise awareness in a fun, innovative way to create an effective learning environment.


Growth of Presentations in Informatics and Technology Confirms the Needs of HIIT

Chung-Bang (Ben) Weng and Jiunn-Jye (JJ) Sheu


The utilization of health informatics and information technology has grown rapidly in public health throughout years. APHA is the largest public health professional organization in the nation and the presentations accepted in APHA annual conferences are treated as through the most competitive review in quality. The number and content of presentations in its annual meetings represents a longitudinal spectrum of health informatics and information technology. The presentation abstracts from 2000-2007 were reviewed both quantitatively and qualitatively especially focusing on their relation to health informatics and information technology.


 Among annual conferences from years 2000 to 2007, over one-thousand (1,035) presentations were made involving informatics or technology. The secular trend by the number of presentations shows a sharp increase from 62 (6%) presentations in 2000 to 235 (22.7%) in 2007. While the total number of presentations in annual conferences grew, the percentages of informatics and technology increased even faster. On top of the APHA growth, informatics and technology presentations grew from 1.12% in 2000 to 5.23% in 2007.


The content analysis indicates the uses of informatics and information technology in the past years were computer-based with web interface at the application level (rather than the engineering of technology). From 2000-2005, the majority of the IT presentations are around the dissemination of technology, including the dissemination of knowledge, technology intervention programs, and distance learning. In 2006, the use of technology to evaluate interventions, including GIS assisted data collection, web-based survey, and Internet databases, became the largest portion in the presentations. In 2007, the largest portion was the description of innovative development and programs while no intervention/evaluation was done.


The subject areas are across all formal units of APHA representing all components. The findings support the increasing needs for a unit with common interest in health informatics and information technology. This trend also confirms the necessity to form the Health Informatics and Information Technology (HIIT) Special Primary Interest Group within APHA and implies the future growth of HIIT.


APHA/HIIT Governing Council Representative


The Health Informatics Information

Technology Group (HIIT) is pleased to announce that Brenda Leath, HIIT Advisory Board Member and Community Development Committee Chair was elected to serve on the APHA Governing Council.  Her term of service began during the 136th Annual APHA Exhibition in San Diego, CA.  An overview of the APHA governing body is included in this newsletter.  Congratulations to Ms. Leath on this noteworthy accomplishment.


Congratulations –Members Who’ve Published


Congratulations to Alex Charleston (HIIT Awards Chair) on the publication of the attached article in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice!


Citation: Charleston, Alex E. MPH; Banerjee, Anyana MPH; Carande-Kulis, Vilma G. MS, PhD Measuring Success: The Case for Calculating the Return on Investment of Environmental Public Health Tracking (Communication and Collaboration) Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: November/December 2008; Volume 14(6): p 600-604.


Congratulations to Dr. Diane L. Adams and Brenda A. Leath for writing a chapter (#17) entitled, A Role for Health Informatics and Information Technology (HIIT): Shaping a Global Research Agenda to Eliminate Health Disparities in the 2008 Springer publication Toward Equity in Health: A New Global Approach to Health Disparities, edited by Dr. Barbara C. Wallace of Columbia University.  Congratulations to Dr. Adams and Ms. Leath for their stellar, noteworthy contributions.


APHA Governing Council Overview

Governing Council Roles

The primary roles of the Governing Council (GC) as set forth in the Constitution are:

  • Establish policies for the Association and for the guidance of the Executive Board and the officers; amend the Bylaws of the Association and to adopt rules for the conduct of its own business.
  • Receive and act upon reports or recommendations from any organization constituent, the Science Board, the Action Board, the Education Board, the Standing Committees and the Executive Board.
  • Elect the Executive Board, the officers of the Association, and honorary members.
  • Establish Sections of the Association; combine or discontinue Sections; prescribe the composition of the Section Councils; maintain coordination among the Sections; and formulate general rules governing their policies; and recognize Affiliates Associations.

(Governing Council Overview Courtesy of APHA Publications and website)


 HIIT Recommends Informatics Information Technology Theme for 2011 APHA Annual Meeting to Science Board. 

The Health Informatics Information Technology Special Primary Interest Group has a phenomenal opportunity to shape the agenda and theme for the 2011 APHA Annual Meeting.  Thank you for the many contributions to the discussion regarding the theme of the 2011 Annual Conference.



The Health Informatics Information Technology (HIIT) Awards Ceremony was held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA on October 27, 2008.  A special acknowledgement was made on behalf of Dr. Diane L. Adams in the form of her designation as Chair Emeritus of HIIT.  Other HIIT leadership members were recognized by Dr. Diane L. Adams, Founder and Chair Emeritus, and Sandy Worrell, Chair, for various contributions to HIIT.   

Special thanks are extended to Dr. Adams, Founder and Chair Emeritus of HIIT, Sandy Worrell, Chair of HIIT, Alex Charleston, Awards Committee Chair, and the Awards Committee for planning and organizing the event.  HIIT’s Leadership Program Award was presented to Dr. Judy Qualters (CDC).

Nine HIIT Certificates of Excellence, and ten APHA Certificates of Appreciation were also presented upon the recommendation of the Founder and Chair Emeritus, Dr. Diane Adams.  The award recipients were as follows: Dr. David Ross, Dr. Jayfus Doswell, Dr. Lillian Tom-Orne,Dr. Mihail Rocco, Tracy Hilliard,Dr. David Potenziani, Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu, Christopher Williams, Sandra Worrell, and Dr. Polly Sparks Turner.



  • HIIT Abstract Submission Deadline is February 22, 2009 for the Annual APHA Conference


  • An RFA for Centers of Excellence in Public Health Informatics has been published.


  • The University of Illinois- Chicago (UIC) will publish an Online Journal of Public Health Informatics (OJPHI) at the School of Public Health under the leadership of Dr. Edward Mensah.  HIIT will co-sponsor the journal and Dr. Diane L. Adams has agreed to serve on the Editorial Board.


Upcoming Events

Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

April 4- 8, 2009

Chicago, IL

Upcoming Events continued

American Medical Informatics Association


2009 AMIA Spring Congress

May 28-30, 2009

Walt Disney World Swan Hotel

Orlando, FL


American Health Information Management Association


81st Convention & Exhibit

October 3-8, 2009

Grapevine, TX

Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations (ASTHO)

October 13-16, 2009

Vienna, VA

American Public Health Association


137th Annual Meeting
November 7-11, 2009

Philadelphia, PA


HIIT 2009 Officers


Sandra Worrell, MS (Chair, 2009-2010) -

University of Connecticut

(203) 367-5660 (H);(203) 551-3008 (W)

Founder and Chair Emeritus

Diane L. Adams, MD, MPH, CHS-III -

Former Senior Health Policy Fellow & Consultant to the Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology (now known as Center for Advanced Communications Policy)

(301) 570-0387


Christopher Williams, MPH, CPEHR,CPHIT

Louisiana Health Care Review, Inc.


Jiunn-Jye Sheu, PhD, MSPH, CHES -

University of Florida


Tracy Hilliard (PhD Student) -

University of Washington-Seattle


Anjelious P. Farmer, MBA -

IBM Software Services for Federal Practice



Polly S. Turner, DrPH, MPH -

President, PS Turner Health Administration Consultants

HIIT Governing Council Representative

Brenda A. Leath, MHSA

National Consortium for African American Children, Inc., Westat


HIIT 2009 Committee Chairs/Co-Chairs

Alphabetical Order by Category

Awards Chair - Alex Charleston -

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Community Outreach Chair

 Brenda Leath, MHSA

National Consortium for African American Children, Inc., Westat


Education and Research Chair

Dr. Edward Mensah

University of Illinois – Chicago


Finance Chair

Anjelious P. Farmer, MBA

IBM Software Services for Federal Practice


Membership Chair (Interim)

 Diane L. Adams, MD, MPH, CHS-III

(301) 570-0387; and Christopher Williams (Student Liaison/Student Assembly) -


Marketing & Public Relations Chair  Donald George

PRISM Communication Systems, Inc.


Nominating Chair

 Gloria McNeil, BSN, RN

Community Health Nurse Consultant


Photography/Archives Chair – Open


Policy Chair

Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu

University of Florida

Co-Chair - Dr. Ramesh Krishnamurthy -

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Program Planners Co-Chairs

(a)  Co-Chair - Mildred Hunter, MSW, MPH, -

Regional Minority Health Coordinator

Office of Minority Health, Office of Public Health & Science

DHHS, Region 3



 Byron Sogie-Thomas, MS

National Medical Association



Dr. Diane L. Adams


Strategic Planning Chair

Su-I Hou, DrPH, RN, CHES

University of Georgia


Webmasters for APHA

Christopher Williams


 Dr. Diane L. Adams


Advisory Board

Dr. Dave Potenziani

Dr. Lillian Tom-Orme

Dr. Mike Roco

Dr. Jay Bernhardt

Dr. Edward Mensah

Mr. David Rookard

Ms. Brenda A. Leath

Dr. Polly S. Turner



The Leadership of HIIT wishes to acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Dave Ross for his commitment to HIIT as an outgoing Advisory Board Member.  Dr. Ross serves as the Executive Director of the Public Health Informatics Institute.


HIIT wishes to acknowledge Dr. Linda Lake for moderating a roundtable discussion entitled Global Applications of Public Health Informatics/Technology and Systems Solutions.   Dr. Lake is Chief Public Health Nurse of the San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency.


Christopher D. Williams, HIIT’s Chair-Elect, has been named APHA Community on Membership (CoM) Chair for 2009. The CoM is a standing APHA committee that serves to assist and advise the Membership Department in membership retention and recruitment efforts.   The chair is appointed by the Executive Board for a one year term. Chris was nominated by HIIT Chair Emeritus and Founder, Dr. Diane L. Adams.


Newsletter Staff

(a)  Editor

Dr. Diane L. Adams


(b) Associate Editor

 Dr. David Potenziani

University of North CarolinaChapel Hill


(c) Assistant Editor

 Dr. Laurie Fitts

South University


(d)  Assistant Editor

 Dr. Jayfus Doswell

Juxtopia, LLC


 (e) Assistant Editor

Christopher Williams















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