Email information is followed by @css.edu unless otherwise noted.
Phone: (612) 325-9742
1. Introduction / Background
BA in HIM from The College of St. Scholastica in 2003
BA in Computer Science/Information Systems from The College of St. Scholastica in 2003
MA in HIM from The College of St. Scholastica in 2006
2. Current Roles, Associations, Affiliations
Danika started her career as a Director of Health Information in a LTC Facility in Minneapolis, MN. Next, she moved to Alllina Hospitals and Clinics where she worked as a HIM Supervisor, Manager of Revenue Cycle Improvement, and a Regional Manager of Health Information Management. In 2010, she joined the CSS HIIM Faculty as an Assistant Professor and a HIT Consultant for the REACH Program.
Professionally, Danika has been serving as a Minnesota Delegate Director for the past year on the MHIMA Board. She has also served as the Secretary of MHIMA in the past. She has been a co-chair of part of the MHIMA Annual Meeting committee 4 times in the past 6 years.
3. Interests / Specialties
Danika's interests include anything Privacy and Security related, specially related to HIPAA and HITECH. She also is very interested EHR implementation, workflor redesign, physician engagement with an EHR, project management and Meaningful Use.
4. Recent Publications, Presentations and Recognitions
Co-author with Janelle Wapola, MA, RHIA, of the chapter titled: Electronic Health Record: Applications in Practice.Health Information Management: Concepts, Principles and Practices (4th Ed) published by the American Health Information Management Association. This text is scheduled for publication in 2012.
2010 Recipient of the AHIMA Triumph Award in the Rising Star Category
5. Teaching philosophy
Danika's is still working on developing her teaching philosophy
A Personal Note
I married my college sweetheart in October 2004. Together we are on the adventure of raising two little perfect girls, Taylor (4) and Piper (2). I love watching my children grow and learn more each and every day. Even when life seems too much and stressful, a hug from my babies is all I need! I am a lucky mommy.
I received my Medical Secretary certificate from the Minnesota School of Business in Minneapolis, MN. Following graduation, I was employed at the University of Minnesota Hospitals as Departmental Secretary to the Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine; later, I became the Office Manager of the Ashawa Clinic in Cook, MN; most recently, I have been employed as Administrative Assistant in the Health Informatics and Information Management Department, The College of St. Scholastica.
Ms. Oachs is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Informatics and Information Management. She earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Information Management and Master of Arts in Management at the College of St. Scholastica. Prior to beginning a career in education, she spent over fifteen years in the healthcare industry in the areas of clinical quality improvement, patient access, and information technology.
Ms. Oachs teaches undergraduate and graduate students both in the classroom and online. Courses taught consist of content related to management tools and strategies, workflow and process redesign, healthcare technology, and applied research and writing. Ms. Oachs has previously been in the role of graduate program director and is currently taking on the role of undergraduate program director in the Department.
Ms. Oachs is an active member of AHIMA and currently is a commissioner on the Commission for Health Informatics and Information Management. She has been a speaker at both regional HIM association meetings as well as at AHIMA’s national educator’s conference, the Assembly on Education. She is a co-editor for the 4th edition of the premiere HIM textbook with Kathy LaTour and Shirley Eichenwald Maki.
Ms. Oachs teaching philosophy is to bring theory and academic principles into practice successfully by teaching students to think analytically and critically in the practical setting.
Janel joined the HIIM department at the College of St. Scholastica in February, 2011 after holding a position as an Organizational Learning & Development Coordinator at Essentia Health East Region. She received her Bachelor’s of Business Administration, majoring in Health Care Management and Long Term Care Administration from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2009. Prior to and after completing her degree she worked in several health care facilities focusing in health and long term care administration, including Mercy Hospital and Health Care Center and Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet.
Janel will be working as an online advisor with our graduate programs and certificates in HIM, as well as the Master of Arts in Information Technology Leadership. As an advisor, Janel assists our online graduate students from the point of acceptance into our program, until their degrees are conferred, and often maintains relationships with these students long after they have graduated from our program. As an advisor, she works with the student to lay out a program plan that suits their needs and goals, and provides them with the information and support they need along the way. The advisor serves as the student’s point of contact for many areas, and works with the student to ensure the best possible outcome.
Gwen Smith, MEd, RHIA is an advisor to students in our online undergraduate Health Information Management Program. In addition to her advising duties Gwen also occasionally teaches in both our undergraduate and graduate programs.
Ms. Smith received her undergraduate degree in Health Information Management from The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, in 1999. She received her Masters in Education with a concentration in Online Teaching from The College of St. Scholastica in December 2012. Her final project for her graduate degree was "The Impact Community has on Student Retention: Developing a Sense of Community Outside the Classroom Setting".
Prior to becoming an advisor to online HIM students in 2004, Gwen worked as a Health Information Services and Reimbursement Supervisor, overseeing the medical records and billing staff of SMDC Home Health (now Essentia), based in Duluth, MN. Ms. Smith played a key role in preparing the department for the conversion to the Medicare prospective payment system for home health as well as leading the Quality Improvement Committee and department QI projects. Gwen also worked for a durable medical equipment supply company in Duluth, MN. In that position she was responsible for the human resource management of the billing staff as well as participating in the quality improvement projects for the organization.
Ms. Smith is a member of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Wisconsin Health Information Management Association (WHIMA).
Introduction / Background
BA College of St. Scholastica in 1995 - MA College of St. Scholastica in 2006
Current Roles, Associations, Affiliations
Janelle started her career holding these types of jobs: HIM consulting, operations manager and release of information specialist.Upon her arrival at St. Scholastica in 2003, she became a Technology Lead, helping to implement the academic electronic health record into the Health Sciences curriculum (The ATHENS Project).After the grant-funded, ATHENS Project was complete; Janelle became a full time faculty, teaching classes in undergraduate as well as graduate classes.
At the College, she currently serves as the faculty advisor to the Student Health Information Management Association (SHIMA) and various College committees such as the undergradate admissions, faculty/student group and various departmental committees.
Additionally she is currently a HIT Consultant for the REACH program, serving Minnesota and North Dakota. She is also a member and regularly attends AHIMA, MHIMA and NEMHIMA.
Interests / Specialties
As she continues to be interested in the various areas associated with the (EHR): implementation, workflow redesign, privacy & security and meaningful use, she would like to seek out more opportunities for international travel in the HIM arena.
Recent Publications, Presentations and Recognitions
Co-author with Danika Brinda, MA, RHIA, of the chapter titled: Electronic Health Record: Applications in Practice.Health Information Management: Concepts, Principles and Practices (4th Ed) published by the American Health Information Management Association. This text was published in 2013.
Co-author of the textbook entitled, Using the EHR in the Physician Office Practice with two colleagues: Shirley Eichenwald-Maki, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA and Bonnie Patterson, Ph.D., RHIA. This text was published in 2013.
Co-authored Case Study: The ATHENS Project: Advancing Technology in Healthcare Education Now at St. Scholastica published in Nursing and Informatics for the 21stCentury: An International Look at Practice, Trends and the Future, Second Edition. Edited by Charlotte A. Weaver, RN, PHD, FHIMSS; Connie White Delaney, PHD, RN, FAAN, FACMI; Patrick Weber, RN, MA, and Robyn L. Carr, RGON. Published by the Health Information Management Systems Society, Chicago, IL. 2010.
Speaker, AHIMA's Assembely on Education Annual Meeting, HIM, Meaninful Use and Extension Centers: A View from the Frontline (July 2012)
Speaker, Northeast Minnesota Health Care Forum, Personal Health Records. (June, 2012)
Participant, AHIMA Capitol Hill Day in Washington, DC. (March 2012)
Co-recipient along with the College of St. Scholastica’s ATHENS Project Team of Health Data Management Editor’s Choice Award for Innovator of the Year for the ATHENS Project, presented at the World Health Innovation and Technology Congress (WHITv4.0) Washington, DC in 2008.
While developing my teaching philosophy, I believe in emphasizing a healthy balance to life, school and work. I encourage optimism, compassion and advocacy for those in need.
A Personal Note
My personal joy is in being a mother to Tyler and Daniel and capturing life through pictures. My boys are a whirlwind of energy and knowledge and they teach me many things. The most importantly has been to stop and be in the moment! I am also excited to be a part of international travel with CSS and the HIM Department. My travels to India in January 2011 were extraordinary; visiting hospitals, villages, schools and universities. I was very fortunate to be a part of something so unique and interesting!
Ms. Watters has a BA in Health Information Administration, a MA in Health Information Management, and a Certificate in Healthcare Informatics from The College of St. Scholastica. Before moving into academia, Ms. Watters spent over 10 years in the HIM industry, working in the areas of release of information, HIM and admitting management in acute care settings, product management at a software and consulting firm, and HIPAA security at a multi-specialty physician group. She is credentialed as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) and was awarded Fellowship of AHIMA in 2011.
As Director of the Health Information Management Graduate Program, Ms. Watters coordinates the activities and leads the ongoing development of the graduate program. In her role as Assistant Professor, she teaches courses at the graduate level, such as Technology Applications in Healthcare, and Applied Project Research and Writing. She is an active member of the Minnesota Health Information Management Association, as well as the Minnesota chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) for which she recently served as Member Relations Chair. She is past-president of the Northeastern Minnesota Health Information Management Association, and has served on the AHIMA Foundation Scholarship Committee.
Ms. Watters personal interest lies in life-long learning. She enjoys assisting students in their growth both educationally, and professionally, as each strive to reach their own personal goals. She is also interested in online learning principles, and incorporating technology in education. At present, she is very involved in a federal partnership grant with the University of MN called the University Partnership for Health Informatics (UP-HI) to educate the Health Information Technology workforce. In the spirit of life-long learning, she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Education.
Ms. Watters served as editor of the Instructor Manual for the 4th edition of the textbook Health Information Management: Concepts, Principles & Practice. In the 3rd edition, she and her colleague, Pam Oachs, co-authored the chapter Informatics in Healthcare. She also co-authored a publication,Launching: University Partnership for Health Informatics, which was accepted to appear in the proceedings of the International Informatics Symposium, Arlington, VA.
The University Partnership for Health Information (UP-HI) is a partnership St. Scholastica has formed with the University of Minnesota.
UP-HI has been awarded a grant by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for over $5 million to provide university-based training in health information technology for all six ONC identified vital health IT roles.
Visit the UP-HI website for more details.