CHIA Awards: Celebrating 10 Years of Canadian HI Excellence

By Elaine Huesing
Executive Director, ITAC Health

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Canadian Health Informatics Awards (CHIA) Gala and our second year of hosting it at the e-Health Conference. By this point, I hope you’ve started working on your nominations and scholarship applications. Please be sure to submit them by deadline, Feb. 27

As I look back on the last decade, it is exciting to see that the awards continue to be a genuine opportunity to recognize real, important contributions made at the “coalface” of health informatics and, ultimately, healthcare in Canada. It`s a fantastic moment, filled with passion and well-deserved honour, when a winner crosses the Gala stage to be recognized for such stellar accomplishments, such as improving patient care, advancing processes and fostering innovation to name but a few.

It is truly an honour to have been and continue to be involved with the CHIA program from its conception. In the spirit of recognizing leadership, CHIA started with a person, who shared, with many, a long-held desire to acknowledge the excellence and leaders in our industry, who had a great idea and got the right people involved to make it happen. The CHIA gala would not have been a reality if not for combined efforts from both COACH and CHITTA (ITAC Health) led by Dave Wattling, Shelagh Maloney, Lydia Lee, Don Newsham, Steve Huesing, Ron Dunn and Denis Niebergal. The Canadian health informatics industry is able to celebrate and honour individuals and companies that have excelled in leadership, quality and service, because of their dedication and passion, we are forever grateful.

The first CHIA Gala was held on November 25, 2005, in conjunction with COACH`s 30th anniversary 10 years ago, and here we are today — celebrating a decade of CHIA during COACH`s 40th anniversary year! CHIA remains rooted in peer recognition, with colleagues and professionals nominating deserving individuals, teams and projects. In contrast to the breakneck pace of our daily work lives, CHIA allows us step back and salute the amazing innovation, leadership and excellence that happens over the course of the year.

The CHIA statue itself, awarded to winners, says volumes about our industry and truly interconnected community and reflects accomplishment, prosperity and service. Sculptor Stephen Booth created it as a figure – the “Bearer” – holding a bowl over its head to depict humanistic ideals, health and vitality for the individual. “I chose the bowl,” explained Stephen, “to illustrate symbols of the circle, community, inclusion, container and plenty.”

Ron Dunn’s words carry the same weight for CHIA 2015 as they did in the 2006 HIM&CC Journal:

“This is your opportunity to be heard. To be able to stand up and be counted among those whose interest in healthcare informatics goes beyond the current project or implementation. That is the REAL value of these awards.”

On a personal note, the CHIA Steven Huesing Scholarship , which reflects, my father’s spirit and innovation that he dedicated to the field of health informatics,is fantastic way to recognize and support the professionals of tomorrow.

So, join the celebration! Follow the links below for details about each award and the scholarship and submit your nominations and applications soon. Then circle June 2 for the CHIA Gala at e-Health! (Admission is included in full conference registration and extra tickets can be purchased ate-Health Registration. ) Sponsorship opportunities are also available, for those interested.