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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 19, 2004

UI Grad Student Initiates Award-Winning Health Care Committee

University of Iowa graduate nursing student Jody Gunn will accept the 2003 Chapter Innovation Award given by the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) at a national awards banquet Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Gunn, who is employed by Mercy Hospital in Iowa City and will graduate from the UI master's in nursing program in May, is responsible for establishing an innovative nursing informatics committee within the Iowa Chapter of HIMSS. The committee, which Gunn co-chairs, consists of registered nurses and nurse informaticists from area health care facilities. The committee's goals are to communicate with the existing HIMSS organization, share information and network about nursing informatics.

The development of the committee began with Gunn's desire for more nurses in Iowa to share their expertise with members of the HIMSS organization. Since its inception in early 2003, the committee has made positive contributions beyond the Iowa chapter.

"We have a high profile within HIMSS, since the Iowa chapter is the first nursing informatics committee in the organization," Gunn said. "Together with the UI College of Nursing, our initiatives and leadership have put Iowa in a high-profile position within the national informatics community."

Nursing informatics is an emerging field that integrates nursing, computer science and information science to manage and communicate data, information and knowledge in nursing practice. Gunn's mentor, Connie Delaney, Ph.D., UI professor of nursing, is helping nursing informatics experts like Gunn use their knowledge to make a difference.

"Informatics is really empowering consumers and all health care providers to have an equal and strong voice in achieving the best outcomes in health care," Delaney said. "Jody Gunn's work to develop the nursing informatics committee is a terrific way to expand opportunities for nurses to learn more about informatics and make a big impact in health care."

As other chapters across the country inquire about forming their own informatics committees, they refer to a HIMSS starter kit that Gunn developed to aid in their process.

"I hope that the committee continues to be a viable organization for HIMSS and for nursing informatics," Gunn said. "The experience so far has been exciting, challenging and constantly in a state of change as informatics continues to play an emerging role in improving patient care and outcomes."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Bonnie McIntosh (319) 335-7003, bonnie-mcintosh@uiowa.edu