STCC Health Information Technology graduate lauded for outstanding achievement
From left, Christopher Scott, dean, School of Health & Patient Simulation; Health Information Technology instructor Laura Piquette; STCC graduate Vania H. Benavides; Tracey A. McKethan, department chair and professor of Health Information Technology; and Walter R. Houlihan, senior director for Health Information Management and Clinical Documentation at Baystate Health.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A Springfield Technical Community College graduate who came to the United States five years ago knowing very little English received two awards this spring for outstanding academic achievement.
Vania H. Benavides, 21, of West Springfield, who earned an associate degree in Health Information and Informatics Management, received the MaHIMA Student Achievement Award and the Health Information Technologies Excellence Award.
Massachusetts Health Information Management Association (MaHIMA) offers an award to an outstanding student from any accredited health information technology or heath information management program. STCC faculty this year nominated Benavides.
Walter R. Houlihan, senior director for Health Information Management and Clinical Documentation at Baystate Health and past president of MaHIMA, presented Benavides with the award on June 4 at STCC.
Less than a week earlier, on May 29, Benavides picked up her program’s Excellence Award during Class of 2019 Honors Convocation.
“Sometimes I don’t believe I accomplished all these things,” Benavides said in an interview. “This is an honor. It has confirmed everything I have done. I stayed up late at night working, and it’s been worth it.”
When she was 16, Benavides and her mother emigrated from El Salvador. “I remember when I came here my English was too basic. I was afraid of coming up here and talking to people,” she said.
Benavides enrolled in STCC’s Health Information Technology program after taking classes at STCC for English Language Learners. Her professors described Benavides as a bright young woman who excelled in the program.
“She’s an outstanding student,” said Tracey A. McKethan, department chair and professor of Health Information Technology.
Sometimes I don’t believe I accomplished all these things.Vania H. Benavides, STCC graduate and Student Achievement Award winner
Health Information Technology instructor Laura Piquette said she was impressed with Benavides’ performance. “She took it upon herself to learn English. In our program, you have to understand medical terminology. It’s amazing that she caught on so quickly. She really exceeded.”
Benavides said she is looking for a job in the field, but also wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in management or business.
STCC’s Health Information Technology program prepares students like Benavides for certification and practice as registered health information technicians who typically work with patient medical records at health-care facilities. Technicians focus in areas beyond coding including data analytics, compliance and more.
McKethan and Piquette said graduates typically work for hospitals, doctors’ offices, attorneys’ offices, insurance companies or government entities.
“We are involved in many different areas, so Vania has many opportunities,” Piquette said. “She can do anything now – and she will.”
To learn more about STCC’s health information technology program, visit www.stcc.edu/explore/programs/hiim.as/. For questions, call Admissions at (413) 755-3333.
About Springfield Technical Community College
Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, STCC is a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC, a designated Hispanic Serving Institution and an Achieving the Dream Leader College, offers a variety of career programs unequalled in the state. STCC’s highly regarded transfer programs in business, engineering, liberal arts, science and technology continue to provide the most economical options for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of more than 6,400 day, evening, weekend and online students, STCC is a vibrant campus rich in diversity.
For more information about STCC, visit www.stcc.edu. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@S_T_C_C) and Instagram (@stccpics).
Jim Danko, (413) 755-4812, firstname.lastname@example.org