2016-2017 Kickoff ♦ Getting to Know Our HIMSS SoCal Board Members

By Karen Kennedy, Co-Chair Marketing and Communications Committee

The Southern California chapter of HIMSS is comprised of a dedicated group of IT professionals from different segments of healthcare. The Executive Committee consists of the elected Board Officers. The Board of Directors consists of the Executive Committee along with board committee chairs.

Board Executive Committee (Officers)


Tim Jones

Immediate Past President

Sri Bharadwaj


Ian Slade

Vice President, Administration/Secretary

Bella Zaghi

Vice President, Finance/Treasurer

Carl Hill

Vice President, Programs

Toon Prasertsit

Vice President, Advocacy

John Conklin

Board Members

Chair, Membership Committee

Heather Hitson

Chair, Marketing/Communications Committee

Dianne Baker

Chair, Academic Alliance Committee

Thao Tran

Chair, Sponsorship Committee

Teddy Shah

Chair, Patient Engagement CommitteeClark Kegley


Our Chapter website provides an introduction to each of our Board Members. Now we take you up-close and personal to get to know them better and how they got involved with our Southern California Chapter. Please reach out and say hello at the next conference!

Tim Jones -  President    

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? I attended my first National HIMSS Conference and Expo in Chicago in 2009 and then began attending events in Southern California shortly after that.  I began actively volunteering in 2010.

What has it meant to you to volunteer? Before 2010, my professional career was in entertainment, so I honestly had a lot to learn.  Volunteering allowed me to meet working professionals in the HIT field and learn what was happening both in Southern California and around the country.

What have you done for fun lately? In June, my family and I travelled to Colorado to visit Rocky Mountain National Park as our park system celebrated its centennial. We stayed in beautiful Estes Park, ate lunch at the Stanley Hotel (which inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining”) and explored some of the most beautiful places in our country. We saw lots of wildlife, including eagles, elk, and bighorn sheep. I think I may have also seen Bigfoot (but perhaps I was just suffering from altitude sickness!)

Sri Bharadwaj - Immediate Past-President

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS?  8 years

What has it meant to you to volunteer? Giving back to the healthcare community and shaping the future of Health IT through my involvement with HIMSS has been the highlight of my career in the past few years. HIMSS offers a great opportunity to meet like-minded volunteers and bring about change in the industry while allowing oneself to learn from others and improving patient care through technology. 

What have you done for fun lately? Running over the weekends and making new friends through a fitness group has been fun this summer!

Ian Slade - President Elect 

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? I have been a volunteer for the past 4 years.

What has it meant to you to volunteer? As a HIMSS public policy advocate, this opportunity has allowed me to share the voices of frontline staff in the halls of Congress & Senate. 

What have you done for fun lately? I recently took the kids to the petting zoo. I'm not sure if it's my voice or cologne, but the Guinea pigs decided not to leave my lap!

Bella Zaghi - VP Administration/Secretary

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? I have been a volunteer for the past 7 years.

What has it meant to you to volunteer? It has been so meaningful for me. I have met amazing professionals that have become my mentors over the years. It is so gratifying to hear from my early careerists and students in the Academic Alliance Community and Committee that got the chance to learn about Health IT, be awarded Health IT scholarships for school, find jobs and pay it forward and make a difference in the industry. 

What have you done for fun lately? I recently went to Kauai this summer and it was so beautiful. I had a great time!

Carl R. Hill - Vice President, Finance/Treasurer

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? Became involved in 2000, took a break in 2013-2014, back on Board 2015.

What has it meant to you to volunteer? I love the opportunity to give back to the healthcare IT community and to continue to learn about all of the efforts and innovation that are going on in healthcare. I love seeing my friends and colleagues and keeping up with their careers.

What have you done for fun lately? I snow skied 51 days this year and lived in Mammoth for 5 ½ months with my two dogs.

John Conklin - Vice President, Advocacy    

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? I've been a volunteer for approximately 2 years focusing on Advocacy efforts which was new to me when I joined as a committee member.

What has it meant to you to volunteer? It means a lot; I'm able to contribute my knowledge and efforts towards programs and potential legislation that positively affect the health and wellbeing of others. I'm also provided the opportunity to gain more experience and knowledge while meeting and interacting with a wider set of individuals that fuels my professional and personal growth that most likely would not be obtained otherwise. 

What have you done for fun lately? Attended a couple concerts; Sting & Peter Gabriel at the Hollywood Bowl - an amazing venue and show! - and Kenny Chesney in San Diego.

Toon Prasertsit - Vice President, Programs

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? Since 2014

What has it meant to you to volunteer? Being a volunteer allows me to connect with great people in informatics and healthcare who are as excited and enthusiastic about helping people and organizations as I am. Being a part of the Programs Planning Committee allows me to participate in creating great events for our members.

What have you done for fun lately? Enjoyed a round of golf with my Father-in-Law!

Dianne Baker - Chairperson, Marketing/Communications Committee

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? I have been a volunteer with HIMSS SoCal since 2006 starting on the newly formed Marketing and Communications Committee with Past President, Annette Asher and our now President, Tim Jones. We built the Committee from ground level up. I am very fortunate to have chaired the Committee for four years and have a fun, innovative team of committed members that do great work for our Chapter!

What has it meant to you to volunteer? It is so much FUN to engage our fellow Chapter members in everything we do in our Chapter – we have remarkable conferences that share relevant content and bring in local and national experts to share their knowledge and experiences; we have engaging networking opportunities for Members to get involved. We have so many talented, accomplished professionals in our organization that share their knowledge both on a regional, state and National levels – it's our outstanding people that have helped us to be recognized for our leadership in the industry! 

What have you done for fun lately? I was fortunate to celebrate my birthday this summer on an incredible food and wine experience in France and Spain. But mostly now, enjoying time with family, friends, and all the Puppies, at home on the Ranch!

Thao Tran - Chair, Academic Alliance Committee

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? I've been a volunteer for HIMSS for four years.

What has it meant to you to volunteer? Volunteering for HIMSS allows me meet professionals who fuel my drive to improve the healthcare ecosystem one step at a time. According to a recent release of the 2016 Connected Health survey, only 52% of hospitals use three or more technologies (remote patient monitoring, texting, telehealth, etc.). Only 33% of hospitals utilize texting. Imagine what could be done if everyone adopts the use of these technology to provide patient- care. Most importantly, HIMSS fosters my desire to be a lifelong learner of health IT, learning from my peers, AAC members, and those who work endlessly to get patients, providers, and the patient aligned care team to use the technology in a meaningful way to advance comprehensive care. Most importantly, volunteering for HIMSS taught me more does not mean better. It's all about being optimal. You can have the most complicated, expensive, and advanced telemedicine equipment but what good does it do if patients don't have the means to drive to a center to use the latest technology or if a nurse is not properly trained to show their patients on how to use the latest technology.

2016 HIMSS Connected Health Survey Suggests Positive Future for Connected Health Technologies in U.S.  Hospitals. (2016, March 2). Retrieved July 15, 2016 from http://himss.vporoom.com/2016-03-02-2016-HIMSS-Connected-Health-Survey-Suggests-Positive-Future-for-Connected-Health-Technologies-in-U-S-Hospitals

What have you done for fun lately? My newborn arrived during the annual conference in Las Vegas. I called her my HIMSS baby. Right now I’m experimenting with different types of homemade pureed foods to meet her taste buds. I get a good laugh watching the baby make funny facial expressions after I introduce a small amount of homemade applesauce. My new role as a mother has given me a wonderful and fun perspective on life.

Heather Hitson - Chair, Membership Committee

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? I've volunteered for HIMSS since January 2016 

What has it meant to you to volunteer? I volunteer because it allows me to collaborate with Health IT professionals in Southern California.

What have you done for fun lately? In June, I took an indigo dye workshop and traveled to New Orleans for the first time.  

Teddy Shah - Chair, Sponsorship Committee

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? Started in Jan 2016

What has it meant to you to volunteer? To give back to the professional community, which has given so much to me.  Advance the healthcare IT profession and make a difference in the outcomes.

What have you done for fun lately? On my way to Norway, Sweden and Denmark in 2 weeks

Clark Kegley - Chair, Patient Engagement Committee 

How long have you volunteered for HIMSS? About 10 years now.

What has it meant to you to volunteer? I have always believed that IT pros have an opportunity to support those that provide care to patients and that is a pretty cool reason to get up and go to work every morning. HIMSS allows us to learn and grow so that we can execute that support even better.

What have you done for fun lately? Just yesterday I got to spend a couple of hours playing a tablet game with my 4 ½ year granddaughter Scarlette. Nothing else on the planet even comes close to being as fun as that!  

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