Spring 2016AAC - Interview With a Student in Action

Our HIMSS SoCal AAC Interviews a Student in Action!

by Thao Tran, Chairperson AAC, with Danica Ramos, HIMSS SoCal Communications Liaison

Our Academic Alliance Chairperson, Thao Tran, has the opportunity to interview student, Danica Ramos, about her recent experience as a Program Assistant at HIMSS16.

What is the most engaging, informative and stimulating program that HIMSS Annual Conference offers to students? It's the Program Assistant (PA). There's no better way to learn about the industry and be able to network with 40,000 health information technology professionals. In a pool of hundreds of applicants, HIMSS National conducts a comprehensive review, selecting only a certain number of students to be Program Assistants. Except for airfare, meals and shared housing are covered. In 2013, Thao Tran was the second SoCal HIMSS member to participate as PA. We are happy to announce our third member, Danica Ramos, was selected as a HIMSS16 PA. Read about her experience and maybe you can start thinking about applying for HIMSS17 PA!

Danica shares some great insight and advice from her experience.

What were the key points you got out of this annual conference as a Program Assistant?

As a Program Assistant, the key points I got out of this annual conference are:

  • It is very important to stay relevant. Thus, it’s vital to read and stay educated on the current news and trends that is happening in healthcare. You never know who you will meet at the conference and you may just have met a potential employer.
  • There are thousands of vendors at the conference, and for students and early careerists looking for opportunities, I suggest doing some research ahead of time and choose about 10 companies that will be present and whom you would like to visit. From those 10 companies, read about their mission and how their values align with yours. These vendors meet thousands of individuals that week, so make sure you are one of those who will stand out and make an impression. So be prepared and practice your pitch.
  • There are also hundreds of educational sessions and workshops available at the conference, so it is important to plan out which ones to attend ahead of time. If you would like to talk to the speaker, remember that they will be busy answering questions in the end, so try speaking to them before their presentation.
  • The conference in Las Vegas was very large, and I have read that it is important to wear comfortable shoes. Do not underestimate this advice!
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities and bring a box of business cards!
  • Lastly, since you will obtaining a handful of business cards, don’t forget to write a note where you met the individual, and the highlight of your conversation. This way, you’ll remember the person just in case you want to connect.
  • Though this is a great opportunity to network, remember that being chosen to be a Program Assistant is a privilege and you must be able to be of assistance to all attendees and HIMSS staff at all times.  Therefore, communication is key with your program supervisor and fellow colleagues.

What's the best part of being a Program Assistant?

The best part of being a Program Assistant is the opportunity to meet and network with a plethora of individuals from around the world. It was such an inspiring event, and I loved being able to connect with like-minded individuals who shared similar goals. I was able to create friendships over the interest in interoperability and telehealth. I also appreciated how I was able to learn my strengths and weaknesses in networking. Also, I loved the education the conference provides and seeing what I read in articles come alive through real-time simulations. Amidst being in the middle of almost 40,000 like-minded individuals, I felt at home because we all had one purpose: to improve healthcare through technology.

Why do you think this is a great experience for students to participate?

This is a great experience and opportunity for students to participate in because it allows them to find their passion and niche. It is the perfect place for students to network and explore opportunities in fields they have always dreamed of working in. For example, I wanted to learn more about interoperability and I was given the chance to work in the Interoperability Showcase. I was able to network with vendors and professionals that specialize in the field. The HIMSS Annual Conference allows students to learn how to think outside of the box and see the bigger picture of healthcare innovation.

Danica also shares some photos from the HIMSS Program Assistant experience at HIMSS16:

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