Spring 2017 Newsletter ♦ Women in Healthcare IT (WHIT)

by Thao Tran, Chair, Academic Alliance Committee

September 2016, President Tim Jones was introduced to Sunny Cooper and Melissa Scrymgeour who talked about Women in Health IT (WHIT). The people who serve as committee volunteers for WHIT include C-suite executives, consultants, clinicians, software vendors, and various healthcare leaders.

Established in 2015, WHIT was created in response to lack of gender diversity in health IT. It has been noted in a study released by Google in 2014 that "girls aren't really taught what computer science actually means, and are half as likely to be encouraged to study it" (Gilpin, 2014). To give those a relative snap shot, in the mid-1980s only 37% of all women pursued computer science majors compared to 18% of all women in 2012 (Gilpin, 2014). That is a significant decline in women participating in technology.

The significant decline in women majoring in computer science or technology has to do with exposure. Gilpin (2014) finds that many women have little to no exposure to computer science or technology before and during college. accordance to Code.org, 90% of secondary schools do not offer technology classes. What is highly unfortunate is slightly more than 50% do not count computer science towards fulfilling math or science requirement.

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) proposed five action plans to bridge the gender disparity in technology education. One of those is already in the works by WHIT - "educate communities about computer science and computing careers." For the first time, SoCal HIMSS is very excited to create synergy with WHIT to "seed, incubate, and advance women's career aspirations in healthcare IT." The objective is outreach to students in their last year of high school to get them excited about pursuing a career in health IT.

To find out more about Women In Health IT, attend one of our upcoming events on March 22nd at Radisson Hotel near USC.

References

Gilpin, L. (2014). The state of women in technology: 15 data points you should know. Tech Republic. Retrieved on January 17, 2017 from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-state-of-women-in-technology-15-data-points-you-should-know/

Southern Regional Education Board. (2016). Bridging the computer science education gap: Five actions states can take. Retrieved on January 17, 2017 from www.sreb.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/cs_commission_2016_0.pdf

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