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Three years ago, Arikka Standafer would never have envisioned herself as a health services administration (HSA) major.

Today, the Eastern Kentucky University senior from Sandgap, Kentucky, is one of only six students selected from across the nation to participate on the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Student Advisory Committee. In October, she will attend the 2017 AHIMA Convention and Exhibit in Los Angeles, where she will be responsible for planning the student track and representing student needs to AHIMA leadership.

Once Standafer determined that health services administration would perfectly merge her interests in health care and business, she knew she had found her passion. The nationally prestigious AHIMA appointment is only the most recent in a long line of academic achievements for the 2014 graduate of Jackson County High School. In the past few months alone, she has been named a Kentucky Health Information Management Association (KHIMA) Ambassador; received a KHIMA scholarship; has been selected to attend the LEAD KY “camp,” where college females learn how to be leaders; and received the Outstanding Pre-HSA Student Award for 2016-17. All that is on top of a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Little wonder that Dr. Dawn Jackson, HSA program director, calls Standafer “a little dynamo.”

Even before she graduates in May 2018, Standafer hopes to obtain her Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential and begin working in health care IT, either at a large healthcare facility or a consulting firm. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in health informatics with the hope of becoming an IT manager and someday the director of a department.

Standafer attributes her success to faculty in the HSA program.

“Dr. Jackson, Dr. (Karen) Clancy, Professor (Heather) Tudor and Professor (Cathy) Andersen are some of the most supportive instructors that I have ever had,” she said. “I would never have known about the Student Advisory Committee without Professor Andersen telling me about it and writing my letter of recommendation. The HSA program is an intensive, project-based program, so not only am I learning content, I am also gaining transferable skills that health information management professionals are expected to have. Each semester challenges me in new ways, and I am confident that the HSA program and my internships have prepared me to be a valuable member of the Student Engagement Committee.

“Thanks to EKU, I have truly found my passion and embraced a profession that is perfectly aligned with my motivators.”

Standafer’s recent appointment is one of many milestones for the EKU HSA program this year. In addition:

·         Standafer was joined by classmate Emily Roark as recipients of KHIMA scholarships.

·         Seven of the nine KHIMA officers (board members) this year are EKU graduates.

·         KHIMA’s 2017 MVP Award went to Todd Williams, who graduated from EKU in 2014, and the   Rising Star Award went to Evan Harmon, a 2009 graduate of the program.

For more information about the Health Services Administration program at EKU, visit