Valerie Watzlaf, PhD, MPH, RHIA, FAHIMA
Associate Professor Emeritus
University of Pittsburgh
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Department of Health Information Management
6030 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Dr. Valerie Watzlaf is an Associate Professor Emeritus and Part-time Faculty within the Health Information Management (HIM) Department in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburgh. Previously she served as Vice Chair of Education within the Department of HIM in SHRS at Pitt. She has devoted over 40 years to teaching courses in health information management and informatics (including statistics, epidemiology, privacy and security, quality management, and research methods) and conducts research on clinical classification systems (coding productivity and predictive models) and telehealth privacy and security best practices. She was instrumental as her role as Vice Chair of Education in the development of a new Master of Science in Health Informatics program at the University. Dr. Watzlaf has worked as an HIM practitioner and consulted in several health care organizations in HIM, long-term care, and epidemiology.
She was the 2019 President of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), a national HIM association in the US, representing over 100,000 members and was elected to its national Board of Directors by a national ballot and served a three-year term. Dr. Watzlaf has served and chaired other national committees of AHIMA including the Data Quality Task Force; Coding, Policy, and Strategy Committee; Research Committee; Council on Accreditation (which is now CAHIIM—Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management), the Council for Excellence in Education (CEE); and the AHIMA Foundation Board of Directors. She was also appointed by AHIMA to serve on the American Medical Association’s CPT-5 Project and was a member of the Standards and Terminologies Task Force between the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and AHIMA. She served on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of AHIMA (JAHIMA) and Perspectives in HIM and is currently serving on the International Advisory Board (IAB) of the Health Information Management Journal (HIMJ). Dr. Watzlaf has published extensively in the field of HIM. She has delivered over 100 presentations and authored over 100 publications including “Health Informatics Research Methods: Principles and Practice,” which was recently recognized by Doody Enterprises as a Core Title in the Health Sciences for Health Information Management.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Watzlaf received her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Records Administration from the School of Health Related Professions; her Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctorate in Epidemiology from the Graduate School of Public Health; all from the University of Pittsburgh. She also holds a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Watzlaf has received several awards including the AHIMA Research Triumph Award, PHIMA’s (Pennsylvania’s) Distinguished Member Award, and the University of Pittsburgh’s SHRS Distinguished Alumnus Award. She was appointed to the Committee in 2020 and serves on the Full Committee, as co-chair of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Confidentiality and Security (PCS) and on the Workgroup on Timely and Strategic Action to Inform ICD-11 Policy.