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Susan Bowman (MJ ’11) is the Senior Director of Coding Policy & Compliance in the Public Policy & Government Relations department at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).  She has 20 years experience working in healthcare policy at the AHIMA .  Her responsibilities include reviewing and commenting on federal regulations that impact the health profession, meeting with federal government agencies and other policymakers, and influencing federal regulations and legislation.  Earlier this year she traveled to Washington D.C. and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

Hometown: 
Buffalo, New York.  Currently lives in Wilmette, Illinois.
Undergraduate Institution: Daemen College in Amherst, New York.
Current Employer: American Health Information Management Association.

Why did you choose to attend Loyola?
I was really looking to expand my knowledge within the public policy health care arena. The MJ program was great because I specialized in Health Law and was able to focus on the work that I really wanted to do. The MJ program was also offered online, which really appealed to me because I could participate in live classes even if I was traveling for work. I also was able to attend quarterly education immersion events on the weekends with speakers and social receptions, so that was a great opportunity to meet classmates and attend face-to-face educational sessions.

In what ways has your practice evolved?
My role has evolved to take on a more legislative angle. One of the skills that I gained from the MJ program was improving my writing technique for developing testimony and comment letters in response to proposed regulations. I learned how to better synthesize my thoughts, condense information, and highlight key points. This skill really came out in my testimony before the House, and it helped me keep my responses to their questions concise and articulate. A part of my MJ thesis was also published in the Health Information Management Research journal, and my advanced expertise has been incorporated into an expansion of my job role. 

What would be once piece of advice for people considering the MJ program?

Don’t be afraid of it – I had been out of formal education for thirty years, so going back to school was a daunting thought. And don’t worry about the pace of the program, especially since the online program makes it possible to go to school while working full time. It’s important that you go back to school with the idea that you’re going to have the opportunity to learn. Also, consider advancing your education as a professional development opportunity. People don’t always realize that going back to school doesn’t have to mean a whole career change. I went back for my degree and I was able to bring those skills back to my current job and develop new roles and responsibilities based on what I learned. I’m glad that I obtained the MJ degree because I can apply what I learned, and that has really helped me professionally.

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