AHIMA board chair dies

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announced this morning that board President and Chair Kathleen A. Frawley died Friday at the age of 63. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Here is the text of the AHIMA press release:

AHIMA Mourns Passing of Kathleen A. Frawley, AHIMA Board President/Chair

CHICAGO – July 1, 2013 – With profound sadness, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announces the passing of Board President/Chair Kathleen A. Frawley, JD, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA on Friday, June 28.  Frawley, 63, also was a professor and chair of the health information technology program at DeVry University’s North Brunswick, N.J. campus.

“Kathleen had an inspiring and unwavering belief in the importance of health information management and how AHIMA members could lead the profession,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, CAE, FAHIMA. “She touched the lives of so many of her colleagues in HIM, AHIMA members and her students. She will be missed by the entire AHIMA family.”

Angela Kennedy, EdD, MEd, MBA, RHIA, CPHQ, will serve as Board President/Chair effective immediately. Kennedy became President/Chair Elect in January, which was the same time Frawley began her one-year term.

“On behalf of the board and everyone at AHIMA, our thoughts are with Kathleen’s family during this difficult time,” Kennedy said. “Kathleen’s theme during her presidency was ‘dream big and believe.’ It is incumbent upon all of us at AHIMA to continue to move forward with the work and initiatives to advance the profession and the quality of care for patients everywhere as Kathleen would have wanted.”

For more than three decades, Frawley played an integral role at AHIMA. From 1992 to 2000, Frawley was AHIMA’s vice president of legislative and public policy services. The following year, she was a recipient of the AHIMA Distinguished Member Award. In 2011, she was the recipient of the New Jersey Health Information Management Association Distinguished Member Award.

As an educator, Frawley spent a great deal of time focused on the future of HIM education and making sure her students made the most of their opportunities. In a Journal of AHIMA Q and A from October 2012, Frawley said, “(one) of my projects is identifying and assisting students who are at risk of failing or dropping out of school. I did a presentation (on this) at the Assembly on Education and Faculty Development a couple of years ago; I want to identify barriers that prevent students from being successful.”

Frawley was particularly proud to serve as President/Chair during AHIMA’s 85th anniversary year. She inherited a love of history from her late father, and during her speech at the 2012 AHIMA Convention and Exhibit, she outlined how she always made it a point when she was at the AHIMA office to look at the pictures showcasing AHIMA’s founders and past CEOs. In fact, it was her idea to turn this wall of pictures into a mini-museum to celebrate AHIMA’s history.

Frawley, who spoke on health information privacy issues to a number of national outlets including Good Morning America, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She received a master’s degree in health services administration from Wager College and a juris doctorate from New York Law School.

AHIMA will establish a scholarship in Frawley’s name to honor her contribution to the association as a staff member, board member and president, and long-time AHIMA member.