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Industry trail-blazer Steven Huesing passes away

EDMONTON – Steven Huesing (pictured), a leader of Canada’s healthcare IT sector who was internationally respected for his vision, wisdom and kindness, passed away in April 2009 at the age of 64. Steven lived with polycystic kidney disease, overcoming many health issues throughout his lifetime and was a successful recipient of two kidney transplants.

Steven worked tirelessly as a trail-blazer and an ambassador to advance the use of computers and information technology in healthcare for more than 40 years.

In 2007, he was recognized with a special Canadian Health Informatics Award (CHIA) for Lifetime Achievement. “Steve Huesing has done more for our industry than anyone I know and he did it with style, passion and tremendous commitment,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “We and generations of IT healthcare professionals will be forever in his debt.”

During his multi-faceted and productive career, Steven was President of the Canadian Healthcare Information Technology Trade Association (CHITTA), Editor/Publisher of Healthcare Information Management & Communications Canada (HIMCC), the official journal of CHITTA and COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association, and Executive Director of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA).

At the beginning of his career in the 1960s, computers were still considered avant-garde and risky, even in mainstream industry. A registered industrial and cost accountant (now CMA), Steven’s interest in health informatics flourished while he filled senior administrative CFO and CIO roles with hospitals and government. His many accomplishments included:

• Serving COACH in many capacities, including Founding President, 1975-78; Executive Director, 1980-99, and Editor of the COACH history book, covering 1975-2005;

• Being the only Canadian to serve as President of IBM’s user group, Electronic Computing Health Oriented (ECHO), 1983-87;

• Starting HIMCC, the only health informatics magazine in Canada for many years, in 1987;

• Together with David Wattling, founding CHITTA, now the healthcare division of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), in 2002;

• Establishing the COACH Founding President’s Award in 1983 to recognize and motivate outstanding HI students at the University of Victoria.

• In 1999, COACH established the Steven Huesing Scholarship for students in HI or related programs at Canadian post-secondary institutions. The scholarship reflects Steven’s spirit, dedication and innovation in the field.