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2023 Award Winner Ameena Elahi: Advancing Informatics Through Multiple Roles

A lifelong passion for learning—and a timely conversation—led to a career in imaging informatics and a commitment that everything Ameena Elahi, MPA, R.T.(R)(ARRT), CIIP, does is for the end user.

Earlier in her career, Elahi worked as a coordinator in the Imaging Processing Department at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although she enjoyed her job, she says she was looking for a new challenge and was leaning toward project management.

"I knew I wanted to get behind the problem before it happened, but I didn't know what that meant," says Elahi, adding that she liked how a colleague—now her manager—treated each task as a project and not a short-term fix. After discussing this with him, she was encouraged to apply for an open position in the Clinical Imaging Group responsible for image exchange and artificial intelligence (AI). "I wasn’t interested at first. He had to talk me into it," she says.

Elahi moved into that position and hasn't looked back. As the inaugural winner of the American Board of Imaging Informatics (ABII) Excellence in Imaging Informatics award, she is excited for the future of informatics and for the impact the profession will have on healthcare.

A Passion for Her Profession

Elahi chose her profession because she says she wanted to provide high-quality service and care. "Everything informaticists do affects patient care," she says. "To deliver the optimal experience for patients, you need to be able to quickly view, retrieve, and analyze an image."

The impact on end users fuels her passion. "When radiologists, referring physicians, or X-ray technologists are introduced to a product that makes their work more efficient and helps them deliver optimal care," she says, "that's the best feeling."

Elahi is excited about the future of AI in informatics. "We are easing out of the hype phase and into the implementation phase," she explains. "Whether you call it AI, machine learning or automation, it comes down to efficiency—and that's what we're striving for. There's so much to learn, and I don't see a ceiling."

Volunteering and Education

When not working at Penn Medicine, where she now holds a position as Application Manager on the Medical Imaging Management team, Elahi's focus is on volunteering and education. She co-chairs the AI steering committee for Penn Radiology and serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM). She is also the author of several peer-reviewed academic papers.

An additional volunteer role is that of Program Informatics Operations Director with RAD-AID, an organization that strives to improve access to medical imaging in low-resource areas of the world. Elahi has participated in two overseas assignments to Nigeria.

She is also working on a master's degree—her second—in organizational dynamics. Her goal is to obtain a doctorate. "For me, learning is growing," she says.

Advocating for Informatics

"It's such an honor to receive this award because I have so much respect for other imaging informaticists," Elahi says. "Everything I do relates to informatics at its core—whether it's the global health work, being on the Board at SIIM, my day job at Penn Medicine, or mentorship." She adds that having the Certified Imaging Informatics Professional (CIIP) certification is important to her and represents a commitment to excellence and lifelong learning.

Tessa Cook, M.D., Ph.D. CIIP, FSIIM, FCPP, Vice Chair of Practice Transformation in Radiology, the co-worker who nominated Elahi for the award, says, "I'd be lost without Ameena's expertise. She interfaces seamlessly with vendors to keep our projects organized and moving. She is also a great mentor who helps her team prepare for the CIIP examination."

Elahi envisions herself in a future advocacy role to encourage women and minorities to enter the informatics profession, as well as coaching underserved communities and executives alike.

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Nominations open June 24 - July 31

Learn More
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