Wilkins Earns National Organization’s Top Honor

Dr. Melinda Wilkins AHIMA Distinguished Member Award

Arkansas Tech University faculty member Dr. Melinda A. Wilkins has earned the highest honor the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) may bestow upon one of its members.

Wilkins is the recipient of the 2021 AHIMA Distinguished Member Award in recognition of her more than 30 years of service to the profession as an educator, consultant and advocate.

She is the first Arkansan and the 27th person in the organization’s 93-year history to earn the AHIMA Distinguished Member Award.

“I honestly feel so very blessed to be a part of the Arkansas Tech community as it has helped me to grow such a strong professional network and presence,” said Wilkins. “My personal mantra is that we are on this earth to help each other. I will always believe that we need to do what we can to make a positive difference.”

Wilkins is professor of health informatics and director of the health information management and health informatics programs at Arkansas Tech. She served on the ATU faculty from 1988-2015, and after one year away as vice president for research and education at Administrative Consultant Service LLC, returned to the Arkansas Tech faculty in 2016. Her contributions to Arkansas Tech have included the development and implementation of ATU’s Master of Science degree in health informatics.

A two-time Arkansas Health Information Management Association (ArHIMA) president, Wilkins serves on the Health Information Management Accreditation Council (HIMAC) of the Council on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and as an AHIMA Fellow.

She received the ArHIMA Living Legacy Award and was twice awarded the Distinguished Member Award from ArHIMA as well as the Dissertation Research Funding Award from AHIMA.

Wilkins has worked in outpatient and inpatient settings as well as in consulting. Wilkins is a past recipient of the AHIMA Leadership Triumph Award and has served in volunteer roles at both the national and state level.

In addition to her work at Arkansas Tech, Wilkins has served as a faculty member for the health informatics programs at Walden University and Logan University. She has written articles for health informatics and health information publications, been a contributor and/or reviewer for industry publications, served on doctoral dissertation committees for Walden University and Capella University and presented at the state and national level.

Wilkins holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Southwestern Oklahoma State University as well as a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Capella University.

“Dr. Wilkins has demonstrated positive leadership and support to her colleagues and co-workers,” reads a portion of a statement from AHIMA announcing the award. “Her enthusiasm for the HIM profession is apparent through her service. She is a role model to her students and this award exemplifies her professional achievements.”

Learn more about the ATU health information and health informatics programs at www.atu.edu/biosciences/him.