Health Records Professional’s Battle with Cancer Inspires Her to Help Others
The Linda Elias Health Information Management Scholarship was awarded this month to Mackenzie Health Hospital employee and new Centre for Distance Education student Santrina Cerquozzi.
The scholarship, established by Robert Elias in memory his late wife Linda and in partnership with CD-ED, is awarded each year to an aspiring HIM professional. Linda Elias, a program manager with a national health information association, succumbed to liver cancer in November 2011.
Like Mrs. Elias, Santrina is drawn to serve others as a healthcare professional and like the scholarship’s namesake, Santrina has faced her own battle with cancer.
At 15 Santrina was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; in her scholarship application she wrote: “The day I received my first finger prick I decided I was going to become a doctor and make a difference in healthcare and patients’ lives.”
But it was her job in the Health Records Department at York Central Hospital where Santrina discovered she could help patients is ways other than becoming a physician. She wrote: “I realized that I have been making a difference all along, and that health information services is where I am needed to make this difference.”
In addition to experience in the health information field, to qualify for the scholarship Santrina had to meet a variety of criteria including demonstrating a commitment and passion for the HIM profession, a caring a positive attitude and an ability to work “behind the scenes” to help others.
The goal of the Linda Elias scholarship fund is to encourage a new generation of passionate professionals to join the ranks of the HIM profession.
Santrina told the scholarship board that after 10 years in the field, she felt the scholarship could help her achieve full health management accreditation and continue to excel in the growing and changing field.