Public Health Administrator, CHIM
There are few topics as hot-button right now as COVID-19 immunizations, so it’s fitting that our latest member story spotlights Enobong Oladipo, a Certified Health Information Management professional, a public health administrator in Manitoba who’s currently engaged in supporting COVID-19 immunization clinics for the province.
Oladipo came to Canada in 2014 with her husband, who was studying here. Though she had a degree in geology, she was in search of something more versatile — a career that would provide her with purpose and that wouldn’t become monotonous over the long term. When she stumbled across health information, she thought it fit the bill. She loved that there were so many opportunities for health information professionals to work in health care without directly delivering it.
Entering the health information profession in the age of COVID-19
Not long after graduating from her health information management (HIM) program, Oladipo accepted a role on Manitoba Health’s epidemiology and surveillance team. While she says the job title wasn’t new, she was hired specifically for COVID-19 work as there was a need for HIM professionals at the start of the pandemic. Interestingly, she notes that her education and certification in HIM were key factors in securing the position. “Because of the expertise needed to do the job, the hiring manager knew that it was important to have a certified health information professional in this role,” she shares.
The role provided Oladipo with a wealth of experience, including reading through client investigations, extracting relevant information, and entering it into the public HIM system used to manage all public health in the province. She focused on two key questions: how did the individual contract COVID-19, and where did they come into contact with the virus? The answers were critical for informing public health officials in the province.
Supporting public health administration
In June 2020, Oladipo moved into the role of public health administrator — a job she says she got mainly because of the skills she gained working in municipal health (particularly her ability to use the public health management system). In ‘normal’ times, her role involves managing immunization and influenza clinics for kids in grades six and eight. She organizes three per year: spring and fall clinics for routine vaccinations, as well as a fall clinic for the flu shot.
“I’m the liaison between the school division and public health for my community area,” Oladipo explains. “I’m responsible for planning and coordinating the immunization campaigns, including getting supplies for the clinics in the area.”
COVID-19 immunizations have become an important part of her role. “All public health administrators for all communities are coming together to support the vaccine rollout and immunization clinics for the entire province,” she says. This support entails creating each day’s event, uploading client information for those being vaccinated that day, managing the event and inventory, and more.
Her way of giving back to the community
Talking to her, it’s clear that Oladipo loves her job. “It’s always different tasks. It’s not monotonous, and there’s never any boredom,” she says. “I love that I’m so involved in supporting public health in my area — I see it as my way of giving back to the community.”
For Oladipo, COVID-19 has changed more than the focus of her role. “The most challenging thing for me is the uncertainty due to the pandemic,” she shares. “What other changes lay ahead and how might those changes affect my job in the future?”
Despite this uncertainty, Oladipo is excited about her future in health information. Though she says the journey is new to her, she’s looking forward to exploring it fully. “I see great opportunities for health information professionals, especially given the direction that the Canadian Health Information Management Association and the Canadian College of Health Information Management are moving in,” she says. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”