September 15, 2021

As part of our ongoing series that highlights NHTI alumni, the following blog post is written by Heather Dunn, who completed her certificate in Medical Coding at NHTI in 2005.

I earned my Medical Coding Certificate from NHTI in 2005. That certification has consistently set me apart from others in health care finance when seeking career advancement opportunities.  The time and effort spent understanding an essential aspect of healthcare operations demonstrated my desire to be an ambitious lifelong learner.

When I started my career in healthcare 20 years ago, I was a business development associate for a start-up company specializing in electronic medical records. I knew then that I needed in-depth knowledge of medical coding to synthesize the challenges in health care with the unique capabilities of the EMR we were developing. The evening classes at NHTI offered the perfect schedule to balance work, life, and learning.

My career growth has been significant since I completed the coursework at NHTI.  From an entry-level business associate, I accepted a management position at a community hospital. Then I moved into a role leading the finance information technology team at a multi-hospital system. I then took a leadership role at a nationwide healthcare system, then an executive direction role with a globally recognized cancer center.

Now, I am the vice president and chief revenue officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The Medical Coding Certificate that I earned at NHTI has been a differentiator at each step along my career path. The knowledge I gained continues to help me understand the connection between coding, documentation, reimbursement, and compliance.


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