Candace Lowery completes first HIM degree

Candace Lowery, Lane's first HIM graduateReflecting on her first months in Eugene, newly-minted Lane Community College graduate Candace Lowery can hardly believe her good fortune.

Lowery is the first student at Lane to earn a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Management (HIM).

When she and her husband Jose Garcia and their infant daughter arrived from South Carolina in 2013, they were homeless and had few belongings. “We literally had nothing but our clothes,” says Lowery, who is 27.

The couple stayed at the Eugene Mission for a month, and at St. Vincent DePaul’s First Place Family Center program for two months. When Garcia found full-time employment, the family moved into an apartment. That spring, Lowery enrolled as a full-time student at Lane.

Completing the HIM online curricula, which includes lab, lectures and cooperative education placement, required exacting discipline. It was no easy feat for Lowery, who was pregnant with her second child when she began her studies.

Lowery credits her husband and HIM Program Coordinator Shelley Williams for her success. “Shelley is a great program administrator, and despite her many responsibilities, she always makes time for students,” says Lowery.

When other graduates took part in Lane’s commencement ceremonies on June 17, 2017, Lowery took the Oregon State Board examination to become certified as a medical coder—credentialing that will qualify her for employment as a health information technician in most states.

The two-year, full-time HIM program prepares students for work in physician offices, outpatient clinics, and other health care facilities. Health information technicians monitor the quality of medical and financial data. They also help physicians and other healthcare providers obtain information that will meet billing, payment, and regulatory requirements.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a growth rate of 22 percent for the HIM industry through 2024, much faster than the average for all health occupations.

Lowery and her husband will soon return to North Carolina to be closer to family and to await the birth of their third child.

Theirs is a life full of possibilities, one she couldn’t imagine four years ago.

For more information about the Health Information Management degree program at Lane, visit the Lane Health Information Management page or call 541-463-5617.


Joan Aschim


(541) 463-5591