Insights about the Graduate Certificate in Health Terminology Standards (HTS) from alum, Kelly Davison

Insights about the Graduate Certificate in Health Terminology Standards (HTS) from alum, Kelly Davison

Kelly S. Davison is a CNA-Certified Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse and Certified Terminology Standards Specialist (CTSS), who graduated from the University of Victoria (UVic)’s Double-Degree MN-MSc (Health Informatics) and Health Terminology Standards (HTS) Certificate programs in 2019. Kelly is currently employed full-time as a Senior Specialist, Standards with Canada Health Infoway and is co-chair of Infoway’s Sex-Gender Working Group along with Dr. Francis Lau and Dr. Karen Courtney. He is also the terminology standards community facilitator for the Canadian Health Information Management Association. Kelly is currently enrolled in doctoral studies, and his research interests relate to structural stigma and the modernization of gender, sex, and sexual orientation (GSSO) information practices as a member of the UVic GSSO Research Team. 

In response to the brief questions below, Kelly shares his experience as an alum of the Graduate Certificate in Health Terminology Standards and the impact this program has had on his career.

Why did you enroll in the UVic health terminology certificate?

I can’t stress enough how important language is to health care. Whether it is clinicians speaking with patients, patients interacting with health portals, or analysts reviewing reams of data generated from clinical documentation, every word that gets exchanged between people, between computers, or between computers and people has an intended meaning and an interpreted meaning. Words can harm. Words can heal. And words shape the culture.

I enrolled in the UVic health terminologies certificate because I am interested in the impact that terminology standards have on care culture and practice, terminology standards being something that both humans and computers use to communicate.

Has the HTS certificate affected your career path? If so, how?

The HTS certificate, and the knowledge and competencies it represents, qualified me for certification as a CTSS with the Canadian College of Health Information Management and allowed me to join the moral community of health information professionals involved in standards work. The certificate and designation were also key considerations for securing a high-quality job when I graduated. 

What advice do you have for those who are interested in the HTS certificate?

My advice would be to follow your interests! Not only will you gain the knowledge and competencies required to support a career in standards, but you will also be joining a community of dedicated professionals who work at local, provincial, federal, and international levels to improve health care. Health terminology standards support care quality at the bedside through clinical documentation; they support the continuity of care across disciplines, programs, and services by connecting the continuum of care; and they allow us to analyze and understand health care and ways we can innovate by structuring data and increasing data quality. 

About the program

The University of Victoria’s Health Terminology Standards Graduate Certificate Program is now accepting applications for its fall 2022 cohort. This is a 1-year, part-time online program with weekly evening classes, a 2.5-day virtual workshop, and a capstone project. Graduates are eligible for certification with the Canadian College of Health Information Management as a Certified Terminology Standards Specialist (CTSS).

The application deadline is June 1, 2022, for September 2022 entry. For more information, contact Dr. Francis Lau at [email protected] or visit

Related Articles