Jesse Lea Gould, BHthInfoMgt (La Trobe)
An exemplar Health Information Manager
Members of the health information management profession will be deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of our colleague, Jesse Gould. Jesse passed away in September 2019, aged 38 years, owing to complications of chronic illness.
Jesse was known to many Health Information Managers (HIMs) throughout Victoria. She studied the Bachelor of Health Information Management at La Trobe University from 2000, graduating in 2004. She is remembered by her lecturers as a very conscientious student and a joy to teach. She achieved an ‘A’ in my subject ‘Medical Ethics and Law’ and in her final year ‘Health Classification’ subject: all La Trobe HIM graduates will attest to the fact that these are significant achievements! Jesse undertook a final-year professional practice placement at Austin Health’s Informatics Unit where she completed an impressive clinical terminologies investigative project: ‘Matching Nephrology terms to SNOMED-CT’.
Based upon her excellent academic results in the pass degree, Jesse was offered a place in the prestigious health information management Honours program; however, she opted instead to begin her professional life. Her former lecturers recall Jesse’s excitement at the prospect of her first professional role as the HIM for Alpine Health, located in the high country of north-east Victoria. She later worked as an HIM-Clinical Coder at the Austin’s Health Information Services.
Jesse’s career included employment as a contract HIM-Clinical Coder at hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. She became a highly regarded Clinical Coding Auditor, including as a valued member of the KPMG state-wide health classification audit team.
Her love of learning and passion for health classification drew her to the La Trobe University Clinical Coding Auditing course in 2012-2013 in which she achieved the coveted Certificate of External and Internal Clinical Coding Auditing.
Jesse’s last role was as Clinical Data Project Officer at the North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (NEMICS). Luellen Thek, HIM and Project Officer-Regional Service Planning at NEMICS, observed that Jesse was “an essential part of the NEMICS team”. Jesse showed “great pride in her work” and had “… a great passion for learning”. At NEMICS, Jesse undertook data analysis on low volume, high-risk cancer surgery including oesophagectomy, pancreatectomy, pneumonectomy, liver resection and abdominoperineal resection. As lead author, she proudly reported the results of an exploratory study of key determinants influencing emergency presentation leading to colorectal cancer surgery, via a poster presentation at the 2013 annual scientific meeting of the Clinical Oncology Society Australia (Gould et al 2013).
Jesse’s HIM friends from her student days and from the health information management – and wider health – workforce remember her with great affection. Whereas she sometimes gave the impression (e.g. to her lecturers) of being reserved, Solange Altarac and other HIM friends recall that she was often the life of the party. Her generous friendships with colleagues and unfailingly positive outlook will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.
Jesse consistently demonstrated significant talent and success as an HIM including in the professional roles of HIM-Clinical Coder, Clinical Coding Auditor and Health Data Analyst. She contributed actively to the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) and in 2011 commenced a term on the Executive Committee of the HIMAA Victorian Branch. Her passing is a genuine loss to our profession.
La Trobe University, via its Alumni Association – Alumni & Advancement Office, retains meaningful and enduring connections with all graduates, and is honouring the memory of Jesse via a Candlebark tree to be planted on campus.
The following comment from Jesse’s HIM friend and Austin Health colleague, Lisa Langtree, will resonate with all HIMs who knew her:
“The very first word that comes to mind is caring, hugely so. Jesse somehow seemed to have the space and energy to be thinking of others and how she could help, despite her own immense health issues that would swamp most of us … Jesse was an inspiration to me and set the bar high, personally and professionally. I’m sure this is true for others. It’s sad not to hear her laugh again, but Jesse made a difference and will continue to inspire.”
All members of the profession and Jesse’s HIM colleagues and former lecturers extend our deep condolences to her family and friends, especially her mother Lea, father David, sister Lauren, and soul-mate and partner, Rob Forster. Vale Jesse.
- Gould J, Simons K, Mitchell PL, Byrne M and Vermeltfoort C (2013) Understanding factors in emergency presentations for colorectal cancer surgery. Poster Abs No 255, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia 40th Annual Scientific Meeting, Adelaide, South Australia, 12-14 November. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology 9(S3): 54. Available at: https://www.nemics.org.au/icms_docs/173241_2013_COSA_colorectal_emergencies.pdf (accessed 9 April 2021).