Benson Hill is information security and privacy officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Benson Hill is information security and privacy officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
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Front and Center: Benson Hill

Published on Monday, September 25, 2023

By: Annie Oeth,

Photos By: Jay Ferchaud/ UMMC Communications

Benson Hill stands at the crossroads where health care, technology and privacy laws meet.

As information security and privacy officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Hill is putting his background in technology, his BSN earned at UMMC and his JD from Ole Miss to good use.

"Coming to UMMC has allowed me to merge my career paths,” said Hill, who joined the Medical Center in August 2020.

In his position at UMMC, Hill focuses on protecting patient information, intellectual property and financial records and keeping the Medical Center’s data and networks secure.

The Medical Center’s commitment to information security and compliance with privacy laws is rooted in caring for patients, Hill said.

“We have a legal requirement to protect our data,” he said, “but what we are protecting isn’t random data. Our patients trust us with their information and expect us to protect it. Without that trust, we can’t be of service to the community.”

A Tupelo native, Hill started his career in nursing by earning an associate degree at Itawamba Community College and working as a critical care and special procedures nurse at North Mississippi Medical Center.

After completing his BSN, Hill was inspired to study law but returned to his interest in health care by earning a Master of Laws degree in Health Law and Privacy from the University of Houston.

Having health care and legal experience comes in handy in Hill’s current position, giving him insight into regulatory requirements as well as the clinical experience to explain those requirements to caregivers.

“Part of my job is translating requirements to those on the front lines of providing care,” he said.

From 2000 to 2006, he was senior information security analyst for BancorpSouth, now known as Cadence Bank.

Chief Integrity Officer Stacy Baldwin said Hill’s communication skills and willingness to help others, in addition to his professional experience, make him an asset to UMMC.

Stacy Baldwin

“To successfully serve in the combined roles of information security and privacy officer, one must have knowledge of information technology and the ability to understand both federal and state regulations and how those apply to the health care setting,” she said. “With Benson’s wide array of education, he has an exceptional background to serve in this role.

“Additionally, a person’s desire to help people and their ability to communicate professionally are great assets in this role. Often in this role, one will help others who believe their information has been inappropriately disclosed, their health record is incorrect, or who have had allegations of security or privacy violations levied against them. Such discussions can be difficult. Handling these situations takes someone who is willing to help others and who has the professional communication skills necessary to do so. Benson most assuredly has those skill sets.”

A fourth career path – medical education – will be added to Hill’s resume in 2024, when he will teach an elective class in health law to first- and second-year students in the School of Medicine.

“My goal is to give students an understanding of how the medical system works from a legal perspective,” he said.

Hill stays active in Tupelo, serving as co-president of Temple B’nai Israel, and is getting to know Jackson.

“I moved here from Houston in the middle of the pandemic, so I am still learning about the city and its different events and restaurants.”

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