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PHA Director & RCHE Assistant Director

Melanie Cline


Melanie Cline, RN, MSN, serves the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering (RCHE) at Purdue as Assistant Director and leads RCHE’s community outreach and research implementation efforts as Director of Purdue Healthcare Advisors (PHA). In this dual role, Melanie is responsible for creating a two-way dialogue among RCHE, the healthcare industry, and communities to improve health outcomes. Her responsibilities also include building strategic internal and external relationships to link the University with opportunities for identifying healthcare gaps and other real-world challenges.

With a viewpoint toward inclusiveness and stewardship, Melanie leads engagements that ensure diversity of communities served, local sustainability of the work, and broad dissemination of resulting best practices. Her work at both the state- and community-level involves guiding communities and organizations build stronger networks, reach targeted strategic objectives, and co-create technologies, products and services necessary to remove barriers to health equity.

Melanie joined PHA in 2015 to contribute to advancing applied research while coaching hospitals and healthcare agencies in process improvement. Promoted to Assistant Director, Melanie led the statewide Lean Healthcare Transformation Initiative that trained staff in 15 Indiana Critical Access Hospitals to identify areas of inefficiency in preparation for lean office-certification. Today, Melanie oversees a 30-county community engagement initiative through the CDC/Indiana Department of Health-funded Indiana Healthy Opportunities for People Everywhere (I-HOPE), and a bi-county community engagement initiative through HRSA-funded Consortium for Opioids Response and Engagement (CORE-ECI). Recently, her team guided Marion General Hospital re-engineer chronic disease management for patients diagnosed with heart failure.

Melanie’s passion for healthcare improvement has its roots in her previous role as a pediatric nurse leader at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Her drive to improve the care of mothers and babies combined with her interest in the design of clinical spaces led to the creation of the $400M Simon Family Tower when she was Director of Nursing Operations. That work introduced her to Lean/Six Sigma and operational improvements that she utilized to transform the healthcare system. She also led a care model redesign project that adjusted the nursing skill percentage mix to save IU Health $1.9M while sustaining quality and service outcomes in the 90th percentile.

In addition to her extensive experience in operations, Melanie is an expert in nursing practice and clinical process improvement. She co-authored the Career Advancement Program at IU Health, which redefined and elevated nursing practice and served as the basis for the attainment of magnet status. She also spearheaded work to develop a bedside nursing report to engage patients and families in safe hand-offs that resulted in a 2010 National Patient Safety Foundation Socius Award. Melanie has presented her work at national meetings and has published in nursing journals and nursing textbooks on the synergy model.

Melanie earned a bachelor's degree (Purdue University) and master’s degree (Indiana University) in nursing.

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