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PHA Director & RCHE Assistant Director

Melanie Cline


Melanie Cline, RN, MSN, LPC, serves as Director of Purdue Healthcare Advisors (PHA) and as Assistant Director for the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue. She has worked for PHA since 2015 when she came aboard to conduct research at Regenstrief Center while coaching hospitals and healthcare agencies in process improvement through her position at PHA.

As Director of PHA, Melanie oversees all of PHA's programs and services, including the COVID-19 Health Disparities Grant funded through the CDC and the Indiana Department of Health. As Assistant Director for PHA, Melanie led the Lean Healthcare Transformation Initiative, which works with Indiana Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Hospitals, Behavioral Health Organizations and Rural Health Clinics to identify areas of “waste” or inefficiencies, and to eliminate anything that does not add value for patients. Fifteen CAHs participated in the program and five were certified as lean offices through this effort.  She led the Quality Processes for Health Improvement program at Marion General Hospital to re-engineer chronic disease management for patients diagnosed with heart failure. She also led the Small Care Neighborhood and Empowered Communities initiatives, both of which provide a response to the opioid epidemic.

Melanie’s passion for healthcare improvement has its roots in her previous role as a neonatal nurse and director of pediatric specialty care at IU Health-Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Melanie’s 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. In that position, she also introduced Lean/Six Sigma and operational improvements in inpatient nursing, perioperative services and ER services, and this led to the adoption of lean as a strategy to transform the entire healthcare system. Melanie also co-authored the Career Advancement Program, which redefined and elevated nursing practice and served as the basis for the attainment of magnet status.

During her 30+ years at Riley Hospital, Melanie progressed in responsibility from staff nurse on the Infant Unit to managing the Toddler Unit to directing Pediatric Care Center 1 followed by the Pediatric Specialty Care Center. She also served briefly as Interim Chief Nursing Officer. In response to two reimbursement changes in 2013, Melanie led a care model redesign project that adjusted the nursing skill percentage mix from 95% registered nursing (RN) skill to 70%, thereby saving IU Health $1.9M while sustaining quality and service outcomes in the 90th percentile.

In addition to her extensive experience in operations Melanie also 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. Her work in leading a team to develop a bedside nursing report to engage patients and families in safe hand-offs resulted in Riley Hospital receiving the 2010 “Socius Award” from the National Patient Safety Foundation. Melanie has presented her work at national meetings and has published in nursing journals and nursing textbooks on the synergy model.

Melanie earned a Master of Science in Nursing from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Purdue University. She holds a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.

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