Early Careerist Spotlight – Melissa Armstrong

Where were you at in your career when you joined ACHE?
After ten years of non-profit social work and exceptional education, I decided to pursue my MHA. I joined ACHE as a first year MHA student while working for UW-Milwaukee.

Where are you now in your career?
I currently serve the Advocate Aurora Medical Group’s Integrative Medicine department as their program coordinator. My role consists of managing the Integrative Cancer Care program spanning 17 cancer clinics in the state of Wisconsin. Additionally, I lead department research, professional education and special program development.

How has ACHE been valuable to your career progression?
The ACHE is recognized as the gold standard for healthcare administration. Throughout my career progression, ACHE has provided an elite network of resources across all sectors of healthcare and related education on industry best practices. My membership displays a commitment to our profession and developing exceptional leadership.

Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Dr. Jennifer Fink has been the most influential person in my career. Due to her mentorship, I was able to secure an amazing internship, a solid ACHE network, and my current leadership role. I am honored to call her a close friend

What is something that you are working on recently that you are excited about?
I recently received approval for a research protocol focusing on the correlation between integrative cancer therapies, opioid consumption, and emergency department utilization. The hope is we find a way for cancer survivors to use less medications and control their pain. The study team is looking forward to publishing our findings in the new year.

Tell me about a hidden talent of yours.
Most people don’t know I am bilingual. I am fluent in American Sign Language and licensed as an ASL Interpreter in the state of Wisconsin and Illinois. Aside from my current health care role, I continue to serve the Deaf and hard of hearing community by interpreting a few times a week.

Graduate Spotlight – Alexandra Van Fleet

What are your short term career goals?

My short term career goals include completing my master’s degree in Healthcare Administration, gaining experience in billing and health insurance, and working in the population health department of a hospital.

How has ACHE been valuable to you?

ACHE has brought me opportunities to reflect and think about what I want to do with my future in healthcare administration. Volunteering with my Future Healthcare Executives organization, I had opportunities that allowed me to network with professionals and better understand the career I was getting into. Listening to guest speakers talk about the challenges of healthcare, what motivates them to strive for betterment of their organizations- these are the very topics that will shape the future of healthcare. As a future leader in this rewarding field, ACHE has given me the unique chance to connect what I have learned in the classroom with real life messages. Making this connection has truly pushed me to do well in my education as I know putting in the work now will only help me become the leader I want to be.

Who has been the most influential person in your career progression?

Kathleen Olewinski has wanted nothing but the best for me since the first day we met. As a mentor, advisor, professor, and friend, she has given me the support system and confidence to run for Vice President, apply for graduate school and continually better my future in healthcare. I would not be where I am today without her constant positivity and encouragement.

What is something that you are working on recently that you are excited about?

I have been working on research with Dr. Kaboni Gondwe, studying different preterm determinants in mothers of different regions around the globe and how COVID-19 has affected pregnancies worldwide! Research is a realm that I love and has inspired me to work in population health one day.

What are your long-term career aspirations?

At the root of all goals, I want to be a leader in healthcare who exemplifies integrity, strength and empathy. One day I hope to be a Population Health Director at a hospital. I think this is a position where I could make a large impact on a community by using research and my leadership skills to guide our healthcare network to bettering patient outcomes.

Stop the COVID Spread! Coalition says “Thank You” and “Keep It Up Wisconsin!”

Madison, WI — The statewide coalition to combat the spread of COVID-19 is encouraging Wisconsin residents to keep it up on COVID as statewide positivity and hospitalization rates show an encouraging downward trend. As vaccinations begin to be distributed in the state, the leaders of the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition are urging Wisconsinites to remain vigilant in practicing safe behaviors to ensure we continue to curtail the spread of the virus.

The efforts of the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition to-date have resulted in significant amplification of public health messaging focused on curbing the spread of COVID-19. Since its launch in October, the coalition has produced six public education announcements encouraging safe behaviors. These spots have achieved an estimated audience reach of well over 30 million on statewide television and radio. On digital platforms, coalition ads have generated over 16 million ad impressions and reached more than six million devices across the state.

“We are encouraged by a recent reduction in cases and hospitalizations, which show that safe practices are making a difference in Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin Hospital Association President and CEO Eric Borgerding. “On behalf of the coalition, we say, “Thank you!” to the people of Wisconsin for taking the necessary precautions to curb the spread of COVID. But we cannot stop now. Over the next several months as vaccines are made available to the general public, we need to keep our guard up and continue to wash hands, wear masks and maintain social distance.

Since its launch in October, the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition has advanced an aggressive campaign encouraging the use of crucial safety measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Coalition messaging has included public education announcements featuring a wide range of Wisconsin voices, including frontline health care workers from health systems throughout Wisconsin, members of the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Congressman Mark Pocan, and UW System President Tommy Thompson.

“Wisconsinites have come together to fight the common enemy of COVID and get our state heading in the right direction,” said Wisconsin Counties Association Executive Director Mark D. O’Connell. “Vaccines are coming, but we can’t stop now. The next few months will be critical and we encourage everyone to do their part to slow the numbers even more.”

The “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition currently includes more than 125 of Wisconsin’s leading health care, business, and advocacy organizations. Notable coalition members include the Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Packers, and representatives of local governments, chambers of commerce, and visitors bureaus from every corner of the state. The organizations have joined together with a shared goal of furthering public education about the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin and the critical need for preventative measures.


For more information about the Stop the Spread coalition and the importance of safe behaviors for both public and state economic health, visit www.wha.org/stopthecovidspread

Council of Regents Elections

Congratulations to the newly elected Regents, who will serve a three-year term on the Council of Regents, beginning in March 2021.

Kidada Hawkins, FACHE

Mario A. Harding, FACHE

David A. Tam, MD, FACHE

Micah B. Ewing, FACHE

Bradley C. Turpen, FACHE

Richard W. Hoyt Jr., FACHE

Kenneth J. Cochran, DSc, FACHE

Monique D. Porter, FACHE

Tom R. McDougall Jr., DSc, FACHE

New Hampshire
Joseph T. Curti, FACHE

D. Christopher Whybrew, FACHE

Joseph M. Cahill III, FACHE

Trinette K. Pierre, DHA, RN, FACHE

Lisa A. Paletta, DNP, RN, FACHE

Thomas N. Shorter, JD, FACHE

Regent-at-Large for District 2
Ajani N. Dunn, FACHE

Regent-at-Large for District 4
Stephan Davis, DNP, FACHE

Congress Registration Is Now Open

Registration is now open for the 2021 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, March 22–25. Join us for this reimagined virtual experience and earn up to 12 ACHE Face-to-Face Education credits for an early-bird rate of only $449. Register by Feb. 22 to receive the discounted registration.

The registration process has changed. Please register today for your Congress all-access pass. You will not need to select your sessions at this time. After registering for Congress, you will receive a communication in early March to select your sessions and personalize your schedule in the virtual event platform. Check the website often for updates on sessions and speakers.

Digital Self-Study Courses

ACHE’s self-study courses are now available in an all-new digital format, accessible from your desktop, laptop or mobile device. Courses are accessible in a self-directed format and build on the expertise found in books published by Health Administration Press. Upon completion of the course, participants earn six ACHE Qualified Education credit hours that can be applied toward advancement to Fellow or recertification. To learn more about the digital self-study courses, visit ache.org/selfstudy.

Message From Your ACHE Regent, Fall 2020

As our Wisconsin Chapter leadership transitions again, I want to thank the outgoing board members for their leadership and time spent guiding the ACHE WI Chapter into a valuable organization and welcome our new leadership members

  • Immediate Past President – Eric B. Erickson, FACHE
  • President – Alexa Urrutia-Comas
  • President-Elect – Christina Orr
  • Treasurer – Teresa Lindfors, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE

Board Members include Kenneth R. Carlson, FACHE, Jennifer T. Fink, PhD, Andrew M. Hillig, FACHE, and Christina Orr

Also, I am honored to continue to serve as your Wisconsin Regent on the ACHE National Council of Regents for the 2021-2024 term. As in the past, please feel to contact me with any ideas or concerns you may have.

While preparing this message and reviewing the educational programming that has occurred during the Fall of 2020, I was stunned by how much our organization has accomplished. Please take a minute to reflect that back in March, many of us did not know what a Zoom call was, but we quickly learned, soon we were able to share content and even moderate webinars and virtual face-to-face events with panelists located throughout the state. This new normal has only been possible by the strength of our individual members, and our determination has allowed the collective good of this organization to flourish, despite the challenges of the year.

The past several months has displayed an impressive line-up, as do the events of the months ahead.

Fall 2020 – In Review

  • The Business Care of Evidence-Based Design Features for Staff: Translating Traditional ROI Data for Financial Performance.
    • Webinar, September 23rd
  • Mentoring and Building Your Network
    • Webinar, September 30th
  • Ethical Challenges in Healthcare Leadership
    • Virtual F2F Event, October 8th
  • Telemedicine in the Healthcare Delivery System
    • Virtual F2F Event, October 22nd
  • Equity of Care
    • Virtual F2F Event, November 5th
  • Managing the New Work-Life Balance
    • Member Discussion, November 17th
  • COVID-19: What We Learned: Leadership and Crisis Management: Strategies to Effectively Manage a Healthcare Organization
    • Virtual F2F Event, November 19th
  • Leading a Culture of Safety: A Blueprint for Success, Lead and Reward a Just Culture and Establish Organizational Behavior Expectations
    • Virtual F2F, Event December 3rd

2020 Events To Close Out the Year

  • The Future Look of Healthcare – Design and Re-Designing Space
  • The Future Look of Healthcare – Design and Re-Designing Space

    • Member Discussion, December 9th @ 4-4pm
    • Moderator
      • Alexandra Urrutia-Comas, MHSA, Vice President, Operations, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Aurora Health Care – Greater Milwaukee
    • Panelists
      • Kristin Dufek, AIA, LEED AP, Vice President, EUA
      • Melinda Pogwizd, AIA, Architect | Associate, Kahler Slater
      • Tim Prince, MHA, FACHE, Senior Advisor, Strategic Project Alignment, J.H. FINDORFF & SON INC.
      • Paul Widlarz, Vice President, Principal, HGA
  • Career Development Academy – How to Be a Relationship Driven Leader
    • Webinar, December 17th @12:00 – 1:30pm
    • Moderator
      • Jeron Jackson, MHA, Service Line Administrator-Medical Oncology, Marshfield Clinic Health System
    • Panelists
      • Amy Franta, M.D. Regional Vice President, Medical Affairs, SSM Health, St. Mary’s Hospital
      • Christina P. Orr, D.P.T. Assistant Medical Center Director, Zablocki VA Medical Center
  • COVID-19: What We Learned: Staffing/People Resources and Supply Chain
    • Virtual F2F Event December 17th @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
    • Speakers
      • Mary Bygd, FACHE, Operations Administrator, MCHS- Red Cedar
      • Gary H. Rakes, CFAAMA, CMRP, CSCS, Vice President – Chief Supply Chain Officer, Aspirus, Inc.
      • William “Bill” Moir IV, VP Supply Chain Operations, Advocate Aurora Health
  • ACHE-WI 2021 Annual Conference, September 20th-21st, 2021
    • The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, WI

FACHE Membership Tenure Requirement Changes

As a reminder, the Board of Governors made the decision to change the membership tenure requirement for initial Fellow advancement from three years to one-year, effective January 1st, 2021. The intent of this change is to make Fellow status possible for more of the Members who meet the requirements and wish to advance to this important leadership level. The membership tenure requirement was adjusted, but the other requirements for Members to obtain the FACHE credential remain the same.

If you have any questions about the FACHE requirements, the deadline, or the process in general, reach out to the Customer Service Center at contact@ache.org or (312) 424-9400.

Exam Authorized and Recertification Extensions

Recertification deadlines have been extended for 2019 and 2020 classes. Each recertification class must have met all the requirements, submitted their application, and paid the recertification fee by the new deadlines.

  • Recertification Class Extension is March 31st, 2021
  • Recertification Class Extension is December 31st, 2021

As we finish 2020, please take a moment and reflect on everything we have learned this year, focusing on the resiliency and leadership, so many of our members have shown for the good and growth of this organization.

Cheers to 2021. May it be one of much healing and happiness. In the meantime, please take care to stay safe and healthy.

Thomas N. Shorter, JD, FACHE
Regent for Wisconsin

COVID-19 Resource Center

ACHE national hopes you continue to leverage the COVID-19 Resource Center to share ideas and learn from your peers. The free “COVID-19 Series With Front-Line Leaders” webinars continue to be well received, so be sure to visit ache.org/COVID to register for these sessions. Recordings are available on this page as soon as possible following the live webinar, along with numerous other resources, including a listing of members in the news. Information and frequently asked questions from members about education recertification and other areas are available here.

Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety

ACHE joined members of the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety to create Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety to provide health systems with renewed momentum and clearer direction for eliminating preventable medical harm.

Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety draws from evidence-based practices, widely known and effective interventions, exemplar case studies, and newer innovations. The plan is the work of 27 influential federal agencies, safety organizations and experts, and patient and family advocates, first brought together in 2018 by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The knowledge and recommendations in the National Action Plan center on four foundational areas deliberately chosen because of their widespread impact on safety across the continuum of care:

  1. Culture, Leadership and Governance: The imperative for leaders, governance bodies and policymakers to demonstrate and foster deeply held professional commitments to safety as a core value and promote the development of cultures of safety.
  2. Patient and Family Engagement: The spread of authentic patient and family engagement; the practice of co-designing and co-producing care with patients, families and care partners to ensure their meaningful partnership in all aspects of care design, delivery and operations.
  3. Workforce Safety: The commitment to the safety and fortification of the healthcare workforce as a necessary precondition to advancing patient safety; the need to work toward a unified, total system perspective and approach to eliminate harm to both patients and the workforce.
  4. Learning System: The establishment of networked and continuous learning; forging learning systems within and across healthcare organizations at the local, regional and national levels to encourage widespread sharing, learning and improvement.

ACHE looks forward to advancing patient safety further with the National Action Plan.

For ACHE resources on advancing patient safety, visit ache.org/Safety.