The Class of 2017 profiles the women and men who joined the AHA board this year.

As Indiana University (IU) Health’s chief nurse executive and a nationally recognized nursing leader, Michelle Janney brings the voice of nursing and patients to the AHA board – and a commitment to improving community health.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to recognize the value that the nursing profession brings to population health,” says Janney, who also serves as Indianapolis-based IU Health’s executive vice president. “Keeping people healthy is the underpinning of the profession … of those closest to the delivery of care.”

Janney says population health provides a potent opportunity for hospitals to collaborate with other health care and community-based organizations and public health agencies on improving health outcomes in the communities they serve. She says health care organizations will need to address behavioral health and other cultural and societal issues in their communities as they navigate new payment models and penalty programs.

For example, patient readmissions in many instances stem from the “psycho-social and economic issues that patients bring to us,” she says. Investing in treatment and outreach services can yield significant social and health benefits and “takes us back to the foundation of what population health means,” she adds.

That focus on behavioral health is a big reason why Janney is pleased to serve as the AHA board’s liaison to the AHA Section for Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services’ governing council. “It is rich and meaningful work that is aligned with my background and my experience,” she says.

Janney recently joined IU Health after serving as senior vice president and Wood-Prince Family chief nurse executive at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she worked for 12 years. Under her leadership, Northwestern Memorial Hospital received the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet designation in 2006 and re-designation in 2010. The program recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

She received the Power of Nursing Leadership Pinnacle Leader Award in 2007 and the Nursing Spectrum Excellence Award for Advancing and Leading the Profession in 2010. She also was president of the AHA-affiliated American Organization of Nurse Executives in 2013.

As a member of the AHA NOVA Awards Committee, Janney is inspired by the “great variety and creativity in how hospitals and health care organizations engage their communities in meaningful ways to improve population health.” The NOVAw awards honor effective, collaborative programs focused on improving community health status. That work will become increasingly important as hospitals become less about a building and more about a coordinated system of care, she observes.

Asked what she will enjoy most about serving on the AHA board, Janney says it’s “hearing the voices and perspectives” of her colleagues. “They are highly experienced and value-driven leaders, and I look forward to that diversity of experience and expertise that is represented on the board.”