Chapter Leaders

President
Janis Watts, DNP, RN, NE-BC
Indianapolis, IN



Janis currently reside in the Indianapolis, IN area where she worked in the Clinical Information Systems Department at Indiana University Health. She was with this organization for 27 years in a variety of operational and informatics roles. Janis was responsible for project governance, project management, clinical project implementation, clinical system education, and a clinical helpdesk. Additionally, Janis was involved in many other nursing related clinical implementation projects. Janis completed her DNP in Healthcare Leadership with Chamberlain University. She is also certified as a nurse executive.  

Janis’s favorite jobs were as a clinical information systems liaison, where she initiated informatics program at a new facility. She and her team brought up 82 applications on the same day! Another favorite was serving as the Magnet Program Director for that same facility 10 years later. Both were wonderful experiences.


President-Elect
Bonnie Norris, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS
Rochester, MN



Bonnie has loved every job in nursing she has ever had!  Bonnie has worked in medical, cardiac, and intensive care areas, in addition to chronic condition management.  When she took a role in quality, she discovered that nursing informatics was a fabulous alignment with quality and obtained a post-masters nursing informatics certification.   She treasures her certification as a certified informatics nurse from ANCC.

Bonnie currently works as a Quality Informatics Analyst and supports the MIPS Quality Reporting & ACO Quality Reporting for her organization.  Her professional interests include EHR workflow alignment to capture needed data elements for quality reporting and clinical decision support inputs, data accuracy and governance, performance improvement, and demonstrating quality and clinical decision support outcomes.



Treasurer
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Ernie Banlasan, MBA, RN
Chicago, IL




Ernie is a nurse informaticist with over 15 years experience in clinical informatics. He has been involved in Health Information systems implementation, project management, team work building and collaboration. He specializes in SaaS (software as a service), consulting in product design, analysis and delivery. He graduated with high honors at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

He is currently a Performance Improvement Coordinator for Quality Improvement. He was involved in developing programs related to Inpatient Core Measures, Value Based Purchasing, Advance Practice Nurses, Nurse Resident programs and Nursing Quality Indicators for Magnet. He was part of the Center for Advancing Practice Provider Practices (CAP2) team that was a recipient of Innovation Award at Chicago Health Executives Forum (CHEF) in 2014.

Ernie has one goal in mind, utilizing data and systems to improving quality of care and saving patient lives as the end result.

Secretary
Wendy Wittwer, MS, RN
Madison WI

Wendy is an experienced and passionate Nursing Informatics Specialist at UW Health in Madison, WI.  In 2000, after 13 years as a medical/surgical nurse, Wendy realized the role technology started playing in health care and ventured into nursing informatics when she became project manager for the first medication barcode scanning system in the nation.  Since then, she has held various NI roles and grown her innovative spirit and change management expertise by leading several successful system-wide projects, committees, and improvement initiatives. 

Wendy is excited to be on the ANIA - Midwest Region board in her role as Secretary where her focus will be to identify opportunities to promote the specialty of Nursing Informatics while continuing to grow her own nursing informatics and leadership skill set, knowledge base, and professional network by serving a nursing community she feels strongly connected to.

Webmaster
Mary Brown, MSN, RN-BC
Indianapolis IN

Mary has been a nurse since 1997 and recently celebrated 23 years with IU Health.  Her background includes medical surgical and critical care nursing, virtual ICU, and clinical informatics.  Currently, Mary serves as team lead for the IU Health Adult Academic Health Center, comprised of Methodist and University hospitals and support the radiology department, vascular access team, and hemodialysis in both facilities. Her role includes workflow development and optimization, training for providers and nurses, and support for system implementations and go-lives.

Highlights from Mary's career include working on a universal bed unit, where she started as a medical surgical nurse and grew to critical care and permanent charge nurse. In 2005, she worked on a team to open our virtual ICU (ePartners) which served from 2005-2013 to provide RN and intensivist monitoring and support for critical care and progressive care patients in 5 IU Health facilities.  It was in ePartners that she found love for workflows and data, as her organization transitioned with Cerner to develop their virtual ICU platform and implement the APACHE acuity system.  She joined clinical informatics in 2014, serving as a clinical informatics coordinator supporting inpatient nursing units, implementation of new Cerner functionality, and governance for EMR requests and enhancements.  During the COVID-19 pandemic she has served many different roles, including virtual COVID-19 screening, COVID-19 infusion clinic set-up, and surge planning.

Member at Large

Mari Akre, PhD, NEA-BC, CPHIMS
Minneapolis, MN



Mari has served in several senior leader practice and operations roles. Currently, she is the Sr. Population Health Strategy Executive consultation for care delivery and practice redesign and innovation, a new division within Cerner Corporation. She brings deep bench strength across clinical and operational nursing and informatics. Mari seeks to adeptly weave together LEAN process improvement methods, data analytics, evidence-based practice content and clinical workflows with smart health information technologies, to support cross functional teams to produce results that improve operation and clinician efficiency, enhance clinical quality and nurse-sensitive outcomes, and strengthen patient safety. 

Among her strategic operations accomplishments, she has led redesign efforts for clinical delivery of care management and utilization management in two health systems, and implementation of nursing clinical informatics teams in several integrated health systems. She has been integral in the practice transformation that arises from implementing health information technologies, clinical decision support solutions and revenue cycle information solutions, placing clinicians and patients at the center of the knowledge-based design solutions. 

Mari is Board certified through the American College of Nursing as a Nursing Executive-Advanced, NEA-BC and HIMSS International as a Certified Professional Health Information and Management Services, CPHIMS. She received her nursing baccalaureate from Viterbo University, Masters in Child and Family Development, University of WI-Madison, Masters in Nursing, Pediatrics and Research emphasis, University of WI-Madison, Doctorate in Child and Family Development, Dept of Human Ecology, University of WI-Madison, Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Nursing Informatics, University of WI-Milwaukee, College of Nursing. Mari is active with the Nursing Big Data Consortium, University of MN, College of Nursing, serving on the Knowledge Information Modeling and Nursing Care Coordination working groups. "Joining ANIA Midwest Chapter as a member, I hope to bring greater visibility to the important integrator role of nursing informatics as a vital resource on the clinical practice and operations teams powering innovative change and care improvements."

Member at Large
Bre Loughlin, MS, RN
Madison, WI

Bre brings 22 years of expertise in healthcare,  focusing on simplifying the complex and creating a revolution in transforming technology to elevate nursing practice. As a nurse executive at Epic, she launched 5 products over 8 years with a focus on nursing innovation, mobile solutions, and behavioral health.

Her final project at Epic was in collaboration with the Executive Director of the Washington State Healthcare Authority in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Underserved populations needed telehealth immediately. The approach was like nothing Epic had done in the past - faster, lighter, focused. 

In March 2020 she met the Executive Director for Porchlight. There was another problem that could be solved through nursing and technology. With 2 donated laptops and a Mi-Fi at the Madison Porchlight shelter she was able to connect nurse volunteers to conduct COVID-19 screening. 

 Starting the company Nurse Disrupted, LLC with her partner Tracy Zvenyach was a natural next step for Bre. The Virtual Volunteer program continues to extend COVID-19 screening to shelters across Wisconsin. It also provides practicum experience for nurses finishing post-graduate degrees. Mixing compassion, technology, creativity, nursing, and vision in order to focus on light, fast, solution-based technologies addressing healthcare needs. 

Member at Large
Connie O'Rourke MSN, RN-BC
Rockford, IL

Connie is a Registered Nurse with 34 years of experience in health care.  She has an 11 years of bedside nursing experience ranging from adult medical to women and infant service lines.  She began my career in clinical informatics in 1997 where she  held roles as clinical application analyst, trainer, and project manager and been involved in several hospital and ambulatory clinical information system implementations.  She has held volunteer Board positions at HIMSS Greater Illinois Chapter for 2 years serving as Education Member-at-Large and Education Director.  Currently she holds a position as Clinical Informatics Nurse at SwedishAmerican a Division of UW Health in Rockford, Illinois.

Connie's education began with a bachelor’s degree in Biology (BS) from Western Illinois University followed by a bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) from St. Louis University, School of Nursing.  I completed my Master’s degree in Nursing Informatics (MSN) from the University of Iowa, School of Nursing in May, 2012.  Currently, she is board certified in Nursing Informatics from the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) since August, 2014.

Connie's informatics skills include application build and design involving various healthcare technology software such as Epic, Cerner, McKesson, and Nextgen.  Connie is Epic Certified in ClinDoc, Orders, Clinical Informatics, and Clarity Data Module.  She has several years’ experience managing both small and large scale IT projects through the entire project management life cycle.  She also has experience evaluating and translating information technology solutions to meet complex clinical workflow processes and have created and developed meaningful reports for the analysis of healthcare outcomes. 

Connie states "I look forward to contributing to ANIA Midwest Chapter’s goals and objectives in the upcoming year."

 

Member at Large
Mary Slusser
Davenport, IA

Bio forthcoming

Member At Large
Lisa Wilkinson MS, RN-BC
Duluth, MN



Lisa began her career as ambulatory care nurse at Essentia Health nineteen years ago. She has held many roles: ambulatory staff nurse, anticoagulation nurse, clinic triage nurse, support analyst in information services and currently nurse informaticist. Essentia Health is based out of Duluth Minnesota. The system consists of seventeen hospitals and sixty-seven clinics across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho.

Lisa’s education began at University of Wisconsin -Eau Claire in biology and chemistry with a return in adulthood to obtain her BSN. She continued on to a Masters in Nursing Leadership from Walden University and Certificate in Nursing Informatics from Canyon College. Currently holds board certification in nursing informatics.

In her nurse informaticist role she has been involved in training, support, workflow development and optimization. Lisa believes the nurse informaticist plays a key role at the center of creating and supporting a robust electronic health record to enhance patient and family centered care throughout the care continuum. Her main object in her role as a leader and nurse informaticist is to use her skills, knowledge and experience together to create the preferred future of nursing by promoting the health and wellness of the entire.

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