We are DHIT.
A 501(c)(3) non-profit education and research institute supporting communities through the process of digital health transformation. We collaborate with leading academic institutions, associations, and industry to cultivate talent and ecosystems with our immersive learning platform, harnessing real-world experiences that drive the adoption of next generation skills, capabilities and mindsets needed to foster the digital health leaders and innovators of the future, today.
Michael is a passionate healthcare executive turned digital health evangelist and entrepreneur. In addition to co-founding DHIT, Michael has served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Center for Health Innovation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has designed and developed their Digital Health Program in support of UNC’s Digital Transformation strategy. Prior to Bluedoor and UNC, Michael was Co-founder and COO of Digital Therapy, a cognitive computing platform powered by IBM Watson in the behavioral health space. His previous leadership roles include Vice Chair of Administration for the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Health System, engineering a $15 million turnaround within his first year; and Director of Clinical Operations for UNC Health Care’s specialty ambulatory clinics where continued growth and expansion were achieved. Michael also held several leadership roles at UCLA Health within various clinical departments. He has a BSc in Neuroscience from Tulane University in New Orleans and an MBA from Elon University in North Carolina.
Michael Ruhlen, MD, MHCM, FAAP
Dr. Michael Ruhlen serves as the vice president of the division of medical education at Atrium Health and as director of Charlotte Area Health Education Center. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and holds a Master of Science in Health Care Management from the Harvard School of Public Health. He trained in general pediatrics at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. In his previous roles at ProMedica in Toledo, Ohio, he served as vice president of medical affairs at Toledo Children’s Hospital and corporate vice president of medical informatics and was appointed president in 2008, just prior to relocating to Atrium Health (then Carolinas Health System). Ruhlen has exercised national leadership positions in the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society of Hospital Medicine, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant, and the Accreditation Review Committee of the ACCME.
Cindy Hallberlin is a seasoned senior executive with extensive experience in Board governance for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. She began her career as National Program Manager for the award-winning REDRESS employment mediation program at the US Postal Service. Her career continued as an employment attorney at Sidley Austin LLP before becoming Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at US Foods following a billion-dollar fraud. She then entered the non-profit world becoming the CEO of Good 360, the Chief Operating Officer of the American Diabetes Association, and the COO of Easterseals. Cindy serves as Board Chair of Move This World (social and emotional learning) and the Asylum Seekers Assistance Project. She also serves on the board of Unlocking Potential (promoting leadership for community problems) and the advisory board of Bluedoor Group. Previously she has served as the Board Chair and a board member of Dance Place as well as on the boards of InterAction and the Institute for Conflict Transformation.
Ian Chuang, MD, MS, CCFP
Dr. Chuang is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Elsevier, an information analytics business within the UK-based, FTSE-listed RELX group, covering APAC & EMEALA. Dr. Chuang’s focus at Elsevier is collaborating with healthcare leaders to improve Healthcare Information Technology (HCIT) adoption, especially as it relates to clinical decision support, and improving health system decisions and processes of care to improve outcomes.
Dr. Chuang has long been committed to moving the healthcare model from an analog model based on paper processes, to a true digital model where information technology supports a redesigned model of care. His experience spans the entire care continuum, including applied healthcare informatics, controlled medical terminology, knowledge representation, clinical decision support (CDS) and analytics. Prior to joining Elsevier, he was in clinical leadership roles at Medecision, Cigna and Cerner, covering both strategic-level management of healthcare systems and hands-on implementation of process optimization at the point-of-care. His insights cover the full spectrum of delivering knowledge-driven care, whether it is capturing and structuring data, analytics and predictive modeling, or CDS functionalities intersecting with clinical workflow.
Dr. Chuang holds a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in administrative medicine from University of Wisconsin. He holds an adjunct assistant professor position in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the University of Missouri.
A former healthcare executive at the University of Miami Health System and Miller School of Medicine, Melnyck is the founder of personal development blog, Prime Your Pump.com, where he has written hundreds of articles in the self-improvement arena. The blog covers a wide breadth of topics and discusses them in entertaining ways that can easily be made actionable to improve people’s lives.
At UHealth, he served as both chief administrator for the health system as Assistant Vice President for Medical Affairs and directed the system’s process improvement and project management office as Executive Director of Process Improvement.
Rick is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and the co-author of A Guide to Six Sigma and Process Improvement for Practitioners and Students published in 2015 by Pearson Financial Times Press. He has taught process improvement in both the School of Business and the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. Rick has consulted on quality, productivity, and related matters with many organizations. A native of Ontario, Canada, he received his MS in Management Science (2008), MBA (2002), and MS in Computer Information Systems (2002) from the University of Miami.
Tony is a legislative affairs and public policy expert with over 20 years of experience representing state agencies, non-profit and for-profit organizations at the NC General Assembly and previously at the Executive Branch and regulatory agencies. Tony served for eight years as Director of Government Relations and Senior Policy Adviser to State Treasurer Janet Cowell, and nine years as Director of Government Relations and Senior Policy Adviser to North Carolina’s Smart Start program. In 2012, Tony was listed as being one of the most influential lobbyists by the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. Tony’s areas of expertise include digital and public health policy, public pension funds, public sector investing, public debt issuance and management, and economic development. Tony has extensive grassroots lobbying experience and has worked in over a dozen states managing grassroots advocacy campaigns and fostering collaboration on a variety of policy issues. Tony is a graduate of Rutgers University and holds both a Masters degree and PhD in political science from Duke University. Tony teaches courses in public policy, American political thought, American government, and legislative policy and process at NC State University. Tony was a Robert R. Wilson Fellow at Duke University and the winner of the 2012 “Spirit of Inquiry” award from the Art Pope Center.
Connie Mester, MPH
As a former educator transformed into a health innovator through previous roles as start-up founder, strategic leader, business consultant, marketing executive and behavioral scientist, Connie takes pride in blending personal empathy, business intelligence, diverse insights, and creative strategies to influence change and accelerate purposeful innovation. Through an eclectic career spanning organizations large and small, global and local, publicly traded and non-profit, she has led global teams with budgets that total in the multi-millions and partnered with cross-functional leaders delivering a track record of success launching new companies, products and brands and building effective interventions to drive behavior change.
Keith is passionate about marketing strategy. He sees opportunities where most see problems and is constantly advocating for customer experience while collecting valuable data along the way. His love of customers, brands, data and marketing began in college – receiving his degree in Marketing from SMU in Dallas, TX; Keith went on to work with higher education brands the University of South Carolina and Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business; cutting his teeth on database and loyalty marketing at Delta Air Lines; working to manage new product development, relationship marketing and innovation at Turner; growing share of Interface’s modular carpet business in key priority segments of corporate, education, healthcare, and multifamily; and now shifting his career to digital health products and services that will lead to empowering patients and providers with better data leading to better health outcomes.
Tracy is an experienced entrepreneur, business owner, manager, and practitioner with a demonstrated history of leadership in the education and health care industries. He has a strong history of using data and technology with stakeholder collaboration to improve education and healthcare programs. Tracy is excited about the intersection of healthcare and technology to improve health outcomes. Which is why he is focused on using human-centered design and data to help providers make better decisions. His current focus and interests are to apply innovative solutions to healthcare by collaborating with stakeholders, and building and managing high-quality programs.
Amy Rutkowske Coon
Amy is a healthcare leadership, operations, delivery, and access fanatic with 15 years hands-on expertise in the field; woman-Veteran with combat hospital command experience; Army wife; enthusiastic entrepreneur and builder of teams; local nonprofit founder connecting people in North Carolina with free healthcare; distance athlete; and patron saint of hounds!
Amy brings extensive experience in public and private sector health service delivery settings. Her background includes operational, strategic, and innovation roles at Kaiser Permanente, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, The University of Texas at Austin, and the US Army Medical Department. She is a subject matter expert in project management, including: two hospital moves, clinic moves and expansions, service line recoveries, EHR optimizations, capital updates, data analytics, and design thinking. Her portfolio includes internal consulting projects, physician contracting, Integrative Medicine, and strategic design. Willing to envision and design anything once, her professional prowess is brought to bear on special person-centered design projects like improved transitions of care, automated robotic deliveries, remote home monitoring, and other tech-enabled health solutions.
Her education includes The George Washington University Masters of Healthcare Administration, The University of Texas Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange graduate certificate, and a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill baccalaureate. In addition to having passion for healthcare, she is a Bronze Star combat veteran having conducted the historic transition of the famous Baghdad ER to the government of Iraq.
FELLOWS & INTERNS
Aayushi Patel is completing her Masters in Physiology and Biotechnology at North Carolina State University. She aspires to transform healthcare through her clinical experience as a Medical Assistant and Certified Nursing Aide. With her unique perspective working at ground level, she understands what patients need and want from their clinicians and healthcare system. She aspires to use this knowledge and her growing interests in data science to improve healthcare at large.
Teresa Phan is completing her Master’s in Information Science, specializing in User Experience/User Interface Design at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With her ability to focus on the user’s needs and journey, she is able to identify opportunities to remove friction and maximize the outcomes that technology enables. She hopes to improve the user experience of each stakeholder in the healthcare system one persona at a time.