Michelle Charles honored with Douglas J. Leonard Indiana Caregiver of the Year Award by Indiana Hospital Association

FORT WAYNE, IND. – SEPT. 9, 2021 – Michelle Charles, vice president, nursing informatics, Parkview Health, was awarded the Douglas J. Leonard Indiana Caregiver of the Year Award by the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) today at its 2021 Annual Meeting, which was held virtually.


The Douglas J. Leonard Indiana Caregiver of the Year Award recognizes individuals in the health care industry whose performance in the delivery of care is considered exemplary by patients and peers.


Charles leads the COVID-19 Vaccine Project Team, an interdisciplinary team with members from more than 20 departments across Parkview Health, which was formed in November 2020. In less than one month, Charles and her team opened the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation, which was the largest mass vaccination clinic in the region and third largest in the state.


Under Charles’ leadership, the team leveraged a combination of Lean methods, simulation and modeling to create a seamless vaccination process, with no lines or bottlenecks, to reach their goal of delivering more than 1,000 vaccinations per day. The standard work documents and digital simulation model that resulted from this project were shared broadly to facilitate the launch of vaccine clinics throughout Indiana, including the mass vaccination clinic hosted by the Allen County Department of Health. Because of this innovative work, Parkview’s vaccine clinic team was honored with a Business Weekly Innovation Award in June.


As a woman of color, Charles also demonstrated a vision for and commitment to making COVID-19 vaccines accessible to minority communities. She led the implementation of pop-up clinics throughout the area, bringing vaccines directly to underserved populations in multiple community centers and places of worship.


“I’ve been a nurse for more than 30 years, and my passion is to serve, to take care of people,” Charles said. “This recognition means a lot to me, but I will tell you it is the world-class teamwork of Parkview Health that made it all possible. Our purpose is to serve our community, and we will continue making vaccines available to help end the pandemic.”


“You can see the passion with Michelle, the excitement just vibrates from her, and she will never give you anything less than 100 percent,” said Juli Johnson, chief nursing executive, Parkview Health. “What she was tasked with doing was monumental, and I never heard anything but positive comments from the community. They were so grateful for our clinics, and that was all due to Michelle and her team’s work.”


“IHA is extremely proud to honor Michelle Charles,” said Brian Tabor, IHA president. “Her contributions are vital to Parkview Health and to advancing health care in the Hoosier state. This year has been one of the most difficult as we’ve learned to navigate through a global pandemic. COVID-19 affected everyone in health care, from frontline workers to administrative staff, to our patients and their families. I commend her efforts over not only the past year, but throughout her entire career in health care.”


The IHA serves as the professional trade association for more than 170 acute care, critical access, behavioral health, and other specialty hospitals in Indiana.



The Indiana Hospital Association serves as the professional trade association for more than 170 acute care, critical access, behavioral health, and other specialized hospitals in Indiana. IHA advocates on behalf of its members in Indiana’s General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, and with multiple regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels. Dedicated to improving quality, patient safety, and Hoosiers’ health status, IHA holds numerous grants and facilitates collaboration among hospitals to improve outcomes. IHA also provides members with the data analytics that they need to ensure access to quality, cost-effective health care services across the state of Indiana. To learn more about IHA, visit IHAconnect.org.