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For Release: February 09, 2006
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Nancy Formella Named Acting Hospital and DHA President
Senior Nurse Executive To Succeed Jim Varnum at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Dr. Jonathan Skinner
Nancy A. Formella, MSN, RN

HANOVER, NH - Nancy A. Formella, MSN, RN, was today named Acting President of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Alliance, replacing James W. Varnum on his retirement April 30, 2006. The selection was made Thursday morning by the trustees of the hospital and the alliance.

"We believe we have found a perfect fit with our choice of Nancy Formella," said Al Griggs, Chair of the hospital board at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). "She is a person who values the culture and the people of the medical center and who exemplifies our mission in every way." Peter Dale, MD, FACP, Chair of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Alliance (DHA), called Formella "an ideal choice, who values a philosophy of a strong network of regional care, and who has worked directly with all our members on a number of initiatives aimed at improving patient care and outcomes."

Current DHMC hospital president Jim Varnum has worked closely with Formella since she joined the medical center as Senior Nurse Executive in 1999. "Nancy has an extraordinary record of accomplishment. She is committed and conscientious, and operates with unswerving integrity and a determination to constantly improve the service we provide our patients and our region. I am delighted at the trustees' choice and her willingness to embrace the responsibilities of the hospital and alliance presidency."

Griggs and Dale pointed to Formella's success in attaining the coveted Magnet designation for nursing at DHMC. Magnet status is awarded only to hospitals who demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and the highest commitment to the continued advancement, education, and training of their nurses. "Nancy set a goal, laid out a plan, committed to a timetable, and got it done," said Dale.

In January, the trustees announced that they were suspending the search for a permanent replacement for Varnum in order to step back and examine possible opportunities for improvements in organizational operations and structure that should be dealt with before bringing in a successor to Varnum. In a January 3rd letter to physicians and staff, Board Chair Griggs called this time period "an opportunity for us to look at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Alliance with fresh eyes and to consider whether there are changes we could make at this time that would make these institutions stronger, more vibrant, and more secure."

However, the trustees were clear that in appointing an Acting President, they wanted someone who would aggressively lead the organization forward, with the full authority and backing of the board. "This is very definitely not a caretaker role," Griggs commented. "This is an individual who we are counting on to work with vision, enthusiasm, and a strong commitment to further the mission of DHMC and the DHA."

Formella was informed of the board's selection after the Executive Session took place Thursday morning. "I am energized about leading two organizations that I believe embody the very best of our community," said Formella. "Service to our patients and our neighbors, either directly through the medical center or through the regional network of care provided through the alliance, is at the core of what we do everyday."

Formella said she was particularly looking forward to working in partnership with Clinic President Tom Colacchio and Dartmouth Medical School Dean Stephen Spielberg. "The linking of our patient care and research and educational missions through a dynamic leadership collaboration is one of the strengths of DHMC," she said. "Together, the hospital, clinic, and medical school create a continuum of care that puts our patients at the center."

A resident of Hanover, where she lives with her husband and two sons, Formella received her BSN from the University of Iowa and a MSN from Marquette University, and has taken additional graduate-level courses at Marquette University and the University of Minnesota. She attended the Johnson and Johnson - Wharton Fellows Program for Nurse Executives in 1994.

She came to DHMC in January of 1999, from a national consulting firm where she was in a senior clinical consultant position for 3 years. For almost 15 years prior to that she held a variety of positions within the Mayo System, both in Rochester, Minnesota and Jacksonville, Florida. In Rochester from 1981-1988, she was a clinical nurse specialist and Director of Nursing Education and Development at St. Marys Hospital and a Clinical Director of Nursing at Rochester Methodist Hospital. In Jacksonville, at St. Luke's Hospital, she advanced from Clinical Director to Associate Administrator/Nurse Executive. She has also held positions as a clinical nurse specialist and staff nurse in Wisconsin and Iowa.

She was named the Nurse Leader of the Year by the NH Nurses Association in 2004, and in 2005 received the award for Nursing Management Excellence from the NH organization of Nursing Leaders.


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