Get to Know Helen Johnson, Regional Chief Operating Officer

We want to help you get to know our regional and E.W. Sparrow Hospital leaders better. In the next few weeks, we’ll showcase short introduction videos and responses to questions that highlight who these leaders are, where they came from, and what their priorities are as part of the regional and local structure of University of Michigan Health. And you may learn a surprising fact or two about them!

Our first profile is on Regional Chief Operating Officer Helen Johnson. See her video below.

How would you summarize your new position?
Provide strategic leadership and operational management across the Regional Health System in partnership with the Regional Health System President and Chief Medical Officer. This includes furthering the integration of our community hospitals and making demonstratable progress on facilities across the region that support the patients, caregivers and communities we encompass.

What are your top three goals for the region or the hospital?
Assisting all of our hospitals to achieve financial success. Creating a pervasive sense of hope for our future with University of Michigan Health, the possibilities of which are endless. Helping the teams see a broader vision of success beyond their own department or facility, but rather how we are contributing to the larger system viability. 

What is one thing you've learned about Sparrow and/or University of Michigan Health West that surprised you?
One thing that surprised me was the scope of the facilities at each campus. Sparrow has close to 5 million square feet of buildings and University of Michigan Health-West has about another 1.5 million square feet of buildings.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
Having the opportunity to create avenues for bidirectional learning across the system is exciting. We have some incredibly talented people who are attracted to healthcare and, coupled with their naturally giving natures, this creates a dynamic where innovation and excellence can thrive.

Where is your favorite place in Michigan to vacation?
I hate to give away my secrets on vacation places because I love them for their more solitary nature, but if I must I would say Marquette County is a go-to place and anywhere in Northwest Michigan along the lakeshore. Both of these destinations have breathtaking scenery, even in the winter.

What book or movie did you last read or watch?
I love to read and usually have about three books in progress at once. The genres are pretty wide, too, so currently I have open “The Red Prince. John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster,” “CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest” and “Where the Crawdads Sing.” So a little bit of medieval history, professional development and some escapist fiction.

Anything else, either personal or professional, that you’d like to add?
I am really looking forward to working with the facilities teams across the system. My husband is in facilities management and I am so intrigued with the way we can build or redesign an environment to support not only our patients but also our caregivers for increased safety, efficiency and engagement in our workplace.