Robert Franko will take over as president and CEO of Valparaiso-based Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana effective Jan. 1.
Franko, presently CEO of HealthFirst Bluegrass Community Health Center in Lexington, Ky., is a native of Northwest Indiana. He had served as vice president for development and marketing for Porter-Starke Services where he worked from 1996 to 2010.
Franko replaces Leigh Morris who has served as the organization’s interim president and CEO since June. Franko is looking forward to returning to the Region.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this remarkable organization,” he said. “I’ve known about (VNA) for years, of course, but I see it as an increasingly important component of the Region’s healthcare system.”
When Franko worked in the Region prior to moving out of state, he was active in a number of community and regional organizations, serving as chairman of the board of directors of HealthLink, the Porter County National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Mental Health America of Porter County. He also served on the boards of directors of Housing Opportunities and the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club.
Franko earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from Purdue University.
Cindy Kaarianen Tougaw, chairperson of the VNA board, said Franko’s selection came after a national search.
“We had about 70 responses that were evaluated before our search committee focused on Mr. Franko,” she said. “His extensive experience in healthcare, his record of community engagement and his experience as a CEO were important criteria that he met. The fact that he is a native of our area and knows the territory was a definite plus factor.”
Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana is a provider of aging, palliative, hospice and grief support services to the Region.
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