Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder has been selected to Modern Healthcare’s annual ranking of the nation’s 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare, published in the magazine’s Aug. 27 edition. Van Gorder is the only San Diego health care professional on this year’s list and his No. 21 listing is the highest ranking achieved by any of the five San Diegans who have made the list since its inception in 2002.
Specifically, Van Gorder was lauded for “engineering a $150 million turnaround” at Scripps Health and “recruiting some of the top names in clinical care to begin building a nationally known genomics and translational science program.” The magazine also cited Scripps as “an active leader in state and national disaster-preparedness initiatives.”
Distributed nationally, Modern Healthcare is one of the nation’s largest health care trade publications. Modern Healthcare invited readers to nominate candidates for the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare list via the magazine’s Web site, modernhealthcare.com. Readers submitted more than 12,600 nominations, and Modern Healthcarethen placed the 300 people who received the most nominations on a final ballot, also placed on its Web site. A full listing of this year’s selections can now be viewed at modernhealthcare.com
As president and CEO of Scripps Health since 2000, Mr. Van Gorder has led the not-for-profit health system through a remarkable financial and cultural turnaround, and in the process repositioned Scripps among the nation’s leading health care institutions. During the next 10 years, Scripps plans to invest more than $2.2 billion in hospital improvements to meet the region’s growing health care needs.
In March 2006, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Van Gorder to the California Commission on Emergency Medical Services. In January 2007, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reappointed Van Gorder to the U.S. Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). He currently serves on the board of directors of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and is a member of the American Hospital Association’s regional policy board (region 9). Under Van Gorder’s leadership, Scripps Health is now working with the State of California’s Emergency Medical Services Authority to develop the internal operations structure for the state’s newly purchased mobile field hospitals, to be used in the event of mass casualties from natural disasters or terrorist events.
In addition to his duties with Scripps, Van Gorder serves the public as a reserve commander in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Search & Rescue Unit and as a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT). His volunteer work was honored in 2006 with the Maltese Cross Award: Spirit of Courage by the San Diego County Fire Chiefs and again in 2007 with the MedAssets Outstanding Humanitarian Award.
Van Gorder received his master’s degree in public administration/health services administration at the University of Southern California, completed the Wharton System CEO Program at the University of Pennsylvania and earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles. Board certified in health care management and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Van Gorder serves as ACHE governor for District 5, encompassing the 12 Western states.
Additionally, Van Gorder is a clinical professor in health administration at the University of Southern California, where he also serves on the health care administration advisory board of the university’s school of policy, planning and development.
Van Gorder was part of medical history following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when then-U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D., asked a Scripps medical unit to staff a temporary clinic for hurricane victims in the Houston Convention Center. The request for Scripps’ assistance marked the first time the federal government asked a private health care organization for long-term support for a nationally organized disaster relief plan.