San Diego– Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder, FACHE received the 2008 Distinguished Citizen Award for his leadership and commitment to the community he serves from San Diego—Imperial Council’s Learning for Life and Exploring Division, an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America.
The award, which was presented Nov. 19 at the 2008 Distinguished Citizen’s Dinner at the San Diego Automotive Museum, recognizes a dynamic individual who sets a positive example for others and demonstrates selfless concern and care for their communities.
Van Gorder, a former police officer, is a trained emergency medial technician (EMT) who volunteers his time and skills as a reserve commander with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Unit. In 2007, he volunteered more than 1,000 hours to search and rescue efforts in San Diego County. He also assists the search and rescue team with training new volunteers. In addition, as an instructor for the Red Cross, he certifies Scripps employees in CPR, first aid and emergency response.
Van Gorder has been president and CEO of Scripps since 2001. In 2005, he formed the Scripps Medical Response Team (SMRT) and led 70 Scripps physicians, nurses and support staff to Houston at the request of the U.S. Public Health Service to provide medical aid to displaced survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Under Van Gorder’s leadership, SMRT was also deployed in 2007 to provide basic medical care to residents affected by wildfires in the San Diego community of Rancho Bernardo. He also has established a Scripps office of disaster preparedness to commit the organization to sustained emergency planning. He began his career as a police officer in Los Angeles County.
Learning for Life is an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America. Their mission is to enable young people to become responsible individuals by teaching positive character traits, career development, leadership and life skills, so they can make ethical choices and achieve their full potential.