Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder, FACHE, has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the B’nai B’rith National Healthcare Award.
Established 27 years ago, the award recognizes the outstanding work of individuals and organizations that set the standards for health and education initiatives that improve people’s lives. Van Gorder was selected for his track record of leadership and exemplary civic involvement in the fields of health care, education, community service and disaster response.
Since becoming president and CEO of Scripps in 1999, Van Gorder has orchestrated an annual operational turnaround of $125 million. This turnabout has enabled Scripps to make significant investments in its medical technology and facilities and has set the stage for a $2 billion expansion plan. Under Van Gorder’s leadership, Scripps has also branched into leading-edge research areas such as genomics, translational science and wireless medicine.
In addition to his duties with Scripps, Van Gorder currently serves as chair-elect of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is a reserve commander in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, in command of the Search and Rescue Unit. Van Gorder also serves on the California Commission on Emergency Medical Services and the U.S. Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Additionally, he is a clinical professor in health administration at the University of Southern California and volunteers as a first aid and CPR instructor for the Red Cross.
Van Gorder helped create the Scripps Medical Response Team (SMRT) as a “lifeboat” model for delivering care to those in need during disasters. Following Hurricane Katrina, federal officials asked Scripps to deploy SMRT to Houston, Texas, where the team provided free medical services to approximately 5,000 evacuated patients. The San Diego Fire Department asked Scripps to deploy SMRT to help residents affected by the San Diego wildfires of 2007, and Scripps remains ready to deploy SMRT as future community needs arise.
Van Gorder and his executive team were selected as America’s “Top Leadership Team in Health Care” for large health systems by HealthLeaders magazine in 2008. And Van Gorder was named among the nation’s “100 Most Powerful in Health Care” by Modern Healthcare magazine in 2007 and 2008. Scripps’ workforce is also a nationally recognized, having been named to Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America in 2008 and 2009.
Under Van Gorder, Scripps Health has invested in a wide range of community benefit programs in San Diego County and abroad. In fiscal year 2008, Scripps devoted $287.7 million in uncompensated care and in health and education programs to benefit the underserved, homeless, seniors and children.
B’nai B’rith International is the most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization. Since 1843, it has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for those throughout the country and around the globe through programs that promote its commitment to youth, health education, senior housing, community service, public action and disaster relief.