National Magazine Names Virtua Health CEO a Top Diversity Leader
October is Global Diversity Awareness Month
October 18, 2022 - A prestigious national magazine has named Virtua Health President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, among the country’s 25 Top Diversity Leaders in Healthcare for 2022. This recognition by Modern Healthcare requires demonstrated experience implementing strategies and practices to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity (IDE).
Pullin leads the not-for-profit, Marlton, N.J.-based health system, which is South Jersey’s largest.
“It is an honor to be recognized by Modern Healthcare, a leading voice for our industry, and to be included in a list of such accomplished, dedicated individuals,” Pullin said. “Most of all, I am grateful that this program calls attention to Virtua Health’s comprehensive plan to advance IDE principles of belonging among our workforce and within the communities we serve.”
Pullin instituted Virtua’s “Culture of We,” a set of principles that guides the health system and fosters a shared sense of purpose and belonging among the 14,000-person workforce. Examples of the Culture of We in action include:
- Colleague Communities: Virtua offers six employee-affinity groups based on shared backgrounds and experiences. Examples include Women of Virtua, OUT at Virtua (for LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies), and the recently launched WE Serve group for military veterans.
- Leadership Development: Virtua’s senior management team participates in training on unconscious bias, cultural understanding, and more. Individuals who work in a hiring capacity receive additional training in IDE as it pertains to recruitment and growth.
- Board of Trustees Diversification: Pullin enlisted a nationally respected IDE leader to facilitate board discussions on how its actions can mirror its intentions and values. This has resulted in board succession-planning that prioritizes matters of IDE.
Pullin also emphasizes IDE in the ways Virtua provides care to the communities it serves. Examples include:
- Pride Primary Care: In June 2022, Virtua opened a primary care practice dedicated to the health care needs of LGBTQ+ people and their families.
- Midwifery Care: In the past few years, Virtua has expanded its midwifery services with a mindset to increase health equity among women giving birth. National data reveals alarming race-based disparities in maternity experiences and outcomes.
Under Pullin, Virtua is addressing many social determinants of health directly, through programs that improve access to transportation, safe housing, and financial assistance. The community-health initiative that most sets Virtua apart is its Eat Well programs, which enhance access to healthy, affordable foods. Eat Well includes two innovative vehicles – the Mobile Grocery Store and Mobile Farmers Market – that provide nutritious, deeply discounted groceries in food-desert neighborhoods. By bringing these items directly into underserved communities, Virtua increases health literacy and improves quality-of-life.
“Any conversation about the future of health care must recognize health equity and the duty we share to give people their best chance at living long, healthy lives,” Pullin said. “Modern Healthcare’s list of Diversity Leaders helps shine a light on individuals and organizations across the nation that are actively working toward a brighter future for all.”
To learn more about Virtua Health, visit www.virtua.org or call 888-847-8823.