University Hospital names chief strategic integration and health equity officer

University Hospital has named a chief strategic integration and health equity officer, the Newark-based medical center announced Monday.

Dr. Chris T. Pernell, who had been program leader for the 1199SEIU/League Labor Management Initiatives Workplace and Community Health Program, has been a community health initiatives leader in the greater Newark area, the hospital said in a news release.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Pernell join the University Hospital team,” Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the hospital’s CEO and president, said in a prepared statement. “With her extensive experience, she will help us meet expectations set out in our strategic plan to deliver high-quality, safe and reliable care, all while tackling the health disparities in our community. We will benefit greatly from her deep understanding of community-focused health care and advocacy as we build a culture that focuses on quality and equity.”

Pernell has focused on health justice, community advocacy and total population health throughout her career. At 1199SEIU’s program, she oversaw implementation of a population health strategy that aimed to improve the well-being of health care workers in the workplace and communities where they live.

“I am honored to join University Hospital and to help lead this institution toward fulfilling its mission of serving the greater Newark area through a community-focused approach to health care,” she said in a statement. “As the state’s only public hospital and the largest provider of health care for uninsured people, the hospital is critically important to the patients it serves. I am excited to build upon the innovative community-based programs that have been implemented in recent months, while working to improve access to much-needed care and exploring even more ways the hospital can better serve our community.”