All studies show that women fill three out of every four positions in health care. Except at the top.
Deb Visconi, the CEO of Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, is one of only a handful of women in that role in the state. Bergen New Bridge has another distinction, too. The chair of its board of trustees also is a woman, as Julie Orlando was the first woman to be elected to the position earlier this year.
The distinction is not lost on Visconi, who said she is doing all she can to promote more diversity and minority candidates.
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“Since I assumed this role, it’s really been about equity and inclusion and diversity amongst my senior team and giving women opportunities, giving people of color opportunities where they may not have had before,” she said.
Visconi isn’t shy about the why, either.
“I think having a female CEO, but now (also) a female board chair, gives us a unique perspective into the communities that we serve and into our employees,” she said.
“In addition to having skill and talent and ability, it’s the compassion that we bring to the table and that high level of emotional intelligence, which really sets us apart as leaders. We can all do a great job, and we all do, but I think it’s the added compassionate emotional intelligence that sets us apart and allows us to really be able to understand what our workforce needs are.”
Women who run health systems or hospitals include: Amy Mansue (Inspira Health), Audrey Meyers (Valley Health), Lori Herndon (AtlantiCare), Trish O’Keefe (Morristown), Stephanie Schwartz (Overlook), Tammy Torres (Salem Medical Center) and Paige Dworak (CareWell Health Medical Center).
Visconi said there is room for more women at the top.
“There is definitely opportunity for women to advance their careers and get to different levels,” she said. “It’s about leadership. It’s about setting the vision. There are a lot of women who can fill that role.”