Public Health and Hospital Type Audiences

Suggested Introduction for a more “operational” flavored audience from hospital or public health.

Rev. Dr Gary Gunderson is Vice President for FaithHealth at Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center which includes spiritual care, Clinical Pastoral Education and counseling centers in 37 locations across North Carolina. The work is best known for its highly innovative “ground game” focused on training and deploying varieties of roles into the most vulnerable communities across the state. The Division is developing clinically relevant partnerships with hundreds, indeed, thousands, of faith groups through FaithHealthNC especially focused on building webs of trust with the undocumented, stigmatized and left behind. Population health for the 21st century.

Gary is known for more than two decades of creative work in the field of faith and public health initially at The Carter Center and Emory School of Public Health and then in Memphis, Tennessee where the ideas found ground through more than 600 congregational partners showing hard evidence of significant improved outcomes including mortality, cost and dramatically lower hospitalization. The work has been cited by JAMA, AHRQ, AHA, IHI, WHO, IOM the White House, HHS and numerous industry venues.

This model is now being adapted to the very different operational demands of an 850 bed academic medical center with a large referral area demanding complex partnerships. FaithHealthNC is working closely with the NC Hospital Association and regional foundations to spread the model across the state. He is secretary of Stakeholder Health, a learning group of more than 40 healthcare systems convened in working collaboration with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services. He represents Stakeholder Health on the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement of the National Academies of Science.

As Vice President Gunderson is deeply involved in the challenges facing 17,000 employees, faculty and operational managers adapt to the profound and jarring changes in healthcare today including his own institution.

Gunderson is Professor of Public Health Science in the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Professor of the Health of the Public in the School of Divinity. He is visiting faculty at the University of Cape Town Division of Family Medicine and Public Health where he was one of the founders of the International Religious Health Assets Program.

Gary has authored five books including the most recent, Speak Life: Crafting Mercy in a Hard-hearted time.”  Deeply Woven Roots, by Fortress Press is widely used in seminaries since its publication in 1997. “Religion and the Health of the Public” with Dr. James Cochrance by Palgrave/McMillian lays the academic base underneath much of the work.. Leading Causes of Life by Abingdon Press launched a global network of Fellows working on its seminal ideas. Boundary Leaders, also by Fortress, explores the life and work of those working in community and public health improvement and was the basis for a multi-year initiative with the Centers for Disease Control training teams of such leaders nationally.

Gary is an ordained American Baptist minister with degrees from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Doctor of Ministry at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta as well as an honorary doctorate from the Chicago Theological Seminary. He is married to Dr. Teresa Cutts, also faculty at Wake Forest School of Medicine with four daughters between them: Lauren, Kathryn, Tess and Maya.

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