Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder's memo to staff in wake of synagogue shooting

Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health, sent a memo to his staff discussing the April 27 attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego that killed a member of the Scripps community and left another member injured.

The April 29 memo, obtained by Becker's Hospital Review, was addressed to Scripps' 15,000 employees and 3,000 physicians. The subject was "Stopping Hate Begins With Us."

After receiving an alert on his cellphone about the shooting, Mr. Van Gorder immediately checked with his trauma leaders and learned that the victims had been taken to North San Diego-based Palomar Hospital. Soon after, he learned the shooting involved two members of the Scripps community, including Howard Kaye, MD, from the Scripps Coastal Medical Group, and his wife Lori, who was killed.

"At that minute, I admit that I felt rage — but my rage was against hatred," Mr. Van Gorder wrote. "My initial rage slowly turned to anger and then to a profound sadness; for the Kaye family and our broader Scripps family — and for our country, which is experiencing a rise in violence spawned by hatred."

Mr. Van Gorder said that while the shooting fills him with utmost sadness, he is proud of the diversity Scripps embodies, emphasizing that  it's what makes the organization stronger.

"This is Scripps. We are healthcare professionals. We accept everyone and reject hatred and negativity," he wrote. "Please join me in rejecting hatred. Let's embrace each other and our differences, as it's our differences and diversity that make us stronger. This must end, and it starts with us."

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