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Adventist Midwest Health recognizes leader who embraces change

Summary and photo caption: Chicago resident Vinnie Garufi, right, organization development director for Adventist Midwest Health, received a pillar award in January for his commitment and dedication. He is pictured with Don Russell, regional vice president of human resources for Adventist Midwest Health.

Bolingbrook – As organization development director for Adventist Midwest Health, Vinnie Garufi is responsible for helping administrators continue to enhance the company’s culture so patient care remains the top priority. He describes his job in a much simpler way:


“People are resistant to change,” said the 34-year-old Chicago resident. “I help make it happen.”


When Garufi was hired in 2008, Adventist Midwest Health had just opened its fourth hospital in the Chicago suburbs: Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. The organization also operates a network of outpatient sites and employs nearly 4,800 people. Garufi believes enhancing the corporate culture means that employees must get on board with change that will positively impact the organization.


“We are committed to implementing evidence-based best practices for our patients to make sure they get the best care every time they come through our doors,” Garufi said. “To be successful, we need all of our leaders and front-line employees on board.”


He also knows that it is part of human nature to resist change. Here, he says, communication is essential.


“We take about 400 leaders off-site three times a year for Leadership Development Institutes to discuss how to engage their staffs, how to give better coaching, and how to recognize employees,” Garufi said. “When you give an employee positive feedback, you make a deposit in their emotional bank account.”


In addition to the leadership institutes, Garufi’s department holds employee forums several times a year in which staff have the opportunity to talk directly to the chief executive officer.


For his commitment and dedication, and his clear demonstration of living the mission of Adventist Midwest Health, Garufi is the recipient of the Adventist Midwest Health regional pillar award.


“Vinnie uses relationship building and humor in his work,” said Don Russell, regional vice president of human resources for Adventist Midwest Health. “He does a superb job of teaching our leadership teams how to use these tools, and other methods, in working with their staff to ensure the highest quality of patient care.”


When Garufi was appointed to the position, his first order of business was interpreting the responses from the annual employee engagement survey. He also built from scratch an organization development department within the human resources department. Garufi also leads the team that plans and implements the leadership seminars.


Dedicated and creative, Garufi can really get into the spirit of things. For the April 2009 leadership development institute, which was themed “spring training,” Garufi served as master of ceremonies dressed as the late baseball announcer and legend Harry Caray. His spray painted hair and comically oversized glasses got rave reviews. He even imitated Caray’s distinct voice.


“We try to make things fun,” Garufi said.


Garufi holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Towson University and a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Baltimore. He was director of business alignment and integration at Adventist HealthCare in Rockville, Md. for five years before coming to Adventist Midwest Health.


Garufi said he was both “thrilled and humbled” to get the award.


“I was nominated by leaders I really respect and admire,” he said. “I love working here. This is a place that is really about its people. It’s open, collaborative and authentic. You don’t find that often in large organizations.”


Garufi works out of Adventist Midwest Health’s Bolingbrook office. He and his wife, Kristen, are the proud parents of a six-month-old son, Devin.



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit


Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-312-7508