Officials at 737-bed St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit will strive for more diversity on their board after eight trustees resigned in less than three months over race-tinged executive appointment disputes.
Most recently, acting Chairman Philip Pierce and Shirley Stancato resigned--two of the four African-Americans on the 22-seat board.
They left on July 20, two days after the board chose Robert DiLoreto, M.D., as its new chairman over Pierce. DiLoreto, a urologist who is president of the St. John medical staff, is white.
St. John spokesman Greg Jakub said DiLoreto's appointment was intended to strengthen ties between the hospital administration and its 1,100 physicians. He said Pierce left to devote more time to his growing business consulting firm.
Neither Pierce nor Stancato returned calls seeking comment.
A white trustee resigned after the board's appointment last April of acting hospital President William Leaver as permanent president (May 22, p. 25). Leaver, who is white, was selected over Tony Jones, an African-American who was recommended by the hospital's search committee. Jones was chief operating officer of 558-bed St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Leaver's appointment was overturned by the board of the hospital's parent,
St. John Health System. The parent board ruled that the hospital board violated its own bylaws by ignoring the search committee's recommendation
Jones became the hospital's president in June.
Five more white trustees left over the system board's intervention.
That so few minorities serve on the St. John board is a sore point in Detroit, where three-quarters of the population is black. Last year the St. John system board responded to pressure from community groups by pledging to appoint more minority trustees and managers.
Jones said minorities would be included among the new trustees, but he declined to be specific. "We have the goal of achieving diversity," he said.