Virtua’s new employee group kickstarts Veterans Day celebrations

Jessica Perry//November 14, 2022

Virtua’s new employee group kickstarts Veterans Day celebrations

Jessica Perry//November 14, 2022

Inaugural members of Virtua Health's WE Serve colleague community, including S. Jeanette Conrad-Mckee (with red hair, gray-blue cardigan over white top), a nursing director and chair of the group.
Inaugural members of Virtua Health’s WE Serve colleague community, including S. Jeanette Conrad-Mckee (first row, third from right with red hair, and gray-blue cardigan over white top), a nursing director and chair of the group. – VIRTUA HEALTH


To recognize Veterans Day last week, Virtua Health launched a new resource group for employees who are military veterans or reservists.

WE Serve, announced Nov. 10, is a colleague “affinity group” focused on the needs and issues of present and former members of the armed forces.

In one of its inaugural acts, the group organized free meals Nov. 11, for Veterans Day, across Virtua’s five hospital cafeterias – in Camden, Marlton, Mount Holly, Voorhees and Willinboro – for any veteran or active-duty military member from the community or on staff, in addition to a moment of silence across all the campuses.

According to the South Jersey-based health care system, WE Serve is just one of several “colleague communities” it hosts, which serve to build relationships and organize events and community-service opportunities. In particular, the new group aims to help the local military community, as well.

Here to Serve

In 2021, Virtua launched this new service, dedicated to coordinating care for veterans and active military members.

With its Virtua Mount Holly Hospital location in close proximity to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the effort includes a dedicated health navigator to coordinate care.

“We want those who serve our nation to concentrate on getting and staying well,” said Dr. Reg Blaber, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Virtua Health. “Our process is simple: call us and we’ll handle the details.”

Read more about Here to Serve here.

“In addition to looking within, our aim is for WE Serve to be a bridge to military families in the region. We want them to know that Virtua is here for their health care needs,” said John Kirby, president of Virtua Mount Holly and Virtua Willingboro hospitals, in a statement.

Kirby also serves as the executive ambassador of the new colleague community.

One of WE Serve’s first projects has to do with record keeping; specifically, making patients’ military service more prominent in the provider’s digital record system to help to foster closer relationships with medical providers.

“This initiative gives colleagues in certain patient-facing roles a way to recognize and thank those who are veterans or active military. It is a small way to demonstrate respect, but it will go a long way,” said Virtua Health nursing director S. Jeanette Conrad-Mckee. Conrad-Mckee will chair the WE Serve group for its first two years. Before her career as a nurse, she enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard and completed training to become a field medic.

Other recent activities by the group include placing flowers and flags on veterans’ graves at Lakeview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson as part of the national Flag and Flower Challenge.

Community collaborations

The capitalization of  WE in the system’s latest group references the systems “Culture of WE,” guiding principles – centered on inclusive teamwork, purposeful leadership and caring with accountability – that were established by Virtua after its acquisition of Lourdes Health System in 2019, the provider said.

In addition to WE Serve, Virtua’s colleague-led communities also include: Women at Virtua, Black and African American Colleague Community, OUT at Virtua (for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies) and VirtuAsia (for colleagues who are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders).

Two more groups are also under development, Virtua said: a group geared toward team members under the age of 30 and another for Latinx colleagues.

“At Virtua Health, we believe our culture unites us in being the community’s trusted choice for health care and wellness,” said Rhonda Jordan, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, in a prepared statement. “Therefore, it’s critical that each member of our team knows they belong and that they add value.”