Hospitals don't serve just their patients. They also serve their communities.

That’s why many hospital leaders are making committed efforts to have their leadership teams reflect the diversity of the populations they serve.

In our cover story starting on Page 8, writer Lola Butcher describes how Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and CHRISTUS Health in Irving, Texas, have brought leaders with diverse backgrounds into the executive pipeline.

CHRISTUS, for example, spent years building diversity into its leadership development program. Now, Lisa Turner of CHRISTUS can say that “diverse representation just naturally happens. Everybody has that priority top of mind.”

In the end, increased diversity in the leadership team can help hospitals understand and address disparities in care within their underserved and vulnerable communities.

One significant aim of population health programs and community partnerships is to tackle disparities of care.

ProMedica, whose story is told by Ian Morrison starting on Page 14, provides an example of how hospitals can address the social determinants of health to improve health outcomes. In particular, Morrison describes the Toledo, Ohio-based system’s food pharmacy initiative, which brings healthy eating options to many who wouldn’t otherwise have them.

“The more we kept peeling back the layers, the more we found that the problem was hunger and food insecurity,” ProMedica CEO Randy Oostra says.

And if you're looking for practical population health tools, this month’s Memo From the Committee on Governance, on Page 4, tells you how to find resources from the AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust that help hospital leaders build community partnerships.

Other stories in this issue of Trustee discuss advances in genomic medicine and the HRET Hospital Improvement Innovation Network’s program to enhance quality through collaboration — both of which point the way to better health.