John DiNome is ready to start a new chapter, and there’s just no way to say he hasn’t earned it. DiNome came to American Academic Health System (AAHS), affiliated Hahnemann University Hospital, and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia as chief human resources officer and assistant general counsel in 2018 to essentially help a health system work through its absolute worst-case scenario.
It entered bankruptcy in 2019 and DiNome was tasked with helping wind down multiple organizations in a time when most of the regulatory agencies were claiming that more beds and physicians are needed, not less. The best the CHRO and attorney could do would still eventuate a negative outcome, but he would do his best to soften the blow.
In helping to pass on ownership of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to continue operating as well as help place a number of the 2,700 employees who had lost their jobs at Hahnemann University Hospital, DiNome has tried to do right by each person that he’s had to look at from across his desk. “Some people had been there six months, others had been there for thirty-five years,” DiNome remembers. “It’s a human tragedy, but in these very difficult circumstances, I think this is the only kind of ‘victory’ you can get. The team we built did our best.”
DiNome’s difficult dual role was stressed exponentially by the rapidity of the hospital shutdown. “We had ninety days to close down safely and securely,” the CHRO says. In that time, the leadership team was able to sell the children’s hospital, one he says is now able to thrive under new ownership, and close down the adult hospital with no patient harm or errors. It may seem like a hollow victory, but for a man who came to the health system at the worst possible time, it’s one that should be recognized.
As AAHS continues to work through its bankruptcy with DiNome on board, he’s also anxious to put a truly unique skill set to work. A labor and employment law expert who is also able to effortlessly transition into human resource issues, DiNome is a rare asset who is hoping his unique skill set—not to mention his willingness to tackle the most challenging of circumstances—might find a new home in the unknown.
The CHRO and attorney has spent two decades of law firm experience working with in-house counsel and human resource professionals advising them on the full spectrum of labor and employment issues. He’d even go manage labor and HR for his clients as secondments of sorts to further increase his expertise. “It gave me some in-house experience, but it also gave me a hunger to pursue it further,” DiNome remembers.
“I’m just looking for an opportunity to work with senior management on strategy for growing its organization from a people perspective.”
Eventually going in-house for DiNome was natural, and his reasons for doing so highlight a desire to go deep instead of going so broad. “The biggest thing for me was that I was really drawn to working with just one team, with one goal, with one strategy,” the CHRO says. “I wanted to help grow and develop a business and help in dealing with challenges: legal, HR, or otherwise.”
DiNome’s legal background is rare for a CHRO, but it shouldn’t be. “Just knowing the underlying law behind a human resource or labor issues is so helpful,” the CHRO says. “Discrimination, disability accommodation, or family medical leave—these topics are all grounded in statutes, regulations, and caselaw.”
But it’s not understanding the legal lay of the land that has made DiNome so effective in a dual role. He’s proven to be an effective trainer of future leaders. DiNome has spoken nationally on a multitude of different panels as well as training within his own organizations. “Training isn’t always formal,” DiNome says. “Sometimes it’s just sitting down with a colleague and walking them through potential pitfalls or issues that might come up in litigation. I’m always willing to have that conversation.”
The Next Phase
DiNome says that looking ahead, he’s hoping to find an organization that can leverage the expertise he has spent decades amassing. “I’m just looking for an opportunity to work with senior management on strategy for growing its organization from a people perspective,” the CHRO says. “I’d like the opportunity to grow and train a team to make them into an effective organization for labor relations and human resources. I’m always looking to make the workplace a better place, incrementally.”
The future is, at present, unknown for DiNome, but anyone who is willing to endure the challenges of working through the closing of a hospital system seems to have earned the right to tackle any mountain that may be in view.
A Long-Lasting Commitment to Service
John DiNome has built a dual expertise in both employment law and HR, but he’s also devoted a great deal of his time to service. DiNome is the board chair of the Travis Manion Foundation, a veteran services organization that seeks to provide opportunities of empowerment for veterans to work in their own communities. DiNome has also spent nearly twenty-five years (many as a board chair) for Congressman Donald Norcross Service Academy Review Board, which helps select finalists for the four main military service academies—DiNome himself a West Point graduate.