US Medical Center Appoints Daughter of Dora Akunyili as Chief Medical Officer

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Ijeoma Akunyili
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Ijeoma Akunyili is the first Black Chief Medical Officer.

Jersey City Medical Centre, a facility of RWJBarnabas Health, has announced Ijeoma Akunyili’s appointment as its new Chief Medical Officer.

Dora Akunyili, the late former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and former Minister of Information, is the mother of Ijeoma.

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In a statement released on Wednesday, the medical centre described Ijeoma as its first Black Chief Medical Officer.

Andy Anderson, the centre’s medical director, executive vice president, and chief medical and quality officer, stated that the younger Akunyili would be an invaluable addition to the medical team.

Anderson was quoted as saying, “RWJBarnabas Health is pleased to welcome Dr. Akunyili to its executive clinical leadership team.”

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Her experience managing multi-speciality physician groups in integrated healthcare systems will aid Jersey City Medical Center in delivering comprehensive healthcare to the entire community.

Michael Prilutsky, president and chief executive officer of the medical centre, described Ijeoma as possessing a wealth of experience and knowledge.

“And as our Chief Medical Officer, we look forward to providing every patient at Jersey City Medical Center with a world-class experience. I am confident that Hudson County will greatly benefit from her leadership and that her presence will have a significant impact,” he said.

Ijeoma Akunyili reportedly served as the Regional Medical Director for TeamHealth, Northeast Group in her most recent position, where she had strategic, operational, and clinical oversight of nearly 20 emergency departments, critical care, and hospitalist service lines in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.

 

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The medical practitioner oversaw the unprecedented quadrupling of service lines, with a particular emphasis on underserved populations’ access to medical services and care.

In addition, she reportedly served as the chair of emergency medicine at Waterbury Hospital, a Level II trauma teaching hospital, in the past.

There, she was the agent of change who led a dynamic team to drastically reduce lengths of stay, improve overall performance across multiple patient-centred metrics, and increase physician staffing.

She received the 2019 Medical Director of the Year Award for the Emergency Department’s remarkable turnaround at Waterbury Hospital.

In addition to her executive experience, Ijeoma has extensive leadership and advocacy experience and is currently serving as the President of the Connecticut College of Emergency Physicians, according to Jersey City Medical Centre (CCEP).

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Previously, she served for several years on the boards of Texas and CCEP. She formerly served as an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and is now a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University.

Ijeoma responded to her appointment by stating, “I am grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to continuing to provide safe, innovative, efficient, and equitable care to the residents of Hudson County. It is a true honour to lead the clinical effort at Jersey City Medical Center and to produce long-term health outcomes for our community.”

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According to the medical centre, the new Chief Medical Officer graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Summa Cum Laude and attended the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at UTHealth Houston’s McGovern Medical School.

She also holds a Master of Public Administration in international development from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Ijeoma and her spouse are the parents of two adolescents.

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