Former DG of NAFDAC, Dora Akunyili’s daughter named first black chief medical officer of U.S. hospital

The Jersey City Medical Center, a RWJBarnabas health facility in the United States, has announced Ijeoma Akunyili as the new chief medical officer of the hospital.

A statement released on the Medical Center’s official website on Wednesday, January 11, says Dr. Ijeoma Akunyili is the first African American medical professional to serve in that role, given to her expertise experience.

Ijeoma is the first daughter of the late Dora Akunyili, former director-general of the National Agency for Food and Dr¥g Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and ex-minister of information.

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

She led an unprecedented fourfold expansion of service lines with a specific focus on medical services and access to care for underserved populations.

Previously, Dr. Akunyili served as the chair of emergency medicine at Waterbury Hospital, a Level II trauma teaching hospital. There she was the change agent who led a dynamic team in dramatically reducing the lengths of stay, improving overall performance across multiple patient-centered metrics, and increasing physician staffing.

She was awarded the 2019 Medical Director of the Year Award for the impressive turnaround of the Waterbury Hospital Emergency Department.

In addition to her executive experience, Dr. Akunyili has vast leadership and advocacy experience, and is currently serving as the President of the Connecticut College of Emergency Physicians (CCEP).

Prior, she served for several years on the board of directors of Texas and Connecticut Colleges of Emergency Physicians. She was an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, and she is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University,” the statement reads.

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