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General News of Monday, 16 January 2023


Dora Akunyili's daughter becomes first Black Chief Medical Officer in a top US hospital

A collage of the late Dora Akunyili and her daughter, Ijeoma Akunyili A collage of the late Dora Akunyili and her daughter, Ijeoma Akunyili

Ijeoma, the daughter of the late Professor Dora Akunyili, a former director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria, from 2001 to 2008, has been named the new chief medical officer of the Jersey City Medical Center, an RWJ Barnabas Health facility, in the United States of America.

The appointment which took effect on Monday, January 2 was announced on the hospital's website on Wednesday, January 11.

A statement released by the Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey said Akunyili is the medical center’s first black CMO.

The hospital added that it was proud to add her to its executive clinical leadership team.

Andy Anderson, MD, the executive vice president and chief medical and quality officer for RWJ Barnabas Health said Akunyili's experience in managing multi-speciality physician groups in integrated healthcare systems will help support the center in providing comprehensive health care throughout the community.

Anderson said: “She will be a tremendous asset to our team.” Michael Prilutsky, president and chief executive officer at the centre, said Akunyili's wealth of experience will help the facility create a world-class experience for every patient.

Akunyili had served as the regional medical director for TeamHealth, Northeast Group, where she led an unprecedented fourfold expansion of service lines with a specific focus on medical services and access to care for underserved populations.

She was also the chair of emergency medicine at Waterbury Hospital, a Level II trauma teaching hospital serving as a change agent while leading a team of dynamic professionals who dramatically reduced the length of stay, improved overall performance across multiple patient-centred metrics, and increased physician staffing, said.

She was awarded the 2019 Medical Director of the Year Award for the impressive turnaround of the Waterbury Hospital Emergency Department. Speaking on her appointment, the high flyer said the opportunity to serve as the facility's CMO is a true privilege to lead the clinical effort at Jersey City Medical Center and to create sustainable health outcomes for the community.

Her words: “I am grateful for this opportunity, and I look forward to serving the residents of Hudson County and continuing to provide safe, innovative, efficient, and equitable care."