Dora Akunyili’s Daughter, Ijeoma Becomes First Black Chief Medical Officer Of US Hospital
Ijeoma Akunyili, the first daughter of Dora Akunyili, the
late director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration
and Control (NAFDAC), has been named Chief Medical Officer of the Jersey City
Medical Center in the United States.
Dr. Akunyili is the medical center’s first Black Chief
Medical Officer, according to a statement released on Wednesday, January 11,
“Jersey City, New Jersey – Jersey City Medical Center,
an RWJBarnabas Health facility, has named Ije Akunyili, MD, MBA, MPA, as its
new Chief Medical Officer, effective January 2, 2023. “Dr. Akunyili is the
Medical Center’s first Black Chief Medical Officer,” according to the
“RWJBarnabas Health is delighted to welcome Dr.
Akunyili to its executive clinical leadership team. “Her experience
managing multi-specialty physician groups in integrated health care systems
will help Jersey City Medical Center provide comprehensive health care to the
community,” said Andy Anderson, MD, Executive Vice President, and Chief
Medical and Quality Officer for RWJBarnabas Health. She will be an invaluable
member of our team.”
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“With Dr. Akunyili serving as our Chief Medical
Officer, we look forward to providing every patient at Jersey City Medical
Center with a top-notch experience. Her presence will have a significant
impact, and I am confident that Hudson County will greatly benefit from her
leadership, said Michael Prilutsky, president and chief executive officer of
the Medical Center.
“In her most recent position, Dr. Akunyili worked for
TeamHealth, Northeast Group as the Regional Medical Director, where she was
responsible for the clinical, operational, and strategic direction of nearly 20
emergency departments, critical care, and hospitalist service lines in
Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. She oversaw
an unprecedented four-fold expansion of service lines with a focus on
healthcare for underserved populations and medical services in particular.
“Dr. Akunyili was previously the emergency department
chair at Waterbury Hospital, a Level II trauma teaching facility. There, she
acted as a catalyst for change, inspiring a talented group to significantly cut
lengths of stay, boost performance across a range of patient-centered metrics,
and add more doctors to the staff. She received the 2019 Medical Director of
the Year Award in recognition of the Emergency Department at Waterbury
Hospital’s remarkable turnaround.
Dr. Akunyili has extensive leadership and advocacy
experience in addition to her executive experience, and she currently holds the
position of President of the Connecticut College of Emergency Physicians
She previously held a position on the Texas and Connecticut Colleges of
Emergency Physicians’ boards of directors for a number of years. She has held
positions as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University and
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in
Speaking about the appointment, Akunyili thanked the
hospital and reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring the provision of
“I am thankful for the chance, and I look forward to
serving Hudson County’s residents and continuing to offer safe, cutting-edge,
effective, and equitable care. She was quoted as saying, “It is a true
privilege to lead the clinical effort at Jersey City Medical Center and to
develop sustainable health outcomes for our community.
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Dr. Akunyili attended the University of Maryland School of
Medicine after receiving a Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania.
She finished her emergency medicine residency at UTHealth Houston’s McGovern
Dr. Akunyili also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business
at the University of Pennsylvania and an MPA in international development from
the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Two teenagers
are raised by Dr. Akunyili and her husband.