Dora Akunyili’s Daughter, Ijeoma Becomes First Black Chief Medical Officer Of US Hospital

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, 2023.

"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 announcement.

"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 (CCEP). 

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 Houston, Texas.

Speaking about the appointment, Akunyili thanked the hospital and reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring the provision of high-quality services.

"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 Medical School.

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.

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