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Ijeoma Akunyili becomes new Chief Medical Officer in US

Ijeoma Akunyili has been appointed as the new Chief Medical Officer of a health facility at the Jersey City Medical Centre in the United States.

Dr Akunyili, the first daughter of the late Dora Akunyili, former director-general of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

In a statement announcing Dr Akunyili’s appointment, the medical centre described her as its “first Black Chief Medical Officer”.

“RWJBarnabas Health is proud to add Dr Akunyili to its executive clinical leadership team. Her experience managing multi-specialty physician groups in integrated health care systems will help support Jersey City Medical Center in providing comprehensive health care throughout the community,” Andy Anderson, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical and Quality Officer of the Centre said.

“I am confident that Hudson County will benefit in a great way from her leadership, and that her presence will have tremendous impact,” Michael Prilutsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Center, said.

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 the states of 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, she 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-centred metrics, and increasing physician staffing.

Dr Akunyili 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.

Speaking on the appointment, Dr Akunyili expressed gratitude to the hospital, adding that she remains committed to ensuring quality service delivery.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Tony Okerafor