THE chairman and chief executive officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has described the appointment of Ijeoma Akunyili, daughter of the late Professor Dora Akunyili, as the Chief Medical Officer of a hospital in the United States hospital as “well-deserved.”
Akunyili, an emergency medicine physician in Waterbury, Connecticut, was appointed as the new Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Jersey City Medical Center, an RWJ Barnabas Health facility in the United States of America.
She is the first African-American medical professional to serve in the role.
A congratulatory statement signed by NiDCOM’s Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Dabiri Erewa’s behalf stated the appointment was “not surprising”, knowing the kind of training she received from her late mother, who was a disciplinarian to the core.
“A hearty congratulations to Dr Ijeoma Dora Akunyili. We wish her the very best in her well-deserved historic appointment,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
She also encouraged other Nigerian youths in the diaspora to be inspired by this achievement and continue to positively project the image of the country.
RWJ Barnabas Health said it was proud to add Akunyili to its executive clinical leadership team, and that her experience managing multi-specialty physician groups in integrated health care systems would help support the Jersey City Medical Center in providing comprehensive healthcare throughout the community.
“Dr. Akunyili has a wealth of experience and knowledge, and as our Chief Medical Officer, we look forward to creating a world-class experience for every patient at Jersey City Medical Center.
“I am confident that Hudson County will benefit in a great way from her leadership, and that her presence will have tremendous impact,” President and Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Center Michael, Prilutsky said.
Reacting to her appointment, Akunyili said she was grateful for the opportunity and looked forward to serving the residents of Hudson County in providing safe, innovative, efficient, and equitable care.
“It is a true privilege to lead the clinical effort at Jersey City Medical Center and to create sustainable health outcomes for our community,” she said.
The new CMO received her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and has been in practice for almost two decades.
Her areas of specialty include diagnosing and treating patients with life-threatening conditions like heart attack, drug overdose, shock, or massive bleeding.
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 20 emergency departments, critical care, and hospitalist service lines in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.
She led an unprecedented four-fold expansion of service lines with a specific focus on medical services and access to care for underserved populations.