Dr. Ninfa Saunders, FACHE
President & CEO of Central Georgia Health System
Dr. Saunders currently serves as the President and CEO of Central Georgia Health System, a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to coordinate its affiliated entities in their mission of providing a comprehensive range of high-quality reasonably priced healthcare services to the central and south Georgia community. Dr. Saunders oversees the operations of The Medical Center of Central Georgia as well as the Medcen Community Health Foundation, Central Georgia Rehabilitation Hospital, Central Georgia Home Health and Home Care Services, Health Services of Central Georgia, Pine Pointe Hospice and Palliative Care, and Carlyle Place. Dr. Saunders also serves as the President and CEO of The Medical Center of Central Georgia, the second largest hospital in the state and a tertiary regional teaching medical center, a designated Level I Trauma Center, a perinatal center, and one of 42 twice designated Magnet® hospitals for nursing excellence.
Dr. Saunders has close to 40 years of hospital administrative and clinical experience. Prior to her move back to Georgia, she was the President and COO of Virtua Health, the largest health system in South Jersey, which operates four hospitals, two rehab centers, senior services, home care, ambulatory and outpatient services. Prior to joining Virtua, she served on the Governor's Georgia Cancer Coalition, which was created by Governor Roy Barnes to develop regional centers of excellence for cancer prevention, detection, treatment and research using funds from the tobacco settlement. Previously, Dr. Saunders served as chief operating officer for the Dekalb Medical Center in Decatur, GA. For the preceding 13 years, Dr. Saunders served as director of nursing resources for Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. From 1974-1980, she held various roles at St. Barnabas in Livingston, NJ, including assistant vice president of nursing, director of critical care, in-service instructor and assistant head nurse. She started her career as a staff nurse in the intensive care unit of Riley Memorial Hospital in Meridian, MS.
Dr. Saunders completed her Doctorate in Healthcare Administration at the Medical University of South Carolina. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, a Master of Science in Nursing from the Rutgers University in Newark, NJ, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Concordia College in Manila, Philippines. She received her Certification as a Black Belt in Six Sigma from the University of Michigan, College of Engineering. She also attended the Healthcare Executive Program at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, and the International Business Program at the London School of Business in London, England.
Appointed as Dean's Professor at the Mayers School of Business, she is a Distinguished Faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. and an Associate Professor at Rutgers University, NJ. She also served as a faculty of the NCHL and GE Leadership Program at GE's Jack Welch Learning Center in Crotonville, New York. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a board member of the American Heart Association, board member of the American Hospital Association, Institute for Diversity. Awarded the 2012 Outstanding Citizenship and Good Neighbor Award by the American Red Cross, Dr. Saunders was also awarded the 2011 “Woman of Distinction” by the New Jersey Go Red for Women of the American Heart Association.
As a continued demonstration of her extensive business experience, Dr. Saunders currently serves as an Executive with the Fierce Healthcare CEO Advisory Board and as a frequent expert for Healthcare Leaders national media roundtables.