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.
Dr. Saunders was recently appointed as Dean's Professor at the Mayers School of Business and serves in the Board of Visitors of the University Sciences of Philadelphia. She is a Distinguished Faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She is 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, a board member of the New Jersey Hospital Association, member of the Head's Council for Moorestown Friends School, and a member of the board of the New Jersey, Chamber of Commerce.
Most recently, Dr. Saunders was awarded the 2012 Outstanding Citizenship and Good Neighbor Award by the American Red Cross and named by the South Jersey Magazine as a Woman to Watch in New Jersey in 2012. In 2011, was awarded the “Woman of Distinction” by the New Jersey Go Red for Women of the American Heart Association. She was selected as the 2011 Trailblazer of the Year by the South Jersey chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She has been named the 2010 "Women of Distinction" by the Girls Scout of America. In 2008 and 2010 she was nominated to the "Top 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare". In 2007, she was named "Woman of Distinction" by the Philadelphia Business Journal. She was named one of the 25 most influential women in New Jersey in NJ Biz magazine's 2004 "Women of Influence" Awards. Dr. Saunders was also named one of the most "Outstanding Women of Burlington County" in 2004 by the Burlington County Advisory Council on Women and the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders. She was recognized for her dedication to bringing the most advanced medical care and the highest clinical quality to the region.