Ninfa M. Saunders, DHA, is the most recently retired president and chief executive officer of Navicent Health, the second-largest hospital in Georgia and the only designated Level I Trauma Center in the region. In January 2019, Atrium Health and Navicent Health announced a strategic combination to provide even greater access and care for Central and South Georgia. Serving as a hub for Atrium Health in Georgia, Navicent Health, has furthered Atrium Health’s mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all.
Dr. Saunders has served in various leadership roles throughout 40 years of hospital administration and clinical experience. Prior to Navicent Health, she was president and chief operations officer of Virtua Health, southern New Jersey’s largest health system. Dr. Saunders also served on the Governor’s Georgia Cancer Coalition, to help develop regional centers of excellence for cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and research using funds from the tobacco settlement. Additional leadership roles include chief operating officer for the Emory Dekalb Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia, director of nursing resources for Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and various roles at St. Barnabas in Livingston, New Jersey. Dr. Saunders began her career as a staff nurse in the intensive care unit of Riley Memorial Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi.
Dr. Saunders has been included in the Becker’s Hospital Review “130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know” for five consecutive years,honored by the Georgia Diversity Council as one of Georgia’s Most Powerful & Influential Women and named one of 2017’s Most Influential Women of the Mid-Market by CEO Connection. Dr. Saunders was also selected as the 2014 Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals CEO of the Year, The (Macon) Telegraph’s 2014 Person of the Year and one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians.
A Fellow of ACHE, she served as the Chair of the American Hospital Association’s institute for Diversity and was Board Chair of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals.
Dr. Saunders completed her doctorate in healthcare administration at the Medical University of South Carolina and earned an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, a Master of Science in nursing from the Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Concordia College in Manila, Philippines.