Women Leaders in Healthcare - Ninfa Saunders
Ninfa M. Saunders, MSN, MBA, PhD, assumed the role of president and COO of Virtua in September 2010. Previously, she served as executive vice president for health services. Dr. Saunders is responsible for all healthcare operations throughout Virtua's four hospitals, two rehab centers, senior services, home care, ambulatory and outpatient services.
Dr. Saunders has more than 30 years of clinical nursing and hospital administrative experience. 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.
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 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 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. She completed her Doctorate in Healthcare Administration at the Medical University of South Carolina. She received her Certification as a Black Belt in Six Sigma from the University of Michigan, College of Engineering.
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 an associate professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She also served as a faculty of the NCHL and GE Leadership Program at GE's Jack Welch Learning Center in Crotonville, New York. Saunders was appointed to the Advisory Board of Forbes Magazine in 2007. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a board member of the American Heart Association, vice-chair of the board for the Diocese of Trenton, a 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 named the 2011 New Jersey Go Red for Women “Woman of Distinction” by the American Heart Association. She has been named the 2010 "Women of Distinction" by the Girls Scout of America. In 2008 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.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.