Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Jessica Melton, 35
Vice president, medical, surgical, and critical care services, Duke University Hospital
Jessica Melton comes from a service-oriented family. Her mom was a nurse and her dad served in the military. Yet it was the first day of graduate school that pushed her into emergency services.
"My first day of graduate school, Hurricane Katrina happened. It was almost like it was speaking to me: 'You love healthcare; you love planning.' I decided I can make change where I can find immense purpose and joy and dedication to service," she said.
In which TV medical drama would you star? Most medical shows on the Discovery Channel/Discovery Life
What musician would you dream of having perform at your next birthday celebration? Pharrell
What superhero are you? Wonder Woman
Since then, Melton has worked her way up the ladder at Duke University Hospital. Under Melton's leadership, the emergency department has seen a 45% drop in patients leaving without being seen, while volume has grown by 23%. She's also taken a leadership role in reducing workplace violence.
The hospital has also seen reductions in 30-day readmissions from high-impact populations as well. More recently, Melton took leadership in deploying services to those in need as Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina.
Among all of her achievements, she takes special pride in mentoring the next generation of leaders.
"I love helping those early in their career find their voice and claim their seat at the table. When you're early in your career, you're not really sure who you are authentically. It's important for me to help them with that self-discovery, and really embrace how they can make an impact," she said.