Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is promoting Ocpivia Stafford from her position of interim president to the president of the Methodist South Hospital in Memphis.
Stafford has held the position of interim president since the COVID-19 surge in November 2020, when former president Jessie Tucker left the 156-bed hospital he had run for over a year.
On May 14, Stafford was officially named the president of Methodist South.
Michael Ugwueke, the president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, said in a Monday press release that Stafford is a "champion for patient engagement" and prioritizes providing quality patient care and employee collaboration.
"While serving as interim president, Ocpivia spearheaded numerous initiatives to engage with the broader community that Methodist South serves," Ugewueke said. "As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, it's more important than ever to provide the community with every opportunity to be well and stay healthy."
Stafford first worked as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in 2006 before taking on positions of leadership at Methodist University Hospital and Methodist Olive Branch Hospital.
She then assumed the role of pharmacy director for Methodist South Hospital and in 2018 Stafford became vice president of support and professional services.
As president of Methodist South, Stafford said she is excited for the opportunity and hopes to enhance the health system's overall presence in Memphis' Whitehaven neighborhood and improve the community's access to healthcare.
Stafford said as interim president she focused on guiding employees through the difficulties of the pandemic.
"We did a lot of employee appreciation activities," Stafford said. "We did a virtual career fair, a series of lunch and learns, a drive-thru community health fair. We really focused on creating employee engagement activities as well as deepening our connection to the community."
Stafford holds a doctorate in pharmacy from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and an executive MBA from the University of Memphis. After being nominated for her career achievements and community work, Stafford was recognized as one of Memphis Business Journal's Super Women in Business on May 12.
In 2019, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare was subject to scrutiny after a ProPublica report found that the healthcare system was suing thousands of patients who owed money, including some of its own employees.
Several months after the article was published, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare eliminated the debt of more than 6,500 patients.
Methodist South Hospital is one of six hospitals part of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, which also runs ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient facilities, hospice residence and physician practices across the Mid-South.