Ijeoma Akunyili Elected to Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Board: A New Era of Engagement

Ijeoma Akunyili, the daughter of the late Dora Akunyili, who was a highly esteemed figure as the former director-general of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and former Minister of Information, has recently been selected to serve as a member of the alumni board at the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in the United States. She will be joining a diverse group of eight other individuals representing different backgrounds and nationalities. Akunyili’s term will span a duration of four years, commencing on July 1st. This appointment reflects her outstanding achievements and contributions to her field, as well as her commitment to fostering positive change and innovation in the global community.

Akunyili’s appointment to the prestigious alumni board is a testament to her impressive qualifications and substantial contributions to the field of medicine. Currently serving as the chief medical officer at the Jersey City Medical Center within the RWJ Barnabas Health network, she assumed this role in January of 2023. Over the course of her distinguished career, she has held key positions, such as the regional medical director for TeamHealth’s Northeast Group and the chair of emergency medicine at Waterbury Hospital. It is noteworthy that in 2023, she made history by becoming the first African American Chief Medical Officer at the Jersey City Medical Center, marking a significant milestone in her professional journey.

The Harvard Kennedy School alumni board, comprised of 22 volunteer members, is dedicated to strengthening connections among HKS alumni worldwide. The board oversees various committees focused on engagement, connections, celebration, recognition, governance, and communications, aiming to enhance alumni relations and support the school’s mission. Board members commit to attending biannual meetings in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and actively engaging in board work between meetings. They play a pivotal role in advancing alumni engagement, advising the dean on alumni perspectives, and supporting school priorities.

Dr. Akunyili’s appointment is truly monumental, as it is a testament to her extraordinary academic and professional journey. She excelled at the renowned University of Pennsylvania, graduating with honors before furthering her education with a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. Following her academic achievements, she honed her skills at the World Bank, gaining invaluable experience before making a transition to the medical field at the esteemed University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Akunyili then dedicated herself to completing her emergency medicine residency at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, showcasing her commitment to excellence and continuous learning. Her diverse background and impressive qualifications make her a truly exceptional addition to her new role.
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Throughout her career, Dr. Akunyili has been recognized for her outstanding achievements in the field of emergency medicine. In 2016, she was honored with the prestigious Rising Star Award from the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians, acknowledging her exceptional contributions to the field. Three years later, in 2019, she was once again recognized for her leadership and dedication with the esteemed Medical Director of the Year Award. Beyond her professional accomplishments, she is a devoted mother of two children and shares a loving marriage with her husband, Aris Brou. Despite her demanding career, she remains committed to inspiring others through her unwavering dedication and service to her community.

In her capacity as a member of the alumni board at Harvard Kennedy School, Ijeoma Akunyili is poised to exert a profound influence on steering the trajectory of the school’s alumni engagement initiatives and broadening its international footprint. Her appointment heralds a dawn of enhanced cooperation and interconnectedness for HKS, underscoring the institution’s dedication to inclusivity, distinction, and worldwide acclaim. Ijeoma Akunyili’s participation will be pivotal in cultivating a more robust sense of camaraderie among alumni and advancing the school’s standing on the global platform

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