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Three Maconites Among Most Influential Georgians

Three Maconites Among Most Influential Georgians

Four Central Georgians Selected by Georgia Trend Magazine for Benefitting State 

MACON, GA (Monday, January 19, 2015) – Three Maconites – including Dr. Ninfa M. Saunders, President and CEO of Atrium Health Navicent; Robert A.B. Reichert, Mayor of Macon-Bibb County; and Bill Underwood, President of Mercer University - were recently included on Georgia Trend's annual listing of “100 Most Influential Georgians.” State Representative Larry O'Neal of Bonaire was also included on the list.


Georgia Trend's editorial staff works throughout the year to compile the names of those leaders who use their power and influence to make the greatest contributions to their industry, their community and their state. According to a statement on Georgia Trend's website, “Some of the 100 wield their influence in the limelight; others work behind the scenes. But all of them impact the daily lives of Georgians everywhere.”

Saunders was included on the list after making a number of contributions to healthcare in the state. Her efforts to consolidate local healthcare options, collaborate with competitors and increase Georgia's medical profile have drawn increased attention to both Saunders and Atrium Health Navicent. A few of Saunders' notable accomplishments include:


  • Cofounding Stratus Healthcare, a non-equity collaboration of hospitals and health systems throughout the state who work together to increase the value of healthcare for patients, providers and payors.
  • Influencing public policy by works with Georgia's General Assembly to ensure access to quality healthcare for Georgia's underserved and vulnerable populations.
  • Forming partnerships with Georgia's rural and critical access hospitals to strengthen and support their services in the changing healthcare landscape.


“That three leaders from Macon-Bibb County were included on Georgia Trend's list of 100 influential leaders is testament to the wonderful progress that we are making in this city. We are not only improving healthcare in Macon, but also improving education and urban development, setting a standard for others in our state to follow. I applaud Mayor Reichert and Mr. Underwood, as well as Rep. O'Neal, for their efforts to advance our community and our state,” said Saunders.

Saunders was recently named the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospital's 2014 CEO of the Year, The (Macon) Telegraph's 2014 Person of the Year and was recently included on Becker's Hospital Review's annual list of “130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know.”


“Atrium Health Navicent is a dynamic industry leader and a model for other healthcare providers in an evolving healthcare industry We are thrilled that Dr. Saunders and Atrium Health Navicent, as well as Macon-Bibb County and Mercer University, have been recognized for the contributions that they are making to our state for the benefit of all Georgians,” said Starr Purdue, Chairperson of the Atrium Health Navicent Board of Directors.


Georgia Trend is the only statewide business publication in the market, reaching more than 50,000 subscribers. The monthly publication offers analysis of business and political trends around the state and economic development at the local level; creates a forum for leaders to voice their opinions on critical issues; and recognizes individuals, like Saunders, who make a positive impact on Georgia. 

Georgia Trend's list of 100 Influential Georgians includes elected and government officials, educators, philanthropists and various industry executives.