Our Leaders at Baptist
President and Chief Executive Officer
In June 2014, Jason Little became only the fifth person since 1912 to serve as Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation's president and CEO. Since joining Baptist in 2002, Little has held a number of leadership positions, including administrator and CEO of three Baptist Memorial hospitals, vice president and head of metro-Memphis operations and executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Little received his bachelor's degree in health administration from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and master's degrees in business administration and health care administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Little was an operations administrator for the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, before joining Baptist.
A recipient of the Early Career Healthcare Executive Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives, Little serves on the boards of the Tennessee Hospital Association, Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Memphis Tomorrow, the New Memphis Institute and the Industry Council for the Federal Reserve Branch at St. Louis.
Paul DePriest, MD
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Paul DePriest is the first physician to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation. Dr. DePriest joined Baptist in 2012 as senior vice president and chief medical officer. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Eastern Kentucky University, an MD from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a master's degree in healthcare management from the Harvard School of Public Health. After medical school, Dr. DePriest completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in gynecological oncology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Zach Chandler serves as Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation's executive vice president and chief strategy officer. After completing his Frank Groner administrative fellowship at Baptist, Chandler held several leadership roles within the organization, including serving as CEO and administrator at four Baptist Memorial hospitals. Before being promoted to his current role, he served as vice president and head of metro-Memphis operations, and, prior to that, vice president and head of regional operations. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Baylor University and a master's degree in health administration from Washington University. In addition to his leadership roles at Baptist, he spent two years as president of Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas. The American College of Healthcare Executives has honored Chandler with its Early Career Healthcare Executive Award.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Bill Griffin began his career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen and KPMG Peat Marwick. In 1993, he joined Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation and has served as the chief financial officer for Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle and Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis and as corporate system director of finance. In 2000, Griffin was promoted to vice president of corporate finance and also served as corporate privacy and security officer. In 2015, he was promoted to his current position. He is a certified public accountant, a chartered global management accountant, a fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and an HFMA-certified healthcare financial professional. He holds a Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of Mississippi. Griffin serves on the boards of Christ Community Health Services, The Medical Education & Research Institute and Mississippi True.
Gregory M. Duckett
Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
Since 1992, Greg Duckett has served as senior vice president and chief legal officer for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, providing executive leadership, direction, guidance and assistance on legal and strategic matters related to Baptist and its subsidiaries and educating Baptist leadership on changes in the law. He is the secretary for the organization. He also oversees risk management, corporate compliance, privacy and security and government regulatory matters for Baptist. Duckett is deeply involved in the Memphis community, serving on the boards of the National Civil Rights Museum, the Tennessee Election Commission, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Festival Association, and the Memphis River Parks Partnership. He recently was acknowledged by Becker’s Hospitals Review as one of the “50 African American Leaders in Healthcare to Know.” In addition to serving as a board member on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for six years, he also served on the board of directors for the American Health Lawyers Association from 2003 to 2009.
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
As Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Nancy Averwater oversees Baptist Memorial Health Care’s human resources function, which includes recruiting, onboarding and retaining team members; establishing and maintaining a culture that revolves around empathy; and providing professional development. She also leads the Baptist Center for Career Development, which helps people accomplish their professional and career goals through career counseling, career pathing and upskilling so they may thrive and achieve their highest calling. Nancy began her Baptist career in 1993 as a PRN nurse working in the ICU. Since then, she has served as the administrator and CEO of several Baptist entities, including Baptist System Home Care & Hospice, Baptist Home Medical Equipment, Medical Alternatives Home Infusion Pharmacy, Baptist Minor Medical Centers and the CONCERN Employee Assistance Program. Among her many accomplishments was establishing the Memphis area’s first residential hospice and grief center while serving as Baptist Home Care & Hospice’s CEO and administrator. She also earned the Memphis Business Journal’s (MBJ) Health Care Heroes Award for Administrative Excellence and the MBJ Super Women in Business award, and she was named among the University of Memphis Loewenberg College of Nursing’s 50 leaders in 50 years for innovation in health care.
Dr. Saju Joy
Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Physician Executive
Dr. Saju Joy was appointed senior vice president, chief medical officer and chief physician executive for Baptist Memorial Health Care in September 2021. In this role, he leads Baptist’s medical staff functions and has responsibility for Baptist Medical Group, which comprises nearly 700 physicians and more than 300 advanced practice practitioners. He also provides oversight of regulatory compliance, infection prevention, operational quality and quality analytics, clinical research and graduate medical education for the health care system. Dr. Joy previously served as the chief medical officer for the central division of Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he also led the hospital’s quality and safety efforts and COVID-19 response. He also served as facility president of Atrium Health Mercy hospital, and was the first physician at Atrium to hold such a position. Dr. Joy has engineering degrees from North Carolina State University, a doctor of medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from Duke University. He is board certified in general OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine. His academic career includes 28 peer-reviewed publications, online and book chapters and numerous research presentations.
Dr. Joy also serves on several boards, including the American Association of Physician Leadership, Baptist Health Sciences University - Academic and Enrollment Committee and Church Health to list a few.
Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Ayoka Pond serves as the vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for Baptist Memorial Health Care, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health care systems. She supervises and supports a team of communications professionals who provide internal communications, public relations, marketing, digital, social media and creative services to Baptist's 22 hospitals and dozens of entities and services. She also performs a number of executive communications functions.
Ayoka began her career at Baptist as an intern and was hired as a public relations specialist in May 1999. During her tenure, she and the marketing and communications team won three national Public Relations Society of America awards. She also earned Ragan Communications’ Top Women in Communications Award, the Memphis Advertising Federation Ad Woman of the Year and Public Relations Director of the Year awards, Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 award, and several other local and national public relations awards.
Vice President of Managed Care and CEO of Baptist Health Services Group of the Mid-South
David Elliott is vice president of managed care for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation and CEO of Baptist Health Services Group of the Mid-South, a five-state PPO with more than 400,000 covered lives. A board member of the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and Page Robbins Adult Day Care, he is a past chairman of the Health Care Financial Management Association, Tennessee Chapter. He holds a bachelor's degree from David Lipscomb University and an MBA from the University of Memphis.
Vice President and Chief Government Affairs and Community Relations Officer
As vice president of government affairs for Baptist Memorial Health Care, Keith Norman's primary responsibilities include establishing and maintaining relationships with government officials and strengthening Baptist's community outreach partnerships. He also is pastor of First Baptist Church—Broad, sits on the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission board of directors, serves on Christian Brothers University’s board of trustees and is a former commissioner of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. Norman is the immediate past president of Memphis’ NAACP chapter and serves on NAACP’s national board of trustees. A graduate of Morehouse College, Norman earned a doctorate degree from Memphis Theological Seminary in 2016 and published his dissertation, which outlines strategies for urban community development in Memphis, Tennessee. Norman is now pursuing a certification in diversity and inclusion management from the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Mary Ellen Sumrall, MSN, RN, NEA-BC
VP/Chief Nursing Executive and Chief Nursing Officer, Baptist Memphis
Mary Ellen Sumrall is the chief nursing executive for Baptist Memorial Health Care and chief nursing officer for the health care system’s flagship hospital, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. Sumrall assumed this dual role in January 2022 after an accomplished 30-plus-year career with Baptist. Sumrall joined Baptist in 1993 as an emergency department charge nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle in Columbus, Mississippi, where she would eventually become director of emergency services and chief nursing officer. Sumrall was instrumental in a number of successful initiatives and accomplishments, including the establishment of the hospital’s first nurse residency program, numerous Hospital of the Year awards, and consecutive Leapfrog Patient Safety “A” ratings for Baptist Golden Triangle since 2012. Sumrall earned her nursing degree from the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree in nursing administration from Union University. She is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives.
Senior Leadership Team
Our senior leadership team represents years of experience from many different fields and disciplines, both clinical and non-clinical. Whether coming from academia, a hospital or community leadership roles, all have spent decades in the health care arena, many with lifelong careers at Baptist.
Vice President/Chief Information
and Digital Officer
Vice President and Chief Development Officer
Betty Sue McGarvey, PhD, RN
Baptist Health Sciences University
Vice President for the West Tennessee and Arkansas Regional Markets
Stephen C. Reynolds
Chief Improvement Officer
Mark Swanson, MD
Vice President/Baptist Physician Enterprise President/CEO Baptist Medical Group
Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer