Meet Zach Dunkerly, MBA, GME Director of Patient Safety and Quality at Northeast Georgia Medical Center

September 19, 2018

Above all else, Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) values patient safety and quality of care. Zach Dunkerly, MBA, Graduate Medical Education (GME) Director of Patient Safety and Quality, is eager to lead us to our goals of maintaining excellence in these areas.

As Director of Patient Safety & Quality for the GME program, Dunkerly is developing the GME curriculum based around our Safety & Quality program. He also serves as the chair for the Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) GME Patient Safety & Quality subcommittee, and, when our inaugural class joins us, will assist residents and track their progress while they work on performance improvement initiatives and more.

In preliminary brainstorming sessions with James A. Kruer, MD, FACP, Program Director for Internal Medicine, Dunkerly discussed innovative ways to train residents on the safety-first methods of NGMC and ways to promote system-wide engagement in institutional quality improvement initiatives. ‘Quality Wednesday,’ for example, will be one of the themes for noon conferences in the Internal Medicine program. These sessions will give residents and faculty an opportunity to present their project plans, strengths and opportunities to their peers, as well as an opportunity to help generate new ideas for continual progress in collaboration and excellence.

The pair also discussed methods to train the residents on the NGHS Safety Toolkit—from which a new tool will be highlighted and emphasized each month. Residents who are matched into the Internal Medicine or General Surgery programs will be trained to provide highly reliable, quality care using these safety tools – making them hardwired for excellence.

Dunkerly’s main goal is to help create a foundation for a culture of safety among the residents. Incoming residents at NGMC will have the unique opportunity to participate actively and significantly in quality improvement projects for the health system. Dunkerly hopes to continue to build upon our culture of safety to help drive lasting change across all of Northeast Georgia Health System and to empower the residents to be the catalysts for a constantly improving culture of safety.

When he is not working on quality and safety initiatives at our hospitals, Dunkerly can be found spending time with his family, including his wife and daughter, attending Baltimore Ravens games and serving on the board for The Salvation Army.

We are pleased to welcome Zach Dunkerly to Graduate Medical Education and look forward to the positive changes he will spearhead.

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About Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s GME program

Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s (NGMC) GME program is currently accepting applications for the Internal Medicine and General Surgery Residency Programs and will match the inaugural class in the spring of 2019. NGMC’s Graduate Medical Education program is designed to train residents to be leaders in the medical field as well as in the community. Learn more about the NGMC GME program.

About Northeast Georgia Health System

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit institution on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 800,000 people across the region through three hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has three hospital campuses – NGMC Gainesville, NGMC Braselton, and NGMC Barrow – with a total of 713 beds and more than 700 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. Learn more at