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The executives will help lead operations at UNC Health, the state’s leading academic medical system, and fulfill its mission of improving the health of all North Carolinians.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – October 28, 2020 – UNC Health announces two new leadership appointments, including a new Chief Operating Officer and a new President at Wayne UNC in Goldsboro. The executives will help lead operations at UNC Health, the state’s leading academic medical system, and fulfill its mission of improving the health of all North Carolinians. The new appointments include:

Jessie Tucker, III, Ph.D., FACHE – President of Wayne UNC Health Care

Head shot of Jessie L. Tucker III
Jessie L. Tucker III, PhD, FACHE

Jessie L. Tucker III, Ph.D., FACHE was named President and CEO of Wayne UNC Health Care in Goldsboro, effective Monday, Dec. 14. Tucker replaces President and CEO Janie Jaberg, FACHE, who recently announced plans to retire.

A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel with more than two decades of experience in healthcare leadership, Dr. Tucker has a long track record of gains in clinical quality, teammate engagement, financial performance and service line growth.

With a strong focus on improving value and optimizing resources across the enterprise, Dr. Tucker is committed to continually improving outcomes for patients and families by innovating wellness, education and self-care options in the communities he has served.

“We are fortunate to have Jessie join the UNC Health family,” said Chris Ellington, President of UNC Health Network Hospitals. “His strong experience in teammate and provider engagement will enhance the already positive culture at Wayne UNC.”

Dr. Tucker has a Ph.D. in Administration-Health Services from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed a National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems Fellowship. He also holds a Master’s degree in Management from Bowie State University, an MBA from Troy State University and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina.

A Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), Dr. Tucker is also the 2007 recipient of the ACHE’s Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award for Young Healthcare Executive of the Year. Throughout his career in healthcare, Dr. Tucker has also continued to teach, serving most recently as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis.


Steve Burriss, MBA – UNC Health Chief Operating Officer

Head shot of Steve Burriss
Steve Burriss, MBA

Steve Burriss has been promoted to UNC Health Chief Operating Officer, effective March 1, 2021. This role is currently held by Gary Park, who is retiring at the end of February.

Most recently, Burriss served as president of UNC Health’s Triangle Region, overseeing UNC Medical Center, UNC REX Healthcare and the ambulatory division. He will continue to have oversight of these entities as UNC Health COO, and there are no plans to hire a new president of the Triangle Region.

Prior to serving as president of the Triangle Region, Burriss was president of UNC REX Healthcare from 2015-2019. He started his career in the health system at UNC REX in 1998 as the director of human resources before becoming vice president of human resources in 2001. He went on to hold senior leadership roles in ambulatory care and operations.

“I look forward to working closely with Steve as chief operating officer,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health. “Steve’s experience in our health system along with his deep knowledge of hospital operations makes him the ideal person to assume this role.”

As the COO, Burriss will oversee all UNC Health system clinical operations, including inpatient, outpatient, and ambulatory care across the state.


About UNC Health

UNC Health is an integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care.

UNC Health is comprised of UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill, ranked consistently among the best medical centers in the country; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; Pardee UNC Health Care in Hendersonville; Chatham Hospital in Siler City; Johnston Health in Clayton and Smithfield; UNC Lenoir Health Care in Kinston; Wayne UNC Health Care in Goldsboro; Caldwell UNC Health Care in Lenoir; Nash UNC Health Care in Rocky Mount; UNC Rockingham Health Care in Eden, Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, UNC REX Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County; and the UNC Physicians Network.

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