NGHS fills key roles as it continues growing the greater good

Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Unlike so many healthcare systems across our state and the nation, Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) continues to grow – this time expanding its leadership team to ensure continued success. The system has welcomed a new chief medical officer, chief nursing executive, administrator for Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Barrow and vice president of Georgia Heart Institute.

“I’m confident these leaders will continue to take NGHS into the future, growing the greater good for our thriving communities,” said Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS. “Their expertise and guidance will ensure that we continue to hire and retain the best healthcare workers, that we remain focused on providing innovative healthcare solutions and that we’re growing our services at the right pace to both meet patients’ needs and preserve access to care across the region.”

On July 1, NGHS welcomed Vikram “Vik” Reddy, MD, as its new chief medical officer. Dr. Reddy most recently served as chief medical officer for Wellstar’s Kennestone and Windy Hill hospitals in Marietta, Georgia. Prior to that, he served as the chief clinical integration and quality officer at Henry Ford Health’s Macomb Hospital in Michigan. As chief medical officer for NGHS, Dr. Reddy will help direct the system’s quality and safety departments, manage medical staff services, help facilitate physician leadership programs and provide oversight of medical directors across the system.

Additionally, Stuart Downs was hired as chief nursing executive for NGHS on July 31. Downs most recently served as nursing administrator for Northside Gwinnett Hospital. Before that, he worked at Wellstar as the chief nursing officer of Atlanta Medical Center. In his role, Downs will have oversight of the emergency departments, inpatient units, women and children’s services and nursing central systems and resources.

John Neidenbach also joined in July as administrator of NGMC Barrow. Neidenbach was at CaroMont Health in Gastonia, North Carolina, before joining NGHS, serving as its senior director over perioperative services, surgery and musculoskeletal service lines. As administrator at NGMC Barrow, Neidenbach’s primary responsibility will include day-to-day oversight of the hospital.

Lastly, Darlene Sweet has been named the new vice president for Georgia Heart Institute, effective Oct. 1. Sweet joined NGHS in early 2022 as the executive director of cardiac nursing at NGHS. She has also served in leadership roles at Wellstar Cobb Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Stamford Hospital and Yale New Haven Health. In her new Georgia Heart Institute role, she’ll be responsible for managing the clinical and administrative departments that support the Institute’s operational and strategic initiatives.

To learn more about how NGHS is growing the greater good in your community and elsewhere in northeast Georgia, visit