Nicole Thomas has been appointed president of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, the largest of Baptist Health’s five area hospitals.
The appointment follows Thomas’ five-year stint as Baptist Medical Center South’s top administrator. When she was appointed to that job in 2016, she was the first female and first African-American to lead one of the health system’s facilities.
Thomas succeeds Michael Mayo, who was named president and CEO of Baptist Health in June following the surprise resignation of Brett McClung, who departed May 1.
“Nicole Thomas is a perfect fit to lead Baptist Jacksonville,” Mayo said. “Her ability to overcome challenges, combined with her results-driven nature and collaborative leadership style, will take Baptist Jacksonville to the next level in providing the highest quality patient care possible.”
At the 271-bed Baptist South, Thomas oversaw expansion that included an eight-story patient tower to house an additional 138 patient beds, an 80,000-square-foot medical office building and a visitor parking garage. She also expanded specialty services, such as orthopedic and general surgical services, and added 18 maternity suites, opened a Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center satellite location and a 12-bed Wolfson Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.
“It is an honor to be appointed to serve in an even bigger way, impacting the lives of patients and their families in our community,” Thomas said. “I look forward to joining Baptist Jacksonville’s team members and physicians to further the hospital’s mission of providing safe, high-quality, compassionate health care. I am truly blessed to have a career that allows me to be part of the healing experience.”
Baptist Jacksonville, on Jacksonville’s Southbank, is Baptist Health’s largest hospital with 489 beds and 4,400 employees.
“I’m thrilled to have Nicole at the helm of Baptist Jacksonville,” said Matt Zuino, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Baptist Health. “She is an exemplary leader who has proven her dedication to caring for our patients, building strong teams and serving the community.”
Thomas has worked in health care administration for 25 years, first joining Baptist in 2011 as vice president of operations and specialty services. In 2014 she was promoted to senior vice president of specialty services overseeing neurosciences, orthopedics and oncology, where she led the founding of Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2015.
In a 2019 profile after she was named one of Girls Inc. of Jacksonville’s Women of Vision, she told The Times-Union that she was born to teenage parents in an undesirable part of Houston. But she had involved parents, grandparents who raised her and, through a girls-only program, a network of outside support.
“Growing up I spent every Wednesday night at girls-only programs at my church,” Thomas told the paper. “Female adults poured into us, getting us engaged in community projects and helping us develop a network of girlfriends for support and encouragement as we traversed puberty and new life circumstances.
“There was safety to discuss perhaps what you couldn’t at home, providing you access for counsel to help with difficult decisions,” she said. “It was a lifeline because as the only child in my grandparents’ home, I found sisters to encourage me and adults who nurtured my natural abilities.”
Thomas went on to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees and work at St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System in Houston, as an operations administrator at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, then to Baptist.
In 2018 and 2020, she was among Modern Healthcare magazine’s Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. Also in 2020 she was among Becker’s Hospital Review’s 70 “African American leaders in health care to know.”
She is volunteers in the community and has leadership roles in several local organizations.
Thomas is a member of the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Jacksonville branch, the board of directors of Tiger Academy and serves on the OneJax Advisory Board. In addition, she was the first chapter president of the North Florida Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She currently serves on the senior advisory council of the Florida chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
[email protected], (904) 359-4109