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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Niti Singh Armistead

CHIEF QUALITY OFFICER AND CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER
ECU HEALTH
GREENVILLE

Niti Singh Armistead, the chief quality officer and chief clinical officer at ECU Health in Greenville, keeps making the right career choices.

In college at George Mason University, she switched her major from engineering to physics and pre-medicine after she discovered that there were loans available to pay for medical school. “I appreciate what programmers do every day, but I realized that my own joy was working in the medical field,” she says.

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, she specialized in anesthesiology, thinking her physics background would be helpful. She switched to internal medicine because she found the long-term relationships with patients more enduring and satisfying.

Now, at ECU Health, she’s focused on acute care and still sees patients on a regular basis. She took on administrative roles in 2018 and 2019 before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, successfully helping steer the healthcare system during a challenging time.

“None of us knew what we were in for,” says Armistead. “For me, it all just kind of came together. How do you support an already underserved population? How do you rise to the occasion as the only healthcare system east of I-95 with an academic arm to do it all, to build the infrastructure for the testing and to educate the community? Those were the kind of interventions I got to lead.”

Armistead was 18 when her parents, Narendra and Asha, immigrated to the United States from India. She worked as a waitress and a cook at a Pizza Hut while in college. After medical school, she completed her internship, residence and a chief medical resident year in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. Before joining ECU Health, she was the chief quality officer at West Virginia University Hospitals.

ECU Health has 1,708 beds across an academic medical center with two campuses, and is a teaching hospital for the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. It also operates eight community hospitals as well as outpatient facilities, home health, hospice and wellness centers in 110 locations.

Armistead, who joined ECU in 2012, became senior medical director for quality in 2014 and director of the Teachers of Quality Academy at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine in 2016. She became chief medical officer in July 2018 and chief quality and safety officer a year later. “[The public] should have confidence that they’re going to get evidence-based care in a highly reliable way all the time.”

Technology, she adds, is a big component, and the speed at which changes were made increased during COVID. Armistead says she’s a big believer in responding to data to drive improvements.

Armistead and her dermatologist husband, Dr. Drury Armistead, have two daughters, Veda and Asha, who are in their 20s. She says being a parent has been just as important to her development as treating patients and holding administrative roles. “I find it the most fulfilling,” she says. “It’s allowed me to be a better leader and a better human.”

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Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at croush@businessnc.com.

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