James Fortenberry, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Fortenberry is an Atlanta native who first joined Children’s as an attending physician in the Egleston Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in 1992. He was named as Physician-in-Chief in 2009, having previously served as Chief of Egleston’s Division of Critical Care Medicine from 2003 to 2009, Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Director, PICU Medical Director and Medical Director of Pediatric Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a service that provides support with a heart-lung bypass machine for gravely ill children with lung or heart failure. He became Chief Physician Officer at Children’s in 2018 prior to becoming Chief Medical Officer in 2020.

Throughout his career, Dr. Fortenberry has contributed to Children’s mission as a clinical intensivist, researcher, leader and educator. He has been involved in a variety of medical staff, administrative and quality improvement initiatives, including serving as President of Children’s Professional Staff. He has led in many capacities with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, for which he is the Past-President, and the American Board of Pediatrics, where he served as the Chair of the Critical Care Sub-Board. Dr. Fortenberry’s research has focused on sepsis and novel use of therapeutic modalities, such as EMO and plasma exchange, for which he is an internationally sought-after speaker.

Dr. Fortenberry has served the community on several boards, including Children’s Foundation Board of Trustees, The 1998 Society, the Atlanta Advisory Board of the American Heart Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association Patient Safety Organization.

He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta. Dr. Fortenberry completed general pediatrics residency at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., followed by a fellowship in pediatric critical care at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. Dr. Fortenberry and his wife Janet have three children and six grandchildren. He enjoys reading, hiking, playing with his grandchildren and everything Carolina.