James D Fortenberry, MD

Critical Care Physician


Primary Specialty

Critical Care

Leadership Titles

Chief Physician Officer and Pediatrician-in-Chief


Board Certification
Am Bd Pediatrics (Sub: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine)
Medical School:
Medical College of Georgia
Charlotte Memorial Hospital & Medical Center
Charlotte Memorial Hospital & Medical Center
Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals


Pubmed Profile



Dr. Fortenberry first joined Children’s as an attending physician in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children’s at Egleston in 1992. Prior to being named Chief Medical Officer in 2020, he served as Chief Physician Officer in 2019, Pediatrician in Chief/Chief of the Medicine Service Line from 2009-2018, and President of the Children’s Professional Staff 2005-2008. In his current role as CMO, Dr. Fortenberry provides physician and operational oversight to one of the largest pediatric healthcare systems in the country.

Dr. Fortenberry served previously as Chief of Emory/Egleston’s Division of Critical Care Medicine from 2003-2009, Medical Director of the Egleston PICU, Medical Director of Pediatric Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and founding director of the Emory/Children’s Critical Care Fellowship training program. Dr. Fortenberry is currently serving as Interim Chief of Critical Care Medicine.

Throughout his career, Dr. Fortenberry has participated in or led a variety of medical staff, research, education, administrative and quality improvement initiatives. He has been engaged in many leadership capacities with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). He served as President of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO), the world’s largest organization for care and research in extracorporeal support. He also served on the Critical Care Sub-Board of the American Board of Pediatrics from 2011-2018. including leading as Chair. Dr. Fortenberry has had a long career in critical care research, with a broad array of international lectures and over 100 publications on sepsis, novel therapeutic modalities and critical care. He has been named a Master of Critical Care Medicine (MCCM) by SCCM and received the Distinguished Career Award from the Section on Critical Care of the AAP. He remains an Associate Editor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

A native of Atlanta, Dr. Fortenberry attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Dr. Fortenberry completed a pediatric 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 has a long history of clinical and research interests and publications in neutrophil-mediated tissue injury, nitric oxide, sepsis and extracorporeal support.

Focus of Practice

  • Critical Care Medicine
  • Hospital administration

Areas of Interest

  • ECMO
  • Sepsis


Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta (Administrative Ofcs)

Chief Medical Officer, 1575 Northeast Expressway Atlanta, GA 30329 Get Directions 404-785-1313

Childrens Physician Group - Sedation Services

Egleston hospital, 1405 Clifton Road NE Atlanta, GA 30322 Get Directions

Childrens Physician Group - Critical Care

Egleston hospital, 1405 Clifton Rd NE 4th Floor Atlanta, GA 30322 Get Directions

Professional Affiliations

  • Society of Critical Care Medicine
  • Extracorporeal Life Support Organization
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Board of Pediatrics

Research & Publications

Neutrophil-mediated tissue injury, nitric oxide, sepsis and extracorporeal support

In the News

Children’s Pediatrician-in-Chief Receives Distinguished Career Award

Dr. Fortenberry received the 2018 Distinguished Career Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Critical Care.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta