Cathleen A. Wheatley, DNP, RN, CENP

Cathleen Wheatley

Dr. Wheatley is President of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, NC. She joined Wake Forest Baptist in September of 2014 as System Chief Nurse Executive and was named President of the flagship 885-bed academic medical center in April of 2019. As President, she is responsible for the overall performance of health system operations at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center inclusive of Brenner Children’s Hospital and the Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

She brings disciplined leadership to bear on complex issues where clinical expertise, strategic thinking and organizational savvy are essential. As a leader, Dr. Wheatley uses experience and insight to provide structure, order, and clarity to enable teams to make rapid and lasting progress on critical issues. 

Dr. Wheatley’s naturally holistic and global perspective was enhanced when she served as the first Corporate Nurse Executive of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), in the United Arab Emirates. She was responsible for the professional practice and development of more than 9,000 Nursing and Allied Health professionals for which she generated formalized and benchmarked international competency and practice standards with an ongoing structured competency validation program. She led the improvement of patient outcomes throughout SEHA’s 12 hospitals and 62 ambulatory care clinics resulting in a reduction of adverse events, mortality, nursing-sensitive preventable conditions, and length-of-stay.

Earlier in her career, she held senior leadership positions at Dekalb Regional Health System in Atlanta, Ga., including Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Operating Officer, Chief Nurse Executive, and Chief Quality Officer.  

Dr. Wheatley earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing at Georgia State University and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice at the University of Central Florida. She is Board Certified with the American Organization of Nurse Leaders as a Certified Executive in Nursing Practice and completed the Nurse Leader Program at the Wharton School of Business. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, N.C. Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Leaders, N.C. Organization of Nurse Leaders, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. 

Active in professional organizations, Dr. Wheatley currently serves as President of the board of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR) and board member-at-large for the North Carolina Nurses Association. She is a member of the Beryl Institute CNO Council and the HealthLeaders CEO Exchange, and serves on the Advisory Board for Capella University School of Nursing and the Board of Visitors for the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Dr. Wheatley’s philanthropic interests include the economic independence of women in developing countries and educational preparatory programs with a global focus. She is a current sponsor of Women for Women International and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Atlanta International School.