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Dallas 500

Meet the Dallas 500: Dr. Karen Duncan, JPS Health Network

The public health system leaders shares her desires for industry change, prized possession, and must-read book.
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Dr. Karen Duncan arrived at JPS Health Network two months before the pandemic as chief operating officer, and by the end of 2021, she was promoted to president and CEO of the Tarrant County safety net hospital system. She became the first woman and first black person to lead the network.

Duncan trained to be a pediatrician, but is now focused on the $800 million JPS Bond Program that will redefine the hospitals main 582-bed Fort Worth hospital and add a medical home that serves southwest Tarrant County. The entire transformation is set to cost around $1.5 billion. Below, learn about her must read book, prized possession, and what she would change about her industry.

Education: Emory University (MD)

Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio

Biggest Success: “JPS Health Network provides healthcare for the residents of Tarrant County. In 2018, Tarrant County residents overwhelmingly approved an $800 million dollar bond to build new facilities and to improve access to care. During the past year, we have had two groundbreakings for the Psychiatric Emergency Center and new community medical home.”

Prized possession: “My family Ohio State Buckeyes Football season tickets.”

Destination of choice: “Anyplace with a beach.”

Key Strategies: “Surround yourself with the expertise needed for the times you’re navigating through. Trust that you have the right people who can support with the information and stand beside you as you’re leading.”

Karaoke song: “‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ by Whitney Houston”

Childhood dream: “To become a television correspondent or anchor.”

Embarrassing moment: “During a new employee breakfast, I had on mismatched shoes in which several employees noticed and told me!”

Food I hate: “Liver”

Industry change: “The stability of our workforce has been challenging since the pandemic, therefore, I would like to decrease the amount of professionals leaving the healthcare industry.”

Go-to adviser: “I recognize the thoughts of others around me, several individuals have contributed to who I am what I have become as a leader.”

Hobby: “Riding my Peloton bike every morning at 4 am, reading most genres including historical fiction, biographies, and audio books on long road trips.”

Must-read: Warmth of Others Sons by Isabel Wilkerson 


Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior editor for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…

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