judy faulkner

Judith Faulkner

Photo credit: Courtesy photo

In recognition of her inspirational career and steadfast efforts to improve the health and well-being of individuals and populations across the globe, Judith Faulkner, founder and chief executive officer of Epic, will be presented with a university honorary degree at the College of Public Health’s graduation ceremony at the Liacouras Center on May 6. She will also give the keynote address. Jasmine Dantzler, who is graduating with a bachelor of science in health professions and will continue working toward earning her doctor of physical therapy at the College of Public Health, will be the student speaker.

Faulkner founded Epic with no venture capital and only two half-time assistants in 1979 in a basement of an apartment house in Madison, Wisconsin. Without ever taking the company public, she grew it from its beginnings as a clinical database company to the nation’s leading provider of integrated healthcare software. Epic software has been adopted by the most well-respected hospitals and health systems in the United States; the top 20 best hospitals and top 20 best medical schools for research according to U.S. News & World Report all use Epic.

The company has gone on to introduce several health technology firsts, including the first successful graphical user interface-based electronic medical record (EMR), the first integrated patient portal, and the first comprehensive health record (CHR) integrating healthcare, mental health, social care, specialty pharmacy, genomics, dental, payers, retail medicine, and workplace health. Epic is frequently named overall best software suite by KLAS, the leading Health IT research firm.

In 2021, Forbes magazine named Faulkner second on its list of American Self-Made Women and among America’s Top 50 Women in Tech. Modern Healthcare lists her in its 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare, and she received the inaugural lifetime achievement award from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. 

Faulkner was born in Philadelphia and raised in Erlton, N.J. She received a master of science in computer science from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor of science in mathematics from Dickinson College, as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Wisconsin and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Leadership Roundtable and the Aspen Health Strategy Group. In 2016, Faulkner’s unmatched generosity led her to sign The Giving Pledge and commit to donate 99 percent of her wealth to philanthropic causes.

“Judith Faulkner is a trailblazer who transformed the delivery of healthcare by giving healthcare providers and patients access to information in formats that were not possible with paper charts. Her innovations have improved not only the efficiency of care delivery, but more importantly, patient safety, and are providing the data needed by researchers to save countless lives,” says Laura A. Siminoff, dean of the College of Public Health.