Judy Faulkner
Courtesy photo.

Judy Faulkner, Founder and CEO of Epic Systems, will deliver the keynote address at the College of Public Health’s virtual Celebration of the Class of 2020 on May 22. Laura A. Siminoff, dean of the College of Public Health, and Veronica Hill-Millbourne, chair of the college’s Board of Visitors, also will deliver remarks, joined by faculty messages from each of the college’s departments. Hannah McKinney, a bachelor of science in public health graduate, is the student speaker. 

Faulkner founded Epic, with no venture capital and only two half-time assistants, in 1979 in a basement apartment in 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. Its software has been adopted by many of the most well-respected hospitals and health systems in the United States, including all 20 of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Medical Schools for Research and 20 of its 21 Best Hospitals. 

The company has gone on to introduce a number of 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 healthcare organizations. 

Faulkner was listed as one of 50 memorable contributors to healthcare IT by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society; and she was named by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Healthcare”, “40 of the Smartest People in Healthcare”, and—her favorite—the “26 of the Most Controversial People in Healthcare.” Modern Healthcare lists her in their 100 most influential people in healthcare, and she received the inaugural lifetime achievement award from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. 

Faulkner 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 serves on the University of Wisconsin Computer Science Board of Visitors and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Leadership Roundtable and the Aspen Health Strategy Group. She has pledged that 99% of her assets will go to philanthropy.

The May 22 celebration is not a replacement for the traditional graduation ceremony, which has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is instead a way to celebrate graduating students and allow them to remotely share the moment with family and friends. Each graduate will be recognized with their name read aloud alongside an individualized slide. 

The virtual celebration takes place on May 22 at 3 p.m. A link to the ceremony will be made available on the college website.