Karen K. Davis, PhD, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

Vice President & Chief Nursing Executive, University of Rochester Health System

Karen Davis provides executive system leadership for nursing and clinical support staff for Strong Memorial Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Wilmot Cancer Institute and University of Rochester affiliates: Highland Hospital, FF Thompson Hospital, Jones Memorial Hospital, Nicholas Noyes Memorial Hospital, and St. James Hospital. Karen also serves as Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing and Assistant Dean for Clinical Practice at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Since her arrival in 2018, Karen has focused on optimizing the health system by designing system level nursing leadership roles, formalizing communication structures, standardizing policies and education, and harmonizing technology. She is working to establish innovative approaches for leadership development, clinical competency assessment, team building, and staff education across the enterprise. Karen is passionate about the patient experience and service excellence and prioritizes leadership development and retention of top talent as the key to organizational success.

Prior to joining URMC, Karen spent 30 years with the Johns Hopkins Health System. She began her nursing career as a neuroscience critical care nurse, then moving through various leadership positions, including Nurse Manager, Director of Medical and Radiology Nursing, and Chief Nursing Officer for a community hospital affiliate. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Towson University, she completed her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University. Karen is a graduate of the Academy GE Fellows program for Nurse Executives sponsored by the Health Management Academy, and now serves on their advisory board. In 2017, Karen received the Dean’s Alumni Award for Outstanding Nurse Leader from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She is an international speaker and published author in the fields of heart failure, cognitive impairment and leadership development. Karen is board-certified as an Advanced Nurse Executive by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


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