UT Southwestern Names New Chair of President’s Advisory Board

Debra Hunter Johnson will lead the diverse group of civic, corporate, foundation, and philanthropic leaders from the Dallas-Fort Worth region who comprise the President's Advisory Board. They serve as community voices and as UT Southwestern advocates for population health issues, champions for clinical excellence, and proponents for scientific advancements.

UT Southwestern Medical Center announced that Dallas business consultant, attorney, and investor Debra Hunter Johnson, founder of Reciprocity Consulting Group, will chair its President’s Advisory Board for the 2023-2025 term.

The board provides Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., president of UT Southwestern, and top executives with guidance on advancing UT Southwestern’s institutional missions and ambitious agenda, the school said.

“We are grateful for Debra’s leadership, insight, and counsel in this vital role as UT Southwestern continues to broaden its capacity to improve medical science while meeting the health care needs of our community, Texas, and beyond,” Podolsky, who holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science, said in a statement. “Debra’s distinctive blend of international, national, and regional experience, along with her intimate familiarity with UT Southwestern and the communities we serve, will help us advance UT Southwestern’s missions of care, research, and education.”

A diverse group of civic, corporate, foundation, and philanthropic leaders from the Dallas-Fort Worth region comprise the President’s Advisory Board. They serve as community voices and as UT Southwestern advocates for population health issues, champions of clinical excellence, and proponents for scientific advancements.

Championing equal access to healthcare

Debra Hunter Johnson is the new chair of the UTSW Presidential Advisory Board [Courtesy photo]

Johnson has served on the board since its inception and chaired the Marketing and Public Affairs Committee. She serves on the Executive, Nominations, and Technology Development committees, and succeeds Jeffrey A. Chapman to become the board’s third chair since it was established by Podolsky in 2017.

“It is my honor to be able to contribute to UT Southwestern’s impressive expansion, such as the exciting launch of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health, the institution’s first new school in more than 50 years,” Johnson said in a statement. “The vital academic medical training provided to generations of physicians, the research that fuels innovative medical treatments, and the nationally recognized care provided through its hospital and clinics are invaluable community assets.”

UTSW said that Johnson’s community service interests center on economic empowerment initiatives, developing confidence and resilience in young people, and equal access to healthcare.

Founder and funder

Johnson is a founding member of the Village Giving Circle, a group of Black women philanthropists who fund organizations and initiatives that benefit the Black community. Among her philanthropic endeavors with UT Southwestern, UTSW said that Johnson has supported the UTSW-affiliated global health initiative Bahir Dar Outreach for Neurology Education (BORNE), which facilitates neurological and emergency medicine education for Ethiopian physicians and hospitals to improve morbidity and mortality.

Johnson has more than 30 years of professional experience, including serving as an associate general counsel and human resources vice president at American Airlines and as an attorney at Chrysler.

She serves on the executive committee of the Texas Women’s Foundation board and co-chairs its Economic Leadership Council. Johnson also serves on the Dallas Economic Development Corp. Board and chairs its CEO Search Committee. She is an adviser to Kanarys Inc., a DEI SaaS technology company, and a mentor/partner at the Capital Factory, the most active startup investor/accelerator in Texas.

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