Piedmont Augusta’s Dr. Lily Henson

By Dustin Turner

A neurologist for more than 30 years, Dr. Lily Henson went into the medical field to make a difference. For that reason, she is thankful she discovered a love for leadership early in her career. In January, Henson was named the chief executive officer of Piedmont Augusta, which includes the former University Hospital, the University Summerville campus and the University McDuffie Hospital.

“In medicine, you get to make a difference in the life of one patient at a time,” Henson says. “In leadership, you can make a difference in the life of a community. That is something that has driven me over the years in the various leadership roles that I have had.” Henson began her Piedmont career in 2015 as the chief of neurology for Piedmont Henry in Stockbridge, Ga. A year later, she transitioned to serve as chief medical officer and then as CEO of the hospital, a position she left for Augusta. 

Before Piedmont, Henson gained decades of clinical and administrative leadership experience, from leading a clinical practice to serving in leadership roles at large complex organizations. 

She received her medical degree from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Honors Program in Medical Education and practiced neurology in Seattle with Swedish Health Services for 25 years.

She is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American College of Healthcare Executives. Henson serves on the board of directors of the American Academy of Neurology and recently completed her second stint on the board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dr. Lily Henson is married to a neuro-oncologist and they have two adult children and a golden Labrador named Sir Mikey.

Henson attributes her career success to her firm belief in servant leadership. “The role of a leader is to serve the people you lead,” Henson explains. “I’m there to support the team and to make sure the people have the resources they need to be able to do that.”

“The secret to success in Augusta will be to make sure we continue to provide the excellent care and service that University [Health Care System] has been known for over the past 200 years,” she says. “The value of Piedmont is that Augusta now has the resources of a larger organization along with the continued interest in maintaining excellent care.”

She knows it sounds cliché or like a “company line,” but she really does love working for Piedmont Healthcare. “I love the organization’s mission. It’s important to work for an organization whose values align with your own,” she says. “I love how we put the patient at the center of everything we do. When we’re having difficult conversations and trying to figure out what to do next in a particular situation, we always ask what will be best for the patient.”

Appears in the February/March issue of Augusta Magazine.

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