LHC Board Spotlight: Duncan Allen

At the Nashville Health Care Council we are honored to have a diverse community of healthcare leaders of every level. As healthcare evolves and grows, so does our Council membership.  One way we support building and growing the healthcare talent pipeline is the Leadership Health Care (LHC) program. Leadership Health Care fosters the next generation of healthcare leaders by creating educational and networking opportunities for members.  We look to our Leadership Health Care Board of Directors to share their experience and spotlight their achievements to provide lessons and examples of success for the full Nashville Health Care Community. 

Meet Leadership Health Care Board Member: Duncan Allen

Duncan Allen, MHA, serves as Senior Vice President at Main Street Health, a Nashville-based rural value-based care company spanning 26 states and over 1,200 clinics. As an operator with over 15 years of experience Duncan has enjoyed leading operations in both hospital-based and community-based settings. Previously, he held the role of Senior Vice President at OneOncology, the largest independent oncology group in the U.S. (acquired by AmerisourceBergen), and gained valuable experience at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Throughout his career, Duncan has remained dedicated to enhancing access to high-quality specialty services, making a meaningful impact on patient care nationwide.

How did Leadership Health Care influence your career?

Leadership Health Care (LHC) has been my home base for all things healthcare since I moved to Nashville over a decade ago. Over the course of my career the relationships I have developed through LHC have been foundational for building my understanding of the industry. In many ways I often think of LHC as your own personal library for healthcare. Just as a library houses a diverse collection of books that can be referenced to gain wisdom on various topics, LHC offers access to a wealth of experience and advice from different healthcare experts who span the spectrum of the industry.

Tell us about a professional success story that you’re proud of.

My north star has always been on improving care for every patient and community I touch. Even after having built and scaled new businesses and clinical programs across the country I can honestly say that my first job in healthcare is the one of which I am most proud. Immediately upon graduating from college, rather than moving to NYC as most of my friends were I chose to help launch a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the rural town where I grew up in the Piedmont-region of North Carolina. At the time we launched 20% of the county was uninsured and the unemployment rate had risen to 12%. Many of the patients we treated were those who had suffered in silence for years. With over one-third of the county suffering from hypertension we really had our work cut out for us. Over the course of 12 months we were able to secure enough funding to expand access for many patients who would otherwise have nowhere to go. If I have learned anything it is that nothing can ever replace the fulfillment you get from knowing you made a positive impact on your community.

What inspired you to choose your current career path?

Healthcare has been a cornerstone of my life for as long as I can remember. Coming from a family of healthcare entrepreneurs spanning three generations, I witnessed early on the challenges and rewards of running a healthcare business. What truly resonated with me, though, was the opportunity to pursue a career path where making a positive impact aligns with achieving success—a sentiment often echoed in Nashville. The prospect of addressing complex healthcare challenges with the potential to significantly benefit communities was and still is particularly compelling to me.

What has surprised you most about working in the healthcare industry?

What has surprised me the most is the monumental role policy and advocacy play in what we all know to be the established norms of healthcare in the United States. Understanding the intricate interplay between legislation, regulatory frameworks, and advocacy efforts is essential. These elements influence everything from reimbursement models to the accessibility and quality of patient care. Advocacy efforts can prompt legislative actions that address pressing issues such as like funding drug development and patient rights, which reshapes the landscape and ensures we evolve to meet contemporary needs and challenges. Recognizing and engaging in these policy and advocacy processes can position organizations to better navigate and influence the future of healthcare.

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before entering the industry, what would it be?

I would probably tell myself that pursuing the hardest problems that you are most passionate about is a transformative approach to shaping a happy career and life. If you can dedicate yourself to solving significant challenges that resonate deeply with your values and interests, you have the opportunity to infuse your career with purpose and meaning. Tackling the most complex issues in the industry will lead to personal and professional growth and this positive impact builds confidence and expertise. Ultimately, by committing to the most challenging and meaningful problems, you create a career path that is both rewarding and impactful, contributing to your overall well-being and happiness.

How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?

I have built confidence by consistently turning the unfamiliar into the familiar, transforming difficult challenges into routine accomplishments. Each new task or project initially presented uncertainty, but by consistently tackling these head-on, I gradually expanded my comfort zone and skill set. Resiliency (or grit as I call it) has played a crucial role in my journey. Healthcare is inherently unpredictable, and setbacks are inevitable, whether it is serving complex patients or navigating intricate regulatory changes. When faced with these challenges, I have learned to embrace them as learning opportunities. By analyzing what went wrong and how to improve, I continuously grew and adapted. This mindset allowed me to make significant strides in my professional development, converting obstacles into stepping stones. By leveraging resiliency, I not only enhanced my own capabilities but also contributed more effectively to my teams and the patients we have served.

The Next Generation of Healthcare Leaders

Leadership Health Care’s mission is to cultivate talented healthcare professionals into the industry leaders of tomorrow. LHC aims to provide young professionals with ongoing opportunities to develop their knowledge of the healthcare industry through educational events and networking opportunities. Fill out this form to learn more about LHC.