Karen C. Matthews, PhD, CEO

Dr. Karen C. Matthews serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Delta Health Alliance, a non-profit organization that initiates, manages and supports a wide variety of health care initiatives across the 18 county region of the Mississippi Delta. Dr. Matthews supervises a staff of over a 100 and an annual budget in excess of $45 million.

Dr. Matthews has worked with Delta Health Alliance since 2006.  Prior to her current position, she served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and before that, as Assistant Dean for the College of Medicine.  As Vice Chancellor, she developed interdisciplinary collaborations in the areas of research, education, and patient care.  Dr. Fox, a native of Fulton, Mississippi, earned a Ph.D. in Health Science Administration from the University of Tennessee.  Her MBA came from the University of Memphis and her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Mississippi.

During her twenty-five years in health care administration, Dr. Matthews has focused on employing information technologies to improve the delivery of health care, nurturing collaborations among professional disciplines and community organizations, and using quantitative assessment and evaluation to guide public policy making.  She has served as principal investigator on numerous grants and contracts, authored more than fifty articles for academic journals, and written successful grant applications for more than $130 million in research support from U.S. Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Commerce, and Agriculture as well as numerous state and local funding agencies.

Summer GRADS by Karen Matthews

It’s an age-old dilemma facing young job seekers: Employers want to hire people with experience, but how do you get that experience when nobody wants to hire you because you don’t have any? The answer for Aaliya Hibbler and 67 other high school students has been a program called Summer GRADS — one of nine […]


Children Entering Kindergarten: Part IV by Karen Matthews

The last step in preparing your child and your household for kindergarten is to teach the importance of both sharing and listening. These two skills are integral to your child’s success throughout life. Giving your child many opportunities to practice sharing and taking turns will give your kindergartener a head start when entering the classroom in […]


Children Entering Kindergarten: Part III by Karen Matthews

Besides setting up your child for kindergarten success with strong routines and rules, you should also prep your child for the demands of kindergarten by encouraging your child to ask questions. By encouraging your new kindergartener to ask questions about things they don’t understand, you will give your child the confidence they need to ask […]


Children Entering Kindergarten: Part II by Karen Matthews

Beginning kindergarten is an important step for any family, but it is also a big change. That’s why it is imperative to start your routine early. Your child starting kindergarten will mean setting a bedtime and a wake up time as well as putting together a regular morning routine. Starting these routines a week before […]


Children entering Kindergarten: Get Familiar with Your School by Karen Matthews

For the next four days, I wanted to offer suggestions for those families who have a child entering kindergarten, even though they apply to any child in school. 1. The first step in preparing your household for kindergarten is to get familiar with your school. What parks and recreation centers are nearby? Who is your […]


Leland Medical Clinic Grand Opening by Karen Matthews

The staff of the Leland Medical Clinic and DHA employees were joined by Leland Mayor Kenny Thomas, Alderpersons, Lisa Bush,  Andy Petro and board members from the Leland Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting and  clinic grand opening on July 2.  During the open house, clinic visitors were given tours of the facility and […]



Leland Clinic Grand Opening by Karen Matthews

While our Leland Medical Clinic has been up and running for the past month, we have set the official Grand Opening for July 2 from 11:00 to 1:00.  City officials, clinic staff, and others will be on hand to greet visitors and patients, give tours, and answer questions. We are now averaging 15-17 patients a […]


Reducing Teen Pregnancy by Karen Matthews

For the last eight months, Delta Health Alliance staff members have been using a program aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  The program is called BART, for Becoming a Responsible Teen and to date 102 teenagers from the Indianola area have gone through the eight week program.  A trained teacher meets […]



Leland Medical Clinic Update

For the last month, Delta Health Alliance has been operating the Leland Medical Clinic.   In addition to helping patients who need medical services, our goal has also been to transform the clinic into what is called a “patient-centered medical home” (PCMH).  It is a new approach to providing primary care that seeks to address a […]



Education Strengthens the Southgate Community by Karen Matthews

Academic research has demonstrated over and over again that one of the barriers to economic and education progress in low income neighborhoods in lack of information about opportunities within the larger community.  Traditional media just doesn’t work in these neighborhoods.  To respond to this challenge one project of the Indianola Promise Community is to take […]



Fit Day in Indianola by Karen Matthews

Last Saturday, the Indianola Promise Community and the Mayor’s Health Council sponsored “Fit Day” in the Southgate neighborhood.  Encouraging children and parents to become more physically active and increase their intake of nutritious foods was the goal of the day long series of events.  Mayor Steve Rosenthal and his wife, IPC staff, and other community […]



Indianola Youth Council by Karen Matthews

Indianola’s middle and high school students are making a buzz in the community thanks to the newly formed Indianola Youth Council.  What started as a couple of concerned high school students wanting to bring positive changes to the community has now grown into a formal organization made up of students from grades eight through twelve. […]