Who's Who of Top Executives

K. Dawn Forbes, MD

Title: Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, United States

K. Dawn Forbes, MD, founder and chief executive officer at NASCEND LLC, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in neonatal care and behavioral health.

With over a decade of experience to her credit, Dr. Forbes has distinguished herself in the field of neonatal care and behavioral health. She is the founder and chief executive officer of NASCEND, a role she has held since 2016. Under her leadership, NASCEND has committed to improving care for infants in Kentucky exposed to opioids. The organization engages medical and social resources to provide comprehensive care and has developed technology applications to facilitate education, training, and resources. Additionally, they have implemented certification and continuing education programs to incentivize providers to adopt new approaches and deliver higher levels of care. Her dedication to this mission has extended to providing training and services across 38 states. In addition, she has been a physician consultant at the Center for Behavioral Health since 2014 and a neonatologist at Norton Healthcare since 2008. She also served as the medical director at Frankfort Regional Medical Center from 2019 to 2020 and worked as a hospitalist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 2007 to 2008. Earlier in her career, she gained valuable experience with Baxter Diagnostics.

Dr. Forbes has also significantly contributed to her field through her creative works. She authored “Casein Hydrolysate Feeding Decreases Days of Hospitalization and Morphine Use in Opiate Exposed Infants When Breastmilk is Not Available,” and presented a poster titled “Pediatric Academic Societies Abstract” in 2019. Her article “The Effect of NICU Music Therapy on the Symptoms of Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome” was published in Imagine in 2017. Additionally, she authored “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Management from Prenatal Counseling to Post-Discharge Follow-Up: Results of a National Survey,” published in Hospital Pediatrics in 2013. Before embarking on her professional path, she studied at Pfeiffer University, earning a Bachelor of Science in chemistry in 1991. She continued her academic efforts at Barry University, where she obtained a Master of Science in biomedical sciences in 1997. Dr. Forbes then completed her medical degree at St. George’s University in 2002. She holds board of medicine licenses in Kentucky and Indiana, which she acquired in 2008.

In addition to her primary vocation, Dr. Forbes remains actively involved in various organizations. She has been a member of the Venture Connectors and has served on the board of ChooseWell Communities from 2016 to 2019. She also held the role of medical director for ChooseWell Communities’ Project Thrive from 2015 to 2019. Her professional memberships include the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Greater Louisville Medical Society. In light of her impressive undertakings, she was recognized as one of the Top Social Impact Companies by Canopy in 2023 and one of the Top Ten Health Education Service Providers by Healthcare Business Review in 2023. Additionally, she was named among Forbes’ Next 1000 Entrepreneurs To Watch in 2021 and received the Healthcare Heroes Innovator Award from Business First Louisville in 2020. Dr. Forbes attributes her success to her passion for her work in the health care field. Looking ahead, she envisions NASCEND becoming the standard of care for opioid-exposed infants and their families. She advises those aspiring to work in her industry to take a reflective and contemplative approach to their career planning. She recommends engaging in real-world exploration, shadowing professionals, and seeking out mentors. 

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