Since 1924, Willis Knighton has served the needs of this community with an eye toward the future. The hospital was founded as Tri-State Sanitarium by Dr. T.E. Williams and Dr. L.H. Pirkle to address needs in the fast-growing neighborhoods of west Shreveport. It was sold four years later to Dr. James C. Willis and Dr. Joseph E. Knighton. In 1950, a year after it transitioned to a not-for-profit healthcare organization, it was named in honor of Doctors Willis and Knighton. The vision of early founders grew as Shreveport grew, helping to establish Willis Knighton as a leader in the field of healthcare locally, regionally and nationally.

The years have brought changes in technology and treatment along with tremendous growth. From one small hospital, Willis Knighton has grown to encompass multiple facilities, spanning the entire continuum of care for residents in northwest Louisiana and the Ark-La-Tex. Today the health system includes four hospitals as well as a retirement community and a full range of support services.

Willis-Knighton has offered many firsts in our community, including:

  • Satellite hospital
  • Center for women’s health
  • Eye institute
  • Heart and vascular institute
  • Collaboration as a private hospital with a public, academic medical center, Louisiana Health Shreveport.
  • Innovation center with virtual hospital
  • Talbot Medical Museum
  • Senior residential options at The Oaks of Louisiana to enhance continuum of care
  • Freestanding hospital for physical and behavioral rehabilitation
  • Numerous “firsts” in technology and procedures, including proton therapy and TomoTherapy at the Willis-Knighton Cancer Center, state-of-the art imaging and diagnostic services, innovative cardiovascular technology and eye surgery technology.

The remarkable advances of Willis Knighton from a small neighborhood hospital to a regional health system have been due, in large measure, to the vision and leadership of James K. Elrod who was President & CEO of the health system for 56 years. Upon announcing his retirement, he was named President Emeritus of the health system. 

Learn More About James K. Elrod

Willis Knighton’s past is closely tied to those of its friends and neighbors and so is the health system’s future.

Willis Knighton is a not-for-profit, locally-operated healthcare organization dedicated to caring for the people in our community and investing in their health and wellness. The health system’s growth is a result of consistently responding to community needs, a mission it will continue well into the future.