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A place-based health collaborative that delivers health and economic development benefits to Baton Rouge and beyond.

Health District

What is it and why do we need one?

As the largest employers in their respective cities and major drivers of economic and urban development, hospitals, health systems and affiliated organizations can influence the non-clinical factors that impact health outcomes.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DISTRICT COLLABORATION?

Better Healthcare For All

It's all about health. Providers in the Baton Rouge Health District can leverage their unique capabilities to deliver high-quality healthcare in a way that is greater than the sum of their parts. As a unified medical community, the Health District provides a platform for community health initiatives and collaboration. Whether it's finding shared cost savings or supporting research, the Health District exists to maximize the positive impact of its member institutions.

Sustainable Economic Development

Thriving institutions translate into a healthy economy. The healthcare industry already drives job growth and real estate development across the city, parish and region. The Health District will give Baton Rouge an edge to compete with medical centers nationwide on destination healthcare.

A Healthy Environment

Imagine if the areas surrounding our hospitals reflected health: a place where it's easy to walk between medical offices, parks, restaurants, and shops, or to escape to a quiet, natural setting for some fresh air. By planning together, the Health District can create a more connected, cohesive community that supports healthy behaviors like walking and biking. The Health District enables coordination of land use and transportation investment decisions and proposes an invitation and connected public realm with safe streets and paths for pedestrian and bike activity.

The Baton Rouge Health District is both a place and an organization. Providers in the Health District are facing the same challenges. Together, they can also share some key benefits.

Events Happening in the District

Baton Rouge Health District Member Organizations

Board Members

Todd D. Stevens, President and CEO
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

Todd Stevens has helmed Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, a nonprofit, community-owned organization, for 17 years. Stevens and the board of directors’ fundamental belief that everyone should have local access to high-quality cancer care has been the catalyst for Mary Bird Perkins realizing its vision to become Louisiana’s leading cancer care organization.

In recent years, Stevens’ focus on local access to quality cancer care has led to successful, innovative partnerships with hospitals, physicians and cancer support organizations to establish comprehensive cancer programs impacting every aspect of the cancer care continuum. These efforts have resulted in the provision of vital services to cancer patients, close to home. Hospitals affiliated with Mary Bird Perkins in this effort include Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma and St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington. Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center also has locations in Hammond and Gonzales.

All efforts led by Stevens have one goal in common: furthering the mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer. Stevens has spearheaded multi-million dollar expansions of facilities and leading-edge technology for all centers to enhance the patient experience, including a recent $23 million renovation at Mary Bird Perkins − Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. He also leads the organization’s emphasis on the lifesaving message of early detection with more than 74,000 people receiving free cancer screenings since 2002, a program made possible by incredible community generosity.

During Stevens’ tenure, the groundbreaking Mary Bird Perkins - LSU Medical Physics partnership was formed, opening up new and exciting areas of cancer research and educational opportunities in the highly-specialized field of medical physics. He was also instrumental in Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s participation in two National Cancer Institute programs – the NCI Community Cancer Center Program (NCCCP) which enhanced community cancer care across the country and NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program, an initiative increasing access to clinical trials for Gulf Coast residents.   

In addition to serving as a member of the Baton Rouge Health District’s Board of Directors, Stevens served on the Louisiana MediFund governing board, is an Advanced Member of Healthcare Financial Management Association and past Chairman of the Louisiana Cancer and Lung Trust Fund Board.

Eric McMillen, CEO
Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge
Eric McMillen serves as Chief Executive Officer for Ochsner Baton Rouge.  He began his career at Ochsner in 2000 as an Administrative Fellow and has extensive experience in both clinic and hospital operations. McMillen has held various leadership positions within Ochsner Health System in both the New Orleans and Baton Rouge regions including Director of Radiation Oncology, Interim Director of Cancer Services, Director of Clinical Services, Assistant Administrator, and Chief Operating Officer. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of several community boards including the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, the Livingston Economic Development Council, the Mayor's Healthy Initiative, and the Baton Rouge Health District.  He holds a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Bachelor's from LSU Medical Center in Rehabilitation Services.  McMillen completed Harvard Business School's Managing Healthcare Delivery course in 2014.

Teri Fontenot, FACHE, President and CEO
Woman's Hospital

Teri Fontenot, FACHE, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Woman's Hospital, a 350 bed Level III regional referral hospital for obstetrics and women's cancer care. Woman's Hospital is the largest birthing and neonatal intensive care facility in Louisiana, and provides the highest level of critical care for women and infants. Woman's is one of four Magnet hospitals in Louisiana, a distinction awarded by the American Nurses Association in recognition of the highly skilled and dedicated care provided by the staff. It was named as a Top 100 Best Place to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine all seven years that the award has been given. Its $340 million replacement campus opened in August 2012 with increased capacity for current services and new growth opportunities.

Teri served two terms as a member of the board of directors of the Sixth District Federal Reserve Bank and chaired its Audit Committee. Headquartered in Atlanta, the board oversees the Federal Reserve operations for six southeastern states. She is on the board of the Louisiana State University System Research and Technology Foundation and the Baton Rouge Water Company, chaired the Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce in 2001, was an independent director on the Capital One Mutual Funds board and chaired the Audit Committee, and is on the Baton Rouge advisory board for IBERIABANK.

Teri was the 2012 chair of the American Hospital Association board of trustees. She has chaired the Chief Executive Officers Committee of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has also served on its board and Officer Nominating Committee. She is chair of the Louisiana Hospital Association Professional and General Liability Trust Fund. Other healthcare service includes a six-year term on the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health for the National Institutes of Health and chair of the board of the Louisiana Hospital Association in 2002. 

Teri was named Businessperson of the Year in 2013 by the Baton Rouge Business Report, received the inaugural Becker's Hospital Review Healthcare Leadership award in 2013, and was the only Louisianian named to the Modern Healthcare magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2011 and 2012. She was also named in 2012 as one of the 40 Most Powerful People in Healthcare by Becker's Hospital Review, was a 2011 inductee of the Louisiana State University E. J. Ourso College of Business Hall of Distinction, received the Louisiana Hospital Association's Golden Pelican President's award in 2010, received the ACHE Service award in 2009, and named to Modern Healthcare magazine's inaugural list of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare in 2005.

She graduated with honors from the University of Mississippi with a BBA in Accounting and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Northeast Louisiana University. She is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

William T. Cefalu, MD, Executive Director
LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Dr. William T. Cefalu is the executive director of LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He also holds the George A. Bray, Jr. Endowed Super Chair in Nutrition.

He maintains an active research portfolio at both the clinical and basic levels. On a clinical science level, he is interested in interventions aimed at improving the metabolic state of individuals with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. On a basic science level, he is interested in cellular mechanisms for insulin resistance. In addition, Dr. Cefalu serves as director for two collaborative research consortiums funded by the National Institutes of Health - the Center for the Study of Botanicals and Metabolic Syndrome and  the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LACaTS) – both of which are based at Pennington Biomedical.

Dr. Cefalu is published widely in journals, books, and book chapters and he has edited several textbooks on the management of diabetes. He was an associate editor for both the clinical research journal Diabetes Care and for the basic research journal Diabetes of the American Diabetes Association. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of Diabetes Care and he lectures both nationally and internationally

Prior to his appointment at Pennington Biomedical, he served as director of the clinical trials unit at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed his residency and was chief resident at the University of California-Irvine Long Beach VA Medical Center. He also completed a fellowship in Metabolism and Endocrinology at the UCLA Center for Health Sciences. He has served on the faculty at Tulane University School of Medicine and Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where he was director of the Diabetes Comprehensive Care Programs.

Steven Udvarhelyi, MD, President & CEO
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Dr. Steven Udvarhelyi joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Lousiana as president and chief executive officer in 2016. He is a board-certified internist and has more than 25 years of experience in the health insurance industry.

Prior to joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Dr. Udvarhelyi was with Independence Blue Cross (IBC) in Philadelphia for almost 20 years, most recently serving as executive vice president, health services and chief strategy officer. Before IBC, he worked for Prudential Health Care in a variety of roles, including vice president, operations for Florida and vice president, medical services.

Dr. Udvarhelyi received an A.B. degree from Harvard College, an M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in Health Services Administration from the Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to his career in the managed care and health insurance industry, Dr. Udvarhelyi was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School with a focus on health services research.

Dr. Udvarhelyi currently serves on the National Board of Trustees for the Devereux Foundation. He has also served on the Board of Directors of NaviNet, which he chaired, the Board of Trustees of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, the Board of Managers for Tandigm Health,  the Board of Directors of NCQA, the Board of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on Evidence-based Medicine and the IOM Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research Priorities.

John Spain, Vice President
Baton Rouge Area Foundation


John Spain is executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, where he oversees all the long-term community projects. His department's current projects include master plans for the Baton Rouge lakes and for the Health District surrounding Bluebonnet and Essen, as well as commuter rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, improved services for people with autism and rebuilding the inner city. In his past life, John was managing director of the Powell Group, a private holding company with radio stations, commercial timber, rice milling and real estate development. John started his professional career in the field of broadcasting and worked at WBRZ-TV, the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge for 23 years. He served in various capacities including investigative reporter, news director and station manager.

Scott Wester, President & CEO
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center

Scott Wester is the President of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System Operations Group and Chief Executive Officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, a position he has held since March of 2008.  As part of his role, Wester directs the operations of the largest hospital within the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, a non-profit, mission-focused Catholic healthcare ministry with hospitals in five Louisiana cities.  Wester also serves as the President of the Operations Group for the health system and is responsible for oversight of all the hospital markets within the health system as well as Senior Services.

With more than 20 years of service to the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Wester has held numerous positions including President/Chief Executive Officer of St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Louisiana for four years and President/Chief Executive Officer of St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales. 

Wester is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and holds a Masters of Hospital and Health Administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Humanities, graduating magna cum laude from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives and has served as its CEO Committee Chair. He has also served as Louisiana Hospital Association Board Chair, VHA Gulf States Board Member, and has served as Chairman for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce.  

Edgardo Tenreiro, Interim President & CEO
Baton Rouge General Medical Center

Edgardo Tenreiro serves as acting CEO for Baton Rouge General/General Health System. As BRG’s Executive Vice President and COO for six years, Tenreiro oversees all clinical, physician relations, finance and quality management for the two-hospital system.
 
A graduate of Notre Dame with both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, Tenreiro actively participates in all Board meetings and subcommittees, including Finance, Strategic Planning, Quality and Patient Safety.
 
During his tenure at BRG, Tenreiro has implemented major initiatives such as Lean Six Sigma, Quality Improvement, balanced scorecard, talent management, labor productivity, antibiotic stewardship, palliative care, geriatric psychiatry, pediatric urgent care, breast center, cardiology tower, an operating room expansion, a hybrid suite, robotic surgery and a 64-bed expansion.
 
Previously, he served as Vice President of Operations Management and Marketing; Cardiology and Oncology; then Operations for the Naples campus of NCH Healthcare System in Naples, Florida.

Baton Rouge Health District

The District Campus

Priority: The need to connect institutions in a healthy environment.

Street Map

Health Loop

Contact Us

BATON ROUGE HEALTH DISTRICT

For more than 20 years, Suzy Sonnier has advocated for Louisiana residents in healthcare, human services, and education. In March 2016, she was appointed the Baton Rouge Health District’s first Executive Director.

In her role, Sonnier works with hospital administrators, government agencies, community leaders and medical staff to implement the Health District’s vision and strategic plan.  The plan creates a unified medical community that enables Baton Rouge healthcare providers to combine their strengths and make coordinated investment decisions that will enhance healthcare in the region, facilitate economic development and promote Baton Rouge as a destination for healthcare.

Sonnier previously served as Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services, where she managed Louisiana’s child welfare, child support enforcement, disability determination services, and low-income economic assistance programs. Prior to that, she was the Chief Operations Officer at the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

She holds a Masters of Public Administration from LSU and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She was selected by Health District members after a regional search.

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