Much of Baton Rouge’s health care infrastructure and economy are concentrated along an unofficial and unorganized medical corridor—Essen, Bluebonnet, Perkins, I-10. Major health care employers and hospitals, educational institutions, destination shopping, dining, parks, and cherished neighborhoods—this busy hub has it all. Except a cohesive plan.
Now there’s a remedy.
In 2011, East Baton Rouge’s comprehensive plan, FuturEBR, found a critical need for better planning and coordination in this corridor—especially with $500 million in additional hospitals and clinics proposed for the area.
So, at the request of the FuturEBR Implementation Team, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation hired a team led by Perkins+Will to create a grand strategy for transforming this part of town into a Health District, a true destination in its own right.
Planners began by looking for ways to improve traffic flow in that congested corridor. But they quickly realized that, with so many health care resources concentrated in that part of town, there was an opportunity to create something much bigger, much better for Baton Rouge and the world.
The plan for the Health District will offer a place like no other. Marshaled together, the unique medical assets in this area will enable researchers and physicians to collaborate in productive new ways, to offer patients better health care, and to conduct clinical trials of the latest innovations. They can work together to challenge chronic illnesses, not only here at home, but also among the sick far outside our city limits and throughout the world.
A unified medical community, brought together within the bounds of a shared Health District, will enable Baton Rouge health care providers to combine their diverse strengths and compete with medical centers nationwide.
The Health District will enhance the well-being of not only the sick, but of many, many others in our community too. Coordinated investment decisions about land-use and transportation will create an interconnected, walkable community—an attractive place where patients and visitors, physicians and staff, commercial concerns and their customers can all thrive together.
What’s more, the implementation of a smart traffic plan will improve the flow of people and vehicles through this often gridlocked part of town, ultimately easing congestion for miles along roadways throughout the city, far outside the Health District itself.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation's master plan for the Health District is a prescription for a thriving but congested area where more health care assets will be under construction soon. Among its central recommendations are building new roads and upgrading infrastructure to improve circulation, expanding the Baton Rouge branch of LSU’s School of Medicine in New Orleans, opening a Diabetes and Obesity Center and creating a new nonprofit to implement the plan itself.