June 28, 2016

Baton Rouge Health District Names Board of Directors

Nonprofit builds upon collective strengths to achieve healthcare vision for the region

With aims of collaboratively improving health outcomes, increasing economic development and promoting Baton Rouge as a healthcare destination, the Baton Rouge Health District has enlisted Chief Executives from the area’s largest and most distinguished health and research institutions for its Board of Directors.
“The founding members of the Baton Rouge Health District Board of Directors are visionary CEOs whose organizations have a significant impact on healthcare throughout our community” said Suzy Sonnier, health district executive director. “With changes in healthcare continuing at an incredibly rapid pace, the Board of Directors is focused on where we want to be as a healthcare community both now and 20 years down the road.  Working collectively, we can enhance our ability to provide high-quality, cost-effective and outcomes-driven healthcare in the Baton Rouge area.”
The founding members of the Baton Rouge Health District Board of Directors are:

  • Dr. William Cefalu, executive director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University
  • Teri Fontenot, Woman’s Hospital president and CEO
  • Eric McMillen, Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge CEO
  • Mark Slyter, General Health System president and CEO
  • Todd Stevens, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center CEO
  • Dr. I. Steve Udvarhelyi, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana president and CEO
  • Scott Wester, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center CEO
  • John Spain, executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Spain was named Chair of the Board of Directors and Slyter was named Secretary/Treasurer.
First-year strategies identified by the new Board of Directors include establishing governance, increasing awareness, and developing a strategic plan. In May, the Health District released a Request for Proposals to create a Business and Implementation Plan for a world-class, highly innovative Diabetes and Obesity Center. The multi-disciplinary center of excellence, envisioned for the prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes and obesity, will not only impact the trajectory of chronic disease in the Baton Rouge region, but have broader influence through world-renowned research currently happening in our area.
The Baton Rouge Health District will continue to promote improved infrastructure, access and transportation as recommended in the community-developed master plan that was funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation at the request of City-Parish government. The master plan, which serves as a foundation for Health District activities, calls for building new roads, sidewalks and paths to reduce traffic and offer transportation choices, while integrating parks to promote better health in the Bluebonnet, Essen Lane and Perkins Road area, where a number of health care assets are clustered.
Parish government has adopted the infrastructure plan under FuturEBR, which is the overarching growth strategy for the parish. And Mayor Kip Holden has pledged to build the first recommended infrastructure project, an extension of Dijon Avenue across Essen to Bluebonnet, a connector to provide traffic relief in the most congested part of the parish.
The master plan, developed by Perkins + Will, in collaboration with city-parish and healthcare leaders, recommends a number of additional strategies including expanding opportunities for increased medical education, development of a clinical trials consortium, and implementation of shared services that could eliminate duplication and reduce costs. For more information about the Baton Rouge Health District go to
About the Baton Rouge Health District: The Baton Rouge Health District is a coalition of patient-focused, innovative healthcare organizations committed the vision of a world-class, high performing health destination at the heart of a healthy and vibrant community. The district promotes collaboration among healthcare providers, government officials, payors, higher education institutions and others to implement a master plan that will enhance healthcare and economic development in Baton Rouge.