Suzy Sonnier will be leaving her post as executive director of the Baton Rouge Health District this fall after two-and-a-half years at the helm.
Sonnier’s husband has accepted a job in Nashville, and her family will be relocating to the Music City later this year, she says. The Baton Rouge Health District board will launch a search for a new executive director in coming months.
“I will be working closely with the board on the transition,” Sonnier says. “The board remains extremely committed to the health district and to achieving our vision.”
Sonnier was named the first executive director of the Baton Rouge Health District in March 2016. She led the implementation of a strategic plan for the district, which is bounded by Bluebonnet Boulevard, Perkins Road, Essen Lane and Interstate 10, and includes several of the market’s top healthcare institutions.
“Suzy represented us quite well,” says John Spain, the district’s board chairman and executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. “She’ll be leaving the district in a strong position, which will make it an attractive job opportunity for a replacement when the time comes.”
Sonnier hasn’t planned her next career move yet since she isn’t leaving until the fall. Before joining the health district, she previously served as secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services during Gov. Bobby Jindal’s second term and as chief operating officer at the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
The goal of the Baton Rouge Health District, under Sonnier’s leadership, has been to facilitate collaboration and leverage resources among the major health organizations to improve healthcare outcomes and generate economic development.
“I truly love the work we’re doing,” Sonnier says. “The impact we can have working together can be great, in terms of health outcomes in the community, economic impact and collective planning.”
The health district is an initiative of FuturEBR, the city-parish master plan approved by the Metro Council in 2011. BRAF was tapped to spearhead the project and spent $700,000 on consultants to develop a master plan. Unveiled in late 2015, the plan called for new roads and improved infrastructure to alleviate traffic, along with a four-year LSU medical school and a diabetes and obesity center.