New Baton Rouge Health District director to be announced in August

    The Baton Rouge Health District has tapped a new leader, according to district officials, with an announcement coming in a few weeks.

    BRAF Executive Vice President and health district Board Chair John Spain told Daily Report Wednesday morning the board has made its selection for the executive director role, but declines to name the person or discuss hiring specifics. Instead, he says the board will announce its new director around Aug. 1, with the person officially assuming the position Aug. 19.

    Spain also declined to discuss how many candidates applied to replace Suzy Sonnier, the outgoing executive director who announced a little over a year ago her plans to step down after nearly three years at the helm.

    Under Sonnier’s leadership, the district’s key goal has been to facilitate collaboration and leverage resources among Baton Rouge’s major health organizations in an effort to improve health care outcomes and spur economic development.

    The health district is an initiative of FuturEBR, the city-parish master plan approved by the Metro Council in 2011. Spearheading the project is BRAF, which spent $700,000 on consultants to develop a master plan that called for new roads and improved infrastructure to relieve traffic, along with a four-year LSU medical school and diabetes and obesity center.

    Road work plans are still underway, along with several planned commercial projects and hotels. Last fall, the district expanded its boundaries (Bluebonnet Boulevard, Perkins Road, Essen Lane and Interstate 10) to also include the Ochsner Medical Complex at The Grove.

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