Dr. Takeisha Davis

Executives of the Year | CEO, New Orleans East Hospital & Board Chair, United Way of Southeast Louisiana

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While taking on two leadership roles in the same year might seem daunting to many people, Dr. Takeisha Davis sees them as ideal complements to each other. In 2022, Davis became the CEO of New Orleans East Hospital and board chair for United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

“Both are aligned in their missions of being able to provide services to people who are most in need,” she explained.

Approximately 60% of the patients served by New Orleans East Hospital are on Medicaid or have no insurance at all — yet insurance may be the least of the obstacles to medical care, especially in the time of a global pandemic.

“We have to tackle the social determinants that prevent people from accessing health care,” said Davis. “The digital divide keeps many from being able to use telehealth. We have to overcome the fear of going to the hospital that resulted from COVID.”

One key solution is the hospital’s mobile care service. In 2022, vans with equipment for testing, vaccines, and other primary care components served more than 150 locations in the New Orleans metro area.

Davis feels that her work at the hospital directly with her role at the United Way, especially in terms of serving younger populations.

“This is the year of our youth; we have to invest in them,” she said. “They need access to quality education, to job opportunities.”

She also notes that providing these opportunities and support is essential to resolving the city’s crime problems. “If we don’t deal with the root causes, then we are really just spinning our wheels.”

These root causes include looking at not just area youth, but the needs of whole families.

“We need wealth-building, home ownership, job training,” she said. “While we are uplifting our youth, we have to make sure that our families and their communities are strong. They must have a base.”

Current health disparities mean that the life expectancy for someone living in Lakeview is 25 years greater than someone in Treme. Davis said this kind of disparity motivates her and led her to her work with United Way.

In 2022, for the second consecutive year ,New Orleans East Hospital was named “Small Hospital of the Year” by the Louisiana Nursing Association. Meanwhile, United Way is partnering with the NOLA Coalition to engage young people in helping devise solutions to the problems that hold them back.

“Together,” she vowed, “we will make a better, stronger, safer, healthier New Orleans.”