Ochsner Announces $100M Investment in Health Initiatives

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NEW ORLEANSOchsner Health, Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng, Xavier University of Louisiana President Reynold Verret and other state and local leaders announced a long-term vision to improve the overall health of the state with a comprehensive strategy to enhance healthcare access, improve health equity and health outcomes. This 10-year commitment includes an initial investment of $100 million from Ochsner during the next five years. Investments will support projects that eliminate barriers to healthcare; bring resources into underserved, urban and rural communities; collaborate with partners to research and better understand health disparities; utilize technology and innovation to improve outcomes and invest in Louisiana’s next generation of healthcare providers and frontline staff.

“Today’s announcement has been years in the making and our continued fight against COVID-19 underscores the pressing need for collaboration and continued investment in the health of our communities,” said Warner L. Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health. “Louisiana’s unfortunate distinction of being ranked one of the least healthy states is not just a number – it reflects the lives and livelihood of our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family. We won’t accept the challenges we face today as our future state and are committed to improving our health and implementing our vision over the next decade. We understand that accomplishing this aspirational goal will happen by coming together and we implore other organizations, local leaders and community members to join us in this journey to create a healthier state.”

Ochsner said Louisiana has consistently ranked at or near the bottom of the country for nearly a decade, placing 49th in 2020 by America’s Health Rankings. Clinical, behavioral, environmental and social factors are analyzed to determine a state’s health rankings. 

Key challenges facing the state include a high percentage of children in poverty, people who smoke, prevalence of obesity, low birth weights and higher rates of cardiovascular death and cancer deaths. Louisiana’s population also has some of the country’s highest rates of chronic conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and COPD. This year, New Orleans emerged as one of the country’s first and hardest hit COVID-19 hotspots. Regions across the state have continued to face high positivity rates and additional hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

Ochsner leaders, physicians and researchers analyzed health factors and disparities to identify the greatest needs across the region. Based on this data, a strategy was developed and will be implemented over the next 10 years to improve health and reach the vision of ranking 40 by 2030. The first five years will include $100 million in investments to programs including community health centers, the Ochsner Xavier Center for Health Equity and the Ochsner Scholars Program.

To learn more about Ochsner Health, visit ochsner.org.


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