Baton Rouge Health District unites Capital area’s healthcare community

Strategic coalition of life science entities strengthens the community and enhances economic development

The vision, formulated by Capital area community leaders a decade ago, was that urban planning could and should be part of an overall strategy to improve public health and the economy.

The Baton Rouge Health District is the realization of that vision. A 2011 Baton Rouge Area Foundation-funded city master plan proposed creating BRHD in the Essen Lane/Bluebonnet Boulevard/Perkins Road corridor, home to the bulk of the city’s healthcare infrastructure. A coalition of local healthcare providers, including the local hospitals, backed the idea.

The coalition has developed a cohesive strategy for weaving the area’s hospitals, clinics, medical office space and related commercial, residential and green space development into a unified health destination. Its list of member organizations features some of the most prominent business and nonprofit entities in the Capital region:

  • Baton Rouge Area Foundation. One of the largest community foundations in the country, BRAF has been the driving force behind the downtown revitalization, inner-city revival, urban planning, education reform and dozens of other civic projects.


  • Baton Rouge General Medical Center. With over 600 licensed beds on three campuses and clinics throughout the area, Baton Rouge General offers the full spectrum of care from delivering newborns to providing end-of-life support through hospice.


  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. The state’s largest health insurer serves more than 1.8 million of Louisiana’s residents and has championed efforts to improve health, including using big data to solve big healthcare issues.


  • Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. One of Louisiana’s leading cancer care organizations treats more patients each year than any other facility in the region. The center and its partners provide state-of-the-art treatments and unparalleled collaborative, comprehensive cancer services.


  • Ochsner Medical Center. Ochsner is known for statewide comprehensive, convenient care. Its Baton Rouge footprint includes a 150-bed hospital, a new five-story medical office building and surgical hospital called The Grove, 13 health centers and a team of more than 200 skilled providers.


  • Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Its assets include a 988-bed hospital, a freestanding Children’s Hospital, and a 545-provider care network covering more than 40 specialties.  Our Lady of the Lake serves 38,000 inpatients and 820,000 outpatients annually.


  • Pennington Biomedical Research Center. At the leading edge of research to understand the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia, the center has more than 380 employees, 40 clinics and laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities.


  • Woman’s Hospital. One of the first women’s specialty hospitals in the United States is now one of the nation’s largest. Woman’s performs more than 7,900 surgeries, 42,000 breast procedures, and reads more than 56,000 Pap screens annually.

The benefits of this collaboration include better coordinated and more cost-efficient medical care, partner research opportunities, sustainable economic development, and improved public health.

The power of those partnerships was clearly illustrated by the recent announcement that the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, BRHD and a coalition of other organizations were awarded a $500,000 Economic Development Administration grant to develop their proposed Gulf Coast Health Corridor connecting New Orleans, Baton Rouge and all suburban and rural communities between. The project, which would create a cohesive regional health care and bioscience research network, is one of 60 finalists nationally in the EDA’s $1 billion Build Back Better challenge. Winners, announced sometime in 2022, will be eligible for up to $100 million in additional funding.

BRHD also aims to facilitate healthier lifestyles by incorporating walkability and publicly accessible green space into land-use planning for new and existing development along the corridor.

The healthcare industry already drives significant job growth and real estate development across the city, parish and region. By working together to leverage each organization’s unique assets, BRHD puts Baton Rouge on the national map with other major medical centers providing destination healthcare.

For more information on the Baton Rouge Health District, visit


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