EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome believes a new plan will help with Baton Rouge's most pressing health problems.
On Tuesday morning at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the mayor presented her Community Health Implementation Plan. The plan is based on findings from a year-long health needs assessment.
In the report, the five hospitals in the parish identify the top ten biggest needs: access to care, cancer prevention, cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention, diabetes prevention, healthy baby rates, lack of healthy lifestyles, injury prevention, mental health, sexually transmitted diseases, and substance abuse.
"The primary goal is access," said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). "They're also looking at sexually transmitted diseases and mental health, all really important goals, but they're going to work together to achieve those goals."
The next step is finding ways to address those needs, which hospitals have already started doing for some of the issues.
Eric McMillen, CEO for the Baton Rouge region of Ochsner, pointed to health apps like Eat Fit BR and an improved behavioral health department as some of the actions they’ve already taken.
"Obviously, Louisiana does not score very well on many of the health outcomes across the country and we want to change that and that should be what we're focused on," McMillen said.
In three years, the hospitals will do another assessment and set new goals.