The strategy behind Ochsner's new physician exec role

New Orleans-based Ochsner Health hired for an inaugural role, the chief community medical officer in November, naming Yvens Laborde, MD, to the new position. Now, two-and-a-half months into the job, Dr. Laborde detailed his priorities for bettering community health across Louisiana. 

Dr. Laborde is still practicing clinically, he told the American Medical Association for a Q&A published Feb. 14. The role is a mashup of physician and clinical duties, health educator and a community contact. 

"Like any large academic medical center, Ochsner has three strategic pillars: academics, research and clinical practice. But people have realized that community also has to be one of those critically important pillars," Dr. Laborde told the AMA. "So, in terms of this role we created, it made sense to have somebody oversee this community pillar who can align and demonstrate — based on both experience, knowledge and capability — how those four pillars intertwine and should always be mutually reinforcing."

Dr. Laborde is familiar both with the organization, which he joined in 1995 as an internal medicine physician, and with the Louisiana community. In 2006, following Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Laborde was part of efforts advocating for recovery in the affected communities as part of the Ochsner board of medical directors.

"My trajectory and history at Ochsner made me a natural candidate to fulfill that role — given my long history at Ochsner within that space — having done my residency and my training here and given the multitude of roles that I've held with community responsibilities," Dr. Laborde told AMA. "I was the first Black doctor elected to the Ochsner board of medical directors in 2006."

During his first year in the role, among the to-dos on Dr. Laborde's list will be: working to understand the "structural drivers" of poor health outcomes and how to restore health equity to communities where it is needed; using data to determine which social drivers to address first; engaging with community stakeholders on health priorities; and democratizing access to digital care.

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