Greater Baton Rouge Business Report Announces Forty Under 40

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Top (left to right): Dr. Bavid Balhoff and Dr. J. Casey Chapman; Bottom (left to right): Dr. Mary Raven and Dr. Jonas Fontenot.Photo Credit: Baton Rouge Business Report

Three College of Science Graduates and the Chief Operations Officer at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Named Among the Honorees

For the last 18 years, the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report has comprised a list of professionals under the age of 40 who have impacted the Captial City both professionally and personally. Along with making time for a career and family, members of each class also find the time to volunteer at local nonprofits and sit on boards of leading organizations and companies in the Baton Rouge area. The LSU College of Science is honored to have three graduates and an affiliate of the college named among this year’s honorees

Dr. David Balhoff, an orthodontist at Sherman and Balhoff Specialist in Orthodontics, received his Bachelor of Science degree in 2000. He went on to LSU's School of Dentistry and completed his residency in June 2008. Some of his personal achievements include receiving the New Dentist Award in 2014 and helping start the Our Lady of the Lake Cleft and Craniofacial Team here in Baton Rouge. Dr. Balhoff also volunteers at a variety of organizations involving children's health care, including St. Jude's and Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital.

Dr. Balhoff says the most fulfilling part of his job is getting to know the families that come to his practice. He admits that he really doesn’t like telling patients they aren't getting their braces or Invisalign attachments off the day they thought they would, but he enjoys seeing the treatment process from start to finish for orthodontic patients. "Most people think orthodontists simply straighten teeth, but my goal is to make our patients overall healthier for the long-term," said Dr. Balhoff. "It is not and should not be about simply aligning teeth."

Dr. J. Casey Chapman, a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates, received his Bachelor of Science degree in 2000. He went on to LSU's School of Medicine where he earned his Doctor of Medicine Degree. Dr. Chapman volunteers locally and nationally with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and with the Louisiana Business Group on Health. His personal achievements include working nationally with other physicians and administrators to navigate channels in gastroenterology, earning a grant to design a care pathway with area hospital systems and insurance companies to better serve patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and serving as a sub-investigator on 18 clinical trials and a principle investigator on seven other trials focusing on IBD.

Dr. Chapman reminisced back to when he got the letter that said he didn't get into medical school the first time he applied, saying that it was both humbling and motivating. This motivation led him to the most fulfilling moment in his career when the father of one of his patients walked up to him, introduced himself and with tears in his eyes said, "I want to say thank you for saving my daughter's life and allowing her to have a healthy baby girl." Dr. Chapman would want his younger self to know what the father of his patient reminded him of: realize that the happiest people in the world don’t have the best of everything but somehow see the best in everything.

Dr. Mary M. Raven, associate medical director of the Palliative Medicine Service at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, received her Bachelor of Science from LSU in 2000. Raven went on to earn her Doctor of Medicine degree from LSU's School of Medicine. Some of Dr. Raven's accomplishments include opening the first outpatient palliative care clinic in Louisiana, assisting with amending the Medical Consent Statute to allow incapacitated patients without family to receive appropriate medical treatments including high-quality end of life care and obtaining board certifications in three fields: Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Hospice Medical Directorship. Dr. Raven works with Volunteer Health Clinic in Mid City and with the Department of Corrections to provide educational opportunities for physicians.

She always knew she wanted to be a doctor and is thankful she can work in the field she loves while being able to have a great marriage and family at home. The next big career step Dr. Raven is taking on is providing support to the New Multidisciplinary ALS Clinic run by Lake Physician Group. When she isn't working, Raven loves to cook and gives this advice to young professionals hoping to make the 40 Under 40 list one year: "Keep a sense of humor, don’t take yourself to seriously, stay humble and eager to learn from others, but always try to find a way to promote harmony with the people you meet."

We would also like to congratulate Dr. Jonas Fontenot who is the Chief of Physics and Chief Operating Officer at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and works closely with LSU’s Medical/ Health Physics Program in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics from University of Louisiana- Lafayette and earned his masters and PhD in medical physics from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. One of his biggest achievements was orchestrating Mike VI's care when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. Fontenot also served on the court for Karnival Krewe de Louisiane, a local organization that has raised more than $3 million for cancer care, research and education.

Dr. Fontenot stays motived by going in his office on Mondays and jotting down ideas on his whiteboard that he would like to accomplish by the end of the week. One hard lessons he's learned is that there are times when all the hard work and resourcefulness in the world cannot overcome bad luck and poor timing; however, he loves the people he gets to work with and the chance he gets to positively impact the lives of others.

Click here for the full list of honorees.