Healthcare advancements; LSU College of Engineering forges new partnership, North Baton Rouge gets new ER, and LSU Health NO receives grant

 December 2017


This fall, LSU and the city of Baton Rouge have seen an influx of positivity and growth in the field of healthcare. One such advancement came with the launch of a partnership between LSU’s College of Engineering and Our Lady of the Lake hospital (OLOL).

OLOL and the LSU College of Engineering have partnered to create a new healthcare systems engineering collaborative, the first of its kind in Louisiana. The two organizations will work together to pursue effective solutions for advanced healthcare and improved human wellness in the Baton Rouge community and across Louisiana.

The partnership, similar to programs at Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Georgia Tech and Northwestern, will focus on working with industrial engineers, clinicians and patients to identify and improve healthcare related processes.

"As Louisiana's flagship university, LSU is responsible for working to solve the biggest challenges facing our state," said LSU President F. King Alexander. "Unfortunately, some of Louisiana's most pressing problems are health-related. The Healthcare Systems Engineering program is an important step forward in LSU's commitment to positively impact the health and well-being of Louisianans. The LSU College of Engineering's new partnership with Our Lady of the Lake demonstrates one of the many opportunities we have to apply LSU's expertise to benefit our state."

Healthcare systems engineering as a science produces superior methods of patient care delivery by incorporating efficiency and reliability into evidence based medicine. The Healthcare Systems Engineering program at LSU will introduce students and healthcare professionals into systems fundamentals of industrial engineering. The application of this program will create a continuous learning environment and generate knowledge of quality care delivery while improving the health of our patient population.

In a second development, Our Lady of the Lake North Emergency Room opened its doors in November, a long-awaited addition after five years without an ER in North Baton Rouge. The facility has eight treatment spaces and is able to provide patients with on-site X-ray imaging and more detailed CT scans, a full-service lab and pharmacy. The ER is an 8,800-square-foot addition next to LSU Health Baton Rouge North Clinic, 5439 Airline Highway. The clinic provides urgent care, drug infusion services that include chemotherapy, as well as primary care.

The new ER is expected to handle 10,000 to 15,000 visits a year, Lake Chief Operating Officer Terrie Sterling said. The facility has more than 50 clinical and 20 support workers, and will adjust staffing levels to fit demand.

"I'm delighted. We all are delighted. I think it's a great benefit to the entire community…. It's important for people who live near there to have access to an emergency room, but it also relieves pressure on the emergency rooms that we already have," said Rene Singleton, one of the leaders of Together Baton Rouge, a faith-based group that long advocated for the ER.

State representative Edmond Jordan said the ER is a victory for north Baton Rouge, and he does not want to minimize that. He adds, however, that he plans to keep fighting to make sure everyone has equal access to care, including an actual hospital, for the region.

Finally, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences recently awarded LSU Health New Orleans a $1.4 million grant over five years to prepare individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in the biomedical sciences to earn either a Ph.D. or an M.D./Ph.D. degree. The grant was awarded through the Post baccalaureate Research Education Program.

LSU Health New Orleans was the only university in Louisiana to successfully compete for the grant, officials said. The school was also only one of three in the Gulf Coast region to get the grant.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the education program allows participants to work as apprentice scientists in a mentor’s laboratory, and is expected to strengthen the research skills and academic competitiveness of participants so they can pursue a Ph.D. degree in the biomedical sciences.

LSU Health New Orleans will provide participants with hands-on exposure to medical research, advanced courses and workshops to prepare them for graduate school and careers in biomedical research. Allison Augustus-Wallace and Fern Tsien will lead the program, along with program coordinator Flavia Souza-Smith and program administrator Betsy Giaimo. It also has 55 faculty research mentors, both institutional and external advisory councils, scholar recruitment contacts at nearby universities and external consultants, officials said.



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