BATON ROUGE, La. – The Baton Rouge Health District has named Steven Ceulemans as its executive director.
In his role, Ceulemans will focus on economic development in recruiting new health care and biotech companies, clinical collaboration among Health District members and greater connectivity to the city’s Healthy BR initiative.
“Steven is going to be a great fit for the Health District,” said John Spain, executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Health District board member. “His experience in healthcare innovation and development will help to expand existing programs at our health care providers and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.”
Ceulemans will lead the continued implementation of the Health District’s strategic plan, such as the construction of a key corridor that will provide access to local critical care facilities and mitigate traffic congestion in the area. The corridor, Constantine Boulevard, begins at Essen Lane following Ward’s Creek, and ends just beyond the new Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. Phase two of the project will extend the road along Ward’s Creek past Baton Rouge General to Bluebonnet Boulevard. He will work with local leaders on plans for road improvements, commercial projects like a five-story hotel under construction, and ideas for connecting parks and walking paths.
“We look forward to working with Steven in his new role as executive director as we continue to grow our health district and make Baton Rouge a destination city for exceptional health care,” said Scott Wester, CEO of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
Most recently, Ceulemans worked as Director of the Department of Laboratories for North Oaks Health System, a 350-bed hospital system and level 2 trauma center in Hammond, Louisiana, where he oversaw all laboratory services.
Prior to that, he served as Chief Business Officer for CytoBioscience, a San Antonio-based provider of biotechnology drug development and safety testing products and services, and Vice President of Technology and Innovation for the Birmingham Business Alliance, a regional economic and community development organization. He also worked as commercialization director for the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, a technology incubator serving growing life science technology companies in partnership with local universities and health systems.
“Steven’s experience in developing innovative biotech partnerships between industry and healthcare systems both nationally and internationally will bring a new energy to Baton Rouge,” said Edgardo Tenreiro, CEO of Baton Rouge General.
A native of Belgium, Ceulemans has a Doctor of Science degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and two Masters degrees – one in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from LSU Health Sciences Center and one in International Business and Management from VLEKHO Business School in Brussels. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Artesis University College of Antwerp, Belgium.
He has served as a science and technology policy fellow and consultant to the National Academies in Washington, D.C. and as a visiting analyst for the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute. Ceulemans will report to a joint operating board made up of leaders from healthcare organizations throughout Baton Rouge.
“Ochsner is excited to welcome Steven to Baton Rouge, and we look forward to continued collaboration with our health district partners to improve the health of our community,” said Aldo Russo, M.D., Regional Medical Director, Ochsner Baton Rouge. “We’d also like to thank Suzy Sonnier for her dedication to the Health District and wish her well in her future endeavors.”
Recognizing the significant impact health issues have on the Baton Rouge community, the Health District collaborates with hospital administrators, government agencies, community leaders and medical staff on various projects, from establishing best practices to combat the opioid epidemic to helping bring a crisis stabilization center to Baton Rouge.
Ceulemans was selected by Health District members after a regional search. Sonnier, who served as the executive director since 2016, moved out of state late last year.