The vision, formulated by Capital area community leaders a decade ago, was that urban planning could and should be part of an overall strategy to improve public health and the economy.
The Baton Rouge Health District is the realization of that vision. A 2011 Baton Rouge Area Foundation-funded city master plan proposed creating BRHD in the Essen Lane/Bluebonnet Boulevard/Perkins Road corridor, home to the bulk of the city’s healthcare infrastructure. A coalition of local healthcare providers, including the local hospitals, backed the idea.
The coalition has developed a cohesive strategy for weaving the area’s hospitals, clinics, medical office space and related commercial, residential and green space development into a unified health destination. Its list of member organizations features some of the most prominent business and nonprofit entities in the Capital region:
The benefits of this collaboration include better coordinated and more cost-efficient medical care, partner research opportunities, sustainable economic development, and improved public health.
The power of those partnerships was clearly illustrated by the recent announcement that the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, BRHD and a coalition of other organizations were awarded a $500,000 Economic Development Administration grant to develop their proposed Gulf Coast Health Corridor connecting New Orleans, Baton Rouge and all suburban and rural communities between. The project, which would create a cohesive regional health care and bioscience research network, is one of 60 finalists nationally in the EDA's $1 billion Build Back Better challenge. Winners, announced sometime in 2022, will be eligible for up to $100 million in additional funding.
BRHD also aims to facilitate healthier lifestyles by incorporating walkability and publicly accessible green space into land-use planning for new and existing development along the corridor.
The healthcare industry already drives significant job growth and real estate development across the city, parish and region. By working together to leverage each organization’s unique assets, BRHD puts Baton Rouge on the national map with other major medical centers providing destination healthcare.
For more information on the Baton Rouge Health District, visit BRHealthDistrict.com.