Louisiana Department of Health Announces Leadership Changes

Jimmy Guidry, MD, state health officer and medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health, retired on Dec. 31. In his more than 30 years with the department, Guidry has also served as the assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health and the Acadiana Region’s medical director. His 24 years as state health officer is the longest tenure for this role in Louisiana history. 

“Thank you to Dr. Guidry for his tremendous work on the behalf of all Louisianans. He has worked tirelessly for the people of Louisiana through many catastrophes, among them Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Laura and Delta, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the great floods of 2016 and the COVID-19 pandemic," said Courtney N. Phillips, MD, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.

"As we prepare to close this extraordinary year, I am grateful that Dr. Guidry can retire knowing that we hold the COVID-19 vaccine — the first step toward ending the pandemic — in our hands. Though we will greatly miss his warmth and wisdom, we truly wish him all the best as he closes this chapter of his life,” Phillips added. 

Assistant State Health Officer and Region One Medical Director Dr. Joseph Kanter, who also is currently serving as interim secretary for the Office of Public Health, will serve as the next state health officer and LDH medical officer. He will continue assisting as interim OPH assistant secretary as LDH continues recruitment efforts to fill this role permanently.