Saturday, July 13, 2024

Governor Jeff Landry and LDH Announce Key Leadership Changes

by BIZ Magazine

BATON ROUGE, LA – Governor Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) today announced significant leadership changes, highlighted by the creation of a new Office of the Surgeon General. This move includes the appointment of Dr. Ralph Abraham as the first Surgeon General of Louisiana, the promotion of Michael Harrington to Secretary of LDH, and the elevation of Drew Maranto to Undersecretary.

Surgeon General

The newly signed House Bill 853 establishes the Office of the Surgeon General, co-equal with the Secretary within LDH’s organizational structure. This role focuses on crafting health policy, healthcare workforce development, wellness advocacy, and coordinating efforts to improve health outcomes across Louisiana. The position will absorb the duties of the State Health Officer, making it budget-neutral.

Dr. Ralph Abraham, a seasoned family medicine physician with over 30 years of practice in Richland Parish and a former U.S. Congressman, has been appointed as the first Surgeon General. Dr. Abraham, who earned his MD from LSU Health Shreveport, also has a background in veterinary medicine.


Michael Harrington, formerly the Undersecretary, has been promoted to Secretary of LDH. Harrington brings over 25 years of experience in hospital system management, having held executive positions at Christus Health Louisiana and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. As Secretary, Harrington will be responsible for implementing health policies, overseeing fiscal matters, and ensuring efficient operations within the department.


Drew Maranto, previously Chief of Staff at LDH, will now serve as Undersecretary. In this role, Maranto will manage the State Medicaid program and oversee eight administrative divisions, including budget preparation, financial planning, and strategic development.

Leadership Vision

Governor Landry emphasized the strategic importance of these changes, aiming to strengthen state agencies and improve responsiveness to Louisiana’s health needs. “I am confident that Surgeon General Abraham and Secretary Harrington will form a dynamic team that prioritizes the health needs of Louisianans. This new structure ensures coordination between agencies and institutions, moving our state forward in a unified direction,” said Governor Landry.

Dr. Abraham expressed his enthusiasm for his new role, stating, “This position was created to move health policy leadership to doctors rather than bureaucrats. I look forward to modernizing the department and improving health outcomes across Louisiana.”

Harrington added, “Managing a budget of over $20 billion and leading more than 8,000 employees is a significant responsibility. Our team is dedicated to making Louisiana healthier than we found it, with a doctor crafting health policy and the Secretary ensuring its implementation.”


Deputy Secretary Dr. Pete Croughan, who served as interim State Health Officer, will continue his role as Deputy Secretary. Both Surgeon General Abraham and Secretary Harrington extended their gratitude to Dr. Croughan for his interim leadership.

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