Louisiana will soon have a new official to oversee its healthcare system. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco appointed Roxane Townsend as secretary of Louisianas Department of Health and Hospitals, effective Sept. 15.
Townsend, 50, serves currently as the departments deputy secretary and will succeed Fred Cerise, who has served as secretary since January 2004, when Blanco appointed him to the position.
Cerise, 45, accepted the position of vice president for healthcare and medical education at the Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge.
A native of Vandergrift, Pa., Townsend has a nursing degree from Pittsburgh-based Duquesne University and later earned a medical degree, specializing in internal medicine. She has lived in Louisiana for 22 years and said she accepted the position knowing that a new governor might appoint someone else to the role. Blanco has said she will not run for re-election in the states election this November.