Bridging the Gaps in Our Rural Communities

Apr 1, 2024 | About Us

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Our health system has added Health Equity as a strategic growth imperative. This foundational pillar is central as we work to ensure all our patients are treated the same and all in the communities we are privileged to serve have access to care.

Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and healthcare.

Robert Woods Johnson Foundation

Ronak Shah, MD, Board Certified obstetric gynecologist, leads a transformative approach to maternal healthcare at Our Lady of the Angels Hospital. His dedication to providing top-tier care for the women of Washington Parish and its surrounding areas is not just a professional commitment but also a way of addressing disparities in healthcare.

Located in the small town of Bogalusa, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital provides high-quality healthcare in a rural setting. National healthcare watchdog organization The Leapfrog Group recently named Angels a 2023 Top Rural Hospital, one of only two in Louisiana and 15 in the country. Angels also received an “A” grade for patient safety for fall 2023.

One of the remarkable initiatives at Our Lady of the Angels is its Rise Up program, a substance abuse intervention program tailored for pregnant women. Many rural parts of Louisiana lack obstetricians. Rise Up serves as a beacon of hope for pregnant women grappling with addiction, fostering a supportive environment where seeking help is not met with judgment but with genuine care.

“A big part of our outreach here is to let patients know we want to help you transition and create a healthy environment for them and their baby,” Dr. Shah says.

In addition to medication-assisted therapy that prioritizes the well-being of both mother and unborn child, Rise Up provides counseling services and has social workers on hand to provide other support, creating what Dr. Shah calls a “one-stop shop” for pregnant women who are trying to do the right thing for their babies.

In a healthcare landscape often marked by disparities, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital takes a lead role, not only delivering exceptional maternal care but also challenging and redefining norms to make quality healthcare accessible to all.

Learn more about our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Interested in joining the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System team? Learn more here.

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