Stephen R. Russo is the Interim Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, the state’s largest agency with a budget of $14 billion. His oversight responsibilities include public health and other direct service programs for citizens in need such as behavioral health, developmental disabilities, aging and adult services, emergency preparedness, and the Medicaid program.
Russo joined the Louisiana Department of Health 24 years ago and has served as the Executive Counsel since 2008. He has handled a wide variety of legal matters for the Department, including litigation of high profile cases in various Courts. Mr. Russo also conducted many speaking engagements, Medicaid presentations, and CLE presentations during his tenure as General and Executive Counsel.
Russo is a Baton Rouge native and graduated from Catholic High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Louisiana State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University.
The Secretary provides leadership and technical support services, while maximizing resources, in order to fulfill the mission of the Department.
The following report directly to the Secretary:
Deputy Secretary serves as the chief operating officer of LDH and acts as spokesperson for the department in the absence of the Secretary. She is the coordinator for LDH's Regional Coordinating Councils and oversees the coordination and implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Undersecretary oversees the State Medicaid program, as well as eight administrative divisions with departmental responsibilities for budget preparation, financial planning, purchasing, personnel, accounting, data processing and development of strategic and operational plans.
State Health Officer serves as the Department's top medical official. The medical director is responsible for medical consultation on a variety of health care policy issues, including health care programs, quality of care and access to vital health-related services. The medical director also serves as the Department's liaison with medical, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health professionals as well as with professional associations and organizations throughout the state.
Office of Public Health develops, provides and assures public and environmental health services to protect and enhance the health of Louisiana citizens. Now functioning under the Office of Public Health, the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health works to support the development of health care in underserved areas of the state by identifying resources to improve the health services, fostering networks of care and recruiting health care professionals.
Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports develops, fosters and coordinates services and sports for the people of Louisiana.
Minority Health Access and Promotions facilitates the collection, analysis, dissemination and access to information relating to minority health issues.
External Relations efforts are led by the Bureau of Marketing and Communications (BMAC) and the Legislative and Governmental Relations (LGR) section of the Office of the Secretary.
Bureau of Legal Services provides a complete range of legal assistance to LDH, its programs and facilities.