The Department of Health – Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health will host a press conference Friday, March 18, 2005, to introduce Health Systems Development for Central Louisiana, a new program funded by a $750,000 grant award from The Rapides Foundation.

Health Systems Development for Central Louisiana will provide communities with targeted assistance in their efforts to develop, enhance or expand local access for health professional shortage areas in central Louisiana.  The services are aimed at increasing access to primary health care services, the number of primary care health professionals, the number of patients served in the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn over the next three years.  As a result, an estimated 30,000 underserved residents in The Rapides Foundation’s nine-parish service area will have access to health care through the new primary care delivery sites.

WHAT: Press Conference to Announce $750,000 grant award to the Department of Health and Hospitals

SPEAKERS: LDH Secretary Fred Cerise, MD, MPH and The Rapides Foundation CEO, Joseph R. Rosier, Jr., CPA, CFA and Vice President of Programs, Allen J. Smart, MPH

WHEN: Friday, March 18 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: The Rapides Foundation, 1101 Fourth St., Alexandria
Media are invited to attend and are welcome to take still photos or shoot video footage. Contact the LDH Bureau of Media and Communications at (225) 342-1532 with any questions.