Deputy Secretary

Mark Thomas, LDH Deputy Secretary

Mark A. Thomas currently serves as the Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. Mr. Thomas most recently served as the Assistant Secretary for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, a role he held since 2013 before becoming Deputy Secretary. He brings more than 25 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities. Prior to serving as the Assistant Secretary for OCDD, Mark joined the Department as Executive Director of Community Services for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities in 2006 and has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for OCDD beginning 2009. Thomas has prominently participated in successful statewide transformational activities in the areas of resource allocation, public facility downsizing and closure, waiver waiting list reduction/tiered waiver and cross-government agreements for supporting persons with I/DD. 

Before joining the state office, he delivered community-based disability services for 15 years for several nonprofit organizations and consumer advocacy groups before joining state government, including Community Opportunities for East Ascension. As Executive Director of Community/CEO of Opportunities for East Ascension, Mark coordinated the successful implementation of a self-sustaining supported employment and supported-living programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and achieved accreditation with the Louisiana Association of Non-Profit organizations. Thomas also held leadership roles in both state and national developmental disability provider and advocacy organizations and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his service.

The Deputy Secretary serves as the chief operating officer of LDH and acts as spokesperson for the department in the absence of the Secretary. The Deputy Secretary is the coordinator for LDH's Human Services Interagency Council (HSIC) and is solely responsible for direct supervision over the major offices listed below.

Mark is a graduate of Louisiana State University, Leadership Ascension, and the National Conference of Executives- Leadership Academy. He is a recipient of the AAIDD 2017 Bernard R. Wagner Leadership Award and the 2017 Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs Public Servant of the Year Award. He serves as a board member of National Association of State Developmental Disability Directors and Eagle Federal Credit Union.  He serves as a Governor’s Appointee to the Developmental Disabilities Council, Governor’s office of Disability Affairs Committee, State Interagency Coordinating Council, and The State as a Model Employer Council. He has been actively involved with the Rotary Club of East Ascension, The Ascension Chamber of Commerce and the City of Plaquemine Historic District Commission.

He currently serves as Founder and Senior Pastor of Abundant Life Christian Assembly in Plaquemine La.   He has served in this capacity for 16 years. In this capacity he also serves as the State Wide Director of Cross Cultural Evangelism, and Home Missions Director for his church section. Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Thomas now resides in Plaquemine Louisiana with his lovely wife of 25 years, Deena. They have 5 children ranging in age from 23 to 5 years of age.

Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD): OCDD provides or directs the provision of supports and services for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Office of Behavioral Health (OBH): OBH provides or directs the appropriate care and services for individuals with behavioral health disorders.

Office of Public Health (OPH): OPH develops, provides and assures public and environmental health services to protect and enhance the health of Louisiana citizens.

Office of Aging and Adult Services (OAAS): OAAS administers nursing facility admissions, develops new long-term care programs and implements other health care reform recommendations. This office brings together all of the long-term care programs that serve aging adults and people with adult-onset disabilities.


Community Human Services Statewide Framework: The Framework provides a statewide planning process for the establishment of a statewide framework to govern the state and local delivery of addictive disorder, developmental disability, and mental health disorder services funded by appropriations from the state. It also provides for the development of a state human services plan, vision and mission statement; definitions of eligible and priority services populations; core and targeted services to individuals and families; standards for the geographic scope of service delivery and client intake process; and access for institutional and community based systems. The Framework will employ the use of best practices to build statewide strategies for service delivery.