Ralph L. Abraham, M.D.

As secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, Ralph L. Abraham, M.D. leads the state’s largest agency with a budget of $19.1 billion and a team responsible for delivering services to millions of Louisianans. LDH protects and promotes health for Louisiana residents through services provided by Medicaid and the Offices of Public Health, Behavioral Health, Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, Aging and Adult Services, Women’s Health and Community Health, and Emergency Preparedness. These programs work to ensure access to medical, preventative, and rehabilitative services for Louisiana’s most vulnerable residents.

Dr. Ralph Abraham is a practicing family medicine physician in Richland Parish and a former three term Congressman for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. Throughout his almost 30 year career in medicine, Dr. Abraham has seen firsthand the many healthcare challenges facing Louisiana. Dr. Abraham graduated from Mangham High School before earning his degree at Louisiana State University. He graduated from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and practiced for 10 years before eventually seeking his Medical Doctor degree, which he earned at the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport. Dr. Abraham was a First Lieutenant in the  Army National Guard. He has served on humanitarian missions for Free Burma Rangers in Burma, Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. He has also volunteered on humanitarian missions in Afghanistan and the Amazon for other organizations.  Additionally, he is a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot who currently flies reconnaissance missions for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and he is a mission pilot for the Air Force’s Civil Air Patrol Green Flag Program. He’s a certified flight instructor and actively works with Pilots for Patients – an organization that provides free air transportation to patients needing treatment at medical facilities not available to them locally. Dr. Abraham has been married to his wife Dianne for 46 years and they reside in Richland Parish. They have three children and ten grandchildren.

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. The Deputy Secretary is the coordinator for LDH's Human Services Interagency Council (HSIC) and is solely responsible for direct supervision over the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities; Office of Behavioral Health; Office of Public Health; Office of Aging and Adult Services; and Office of Women's Health and Community Health.  

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 healthcare policy issues, including healthcare 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 healthcare in underserved areas of the state by identifying resources to improve the health services, fostering networks of care and recruiting health care professionals.

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.