Stephen R. Russo, JD

As secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, Stephen Russo 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.

Russo has served LDH for 27 years. Prior to his current role as secretary, Russo served as executive counsel and director of Legal, Audit and Regulatory Compliance (LARC). As director of LARC, Russo oversaw the Bureau of Legal Services, Internal Audit, Program Integrity and Health Standards Section. He served as executive counsel for 15 years. During his tenure at LDH, Russo has litigated many high-profile cases and testified numerous times before the Louisiana Legislature.

Russo, a Baton Rouge native and graduate of Catholic High School, received both his J.D. and his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from 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. 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.