New Orleans Living Magazine
By Meg Ferrante
Today’s healthcare environment is constantly
changing, and, now more than ever, it is important for healthcare practices to
have a robust, driven leader. The LSU Healthcare Network has found its leader
in J. Christian Winters, M.D., FACS. Many physicians might be apprehensive to
assume a CEO role along with being Vice-Chancellor of Clinical Affairs at the
LSU Health Sciences Center and a practicing urologist at the LSU Healthcare
Network. However, Dr. Winters did not see this as a challenge but more of an
opportunity to lead an organization that provides the people of southeast
Louisiana with top-notch healthcare.
"We have many outstanding clinicians who are
leaders not only locally, but nationally,” he says. "I wanted to do what I can
to help the whole practice be more accessible to patients in our region and
deliver high-level care to everyone.” Across the state, the LSU Healthcare
Network has more than 600 physicians covering nearly every available medical
and surgical discipline from Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and regions
beyond. In addition to their clinical practices, most doctors are also
researching new medical advances and teaching the next generation of physicians
through LSU Medical School, residency, internship and fellowship programs.
It might seem that continuing in his busy
urology practice (and being chairman of the department) would be a distraction
from the demands of the network, but Dr. Winters says it enriches his
leadership. The marketplace is changing. Experiencing those realities daily
adds a certain perspective and dimension that someone without a medical
background may not have.
However, it takes a team to run a successful
practice. Dr. Winters knows how pivotal each member of the team is — from
receptionist to surgeon and everyone in between. He applies a horizontal
delivery methodology, where everyone works together equally and makes patients
"At the end of the day, our patients are our
No. 1 priority,” he says. "Each patient is different. There are so many
variables in the way things present; you handle each quite differently
depending on patients’ issues, lifestyles and preferences. We want to empower
each of our employees to be able to meet the individual needs of our patients
and serve them better. We’re evolving, but already seeing progress.”
What have you learned about the prognosis of healthcare in Louisiana?
"Everybody knows the typical moniker:
Louisiana is 49th in so many instances,” Dr. Winters says. "We have a long way
to go in improving the health and engaging in preventative health lifestyle
changes where we are lagging behind other states.
"In my opinion with LSU, the Medicaid
expansion has been a positive thing. I’m seeing patients every day that did not
have access to care before expansion. In preventative care, numbers are going
up — mammographies, colonoscopies, screenings. These are all very positive
"In order for us to be able to continue this
type of practice, we need to see the current paradigm of care evolve. We need
to get to a point where the emphasis on wellness, screening and prevention
result in a more healthy population with decreasing healthcare costs and
improvement in our quality of life. Public education is key because wellness
and prevention results in patients interacting with their clinicians when they
are feeling well. Our primary care teams not only practice this, but they teach
it and do research in many of these areas.
"Additionally, LSU is very passionate about expanding
access to specialty care in rural areas of Louisiana where it does not
currently exist. LSU hopes to address this challenge through telemedicine —
remote diagnosis and treatment of patients who need access to specialty care.”
Why choose the LSU Healthcare Network?
"The LSU Healthcare Network is committed to
providing quality healthcare to the New Orleans region and throughout southeast
Louisiana,” Dr. Winters says. "I’m very proud of the services we offer at the
LSU Healthcare Network. With over 30 specialties and numerous subspecialties,
our network is dedicated to treating patients of all economic backgrounds.
"If you look at our head and neck, ENT, neuro
surgery and oncology service lines for skull- and brainbased tumors, patients
are coming from all over the country to receive the highest levels of care
here. Our plastic surgery department specializes in everything from cleft and
craniofacial surgeries to limb salvage, skin flaps, breast reconstruction and
cosmetics. Our bladder cancer program is one of the more robust in the country.
We enroll more people in clinical trials than any other. Our female pelvic
floor surgery is the only accredited multi-disciplinary program in the South.
Groundbreaking work in inflammatory bowel disease is being performed by our GI
physicians, and our MS, ALS and peripheral neuropathy programs are bringing
patients from all over the country to our neurology department. These are just
a few to mention.
"Overall, I find the patients seem happier and
clinicians seem more satisfied with their practices; to me that is a source of
gratification. I’ll be first to tell you we still have a lot of work to do, to
be complacent is the worst approach we could take. We’re very attentive to all
our staff to try to see what barriers are in the way of them helping patients.
"I’m a local guy — born and raised in New
Orleans. I am deeply motivated to see the LSU Healthcare Network do well, see
New Orleans do well and be healthy. It is a big part of what has pushed me to
get me to this point. We have much to be proud of and look forward to
continuing to provide leading-edge medicine to southeast Louisiana.”
J. Christian Winters, M.D., FACS
3601 Houma Blvd., Ste. 302
Metairie, LA 70006
Medical School: LSU
Residency: LSU/Ochsner Residency Program, Urology
Fellowship: Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Female Urology and Voiding Dysfunction
Past-President: Society of Urodynamics, Female
Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU), American Board of Urology