From the President

Greetings Friends of LCHE:

Louisiana is a special place unlike any other and is home to over 4.6 million residents. Its food and music, cultural heritage, subtropical climate, and historical landmarks make it a popular tourist attraction both nationally and internationally. However, many Louisiana residents experience disparities that significantly impact their quality of life and leave them prone to poor health. During 2020, unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the aftermath of natural disasters along Louisiana’s southwest region made these disparities even more pronounced.

As we celebrate LCHE’s 10th anniversary, I am reminded of and challenged by its founding vision that all Louisianans be afforded the opportunity to live healthy lives. In keeping with that vision, I am pleased about our #LA40by2030 initiative, a bold, multi-faceted approach to improving Louisiana’s health ranking to 40th by the year 2030.

Since our journey began, LCHE has played a significant role in advocating for better health outcomes and is recognized as the preeminent voice for health equity. LCHE’s most noteworthy undertaking was successfully leading Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion efforts as the convenor of the Campaign for Healthcare for Everyone-Louisiana. As the first state in the Deep South to adopt this policy, Louisiana positioned itself as a trailblazer, providing health coverage to over 500,000 adults.

Our journey included testifying during countless legislative hearings, rallying supporters at the state Capitol, hosting community forums, vigils and so much more. Thousands joined the movement in a groundswell of support for Medicaid expansion. On their behalf, representing LCHE and the Campaign, I was honored to stand beside newly-elected Governor John Bel Edwards as he signed the Executive Order for Medicaid expansion on January 13, 2016. This policy afforded health insurance coverage to thousands of Louisiana residents who had previously been caught in the coverage gap.

Since 2016, LCHE has continued to make strides toward improving Louisiana’s health outcomes including accepting Governor Edwards’ appointment to the Louisiana COVID-19 Task Force, collaboratively working to improve conditions for North Baton Rouge youth who have asthma through the Bringing Respiratory Health Equity for Asthmatics Through Healthier Environments (BREATHE) Initiative, advocating for trauma informed and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) services and resources, launching the Campaign to Establish the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health, expanding the Youth Peace Olympics program and more.

Though Louisiana has made significant progress, there is still much work to be done to create a more equitable and just state that puts the well-being of people first. Therefore, the journey we began in 2010 continues. I asked you to join me then and many of you did. For that, I am eternally grateful, and I’m asking again. Let’s continue moving forward.

Together, we are making a difference!


Alma C. Stewart Allen, RN, MS, CCHC
Founder and President
Louisiana Center for Health Equity

To learn more about our founder, click here.

Our Board

The Louisiana Center for Health Equity’s Board of Directors is comprised of 3 to 13 members. Each board member serves a two-year term which is renewable. As a public charity nonprofit organization, the members of the Board of Directors serve in a voluntary capacity.

Alma C. Stewart Allen, President

Organization Development Consultant

Baton Rouge

Anita A Harrell, Treasurer

Community Advocate

Baton Rouge

Diane Hargrove Jupiter, Chair

Community Advocate


Ritney Castine Headshot

John Calvin Davis, Secretary

Research Associate, Berlin School of Economics and Law  

Berlin, Germany

Frederick Bell

Youth Mentor and Advocate

New Orleans

Mark A. Perry

Instructor of Secondary Education, High School Coach

Denham Springs

Kellie Payne-Spencer

Workforce Development and Community Outreach Consultant

New Orleans

Meet the Team

Kwanza White

Administrative Assistant

Jordan Howard

Adolescent Health Coordinator

Alexis Kador

Project Assistant

August Steinkemp

Health Equity Fellow

Cade Canepa

Health Equity Fellow

Our Bold Vision #LA40by2030

Historically, Louisiana has struggled to improve its outcomes in education, incarceration, and health. In fact, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our state frequently ranked between 49th and 50th in annual state health outcomes. In direct response to these startling statistics, LCHE and partners launched #LA40by2030, a collaborative effort to improve Louisiana’s health ranking to 40th by the year 2030. This innovative and bold vision was first announced at the 2020 Health Summit: Advancing Health Equity for Children and Families. As an outgrowth of the summit, LCHE published a written report.

The report details four recommendations for policies to improve health outcomes for women, children, and families.

• Set a state minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage
• Implement trauma-informed approaches and services for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
• Establish a state-run entity to coordinate a systematic approach to women’s health, such as an Office on Women’s Health
• Prioritize and adopt key America’s Health Rankings’ health measures as policy

We are excited to build upon our longstanding commitment to championing causes that align with our mission to reduce health disparities and improve the quality of life for all Louisianans.

The recent passage of legislation to create the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health and the Student Behavior, Mental Health and Discipline Task Force are significant steps toward our goal. To learn more about our Bold Vision read the reports below:

Thee journey has begun and together we can realize our Bold Vision, #LA40by2030. If you would like to add your support to this initiative, please contact us at

Our Organization

Underlying every equitable system are strong, clear policies that afford all individuals the tools they need to lead healthy, productive lives. At LCHE, one of our core strategies for improving health outcomes is policy advocacy through direct actions, campaigns, legislative testimony and policy recommendations.

Currently, our policy agenda centers around supporting the behavioral health needs of youth exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and championing issues pertaining to women and children including, but not limited to maternal and infant mortality and lack of access to quality care. We are also working collaboratively with community stakeholders to strengthen our racial and economic equity agenda and craft policy recommendations to that end.

Under the commission of the Louisiana Legislature, LCHE convened regional and statewide studies to evaluate Louisiana’s healthcare system, service delivery and financing policies. These studies were authorized under the following legislation and remain unfunded:

Louisiana Statewide Healthcare Delivery System Study – House Concurrent Resolution 22 of the 2016 R.S. (HCR 22)
This study is currently pending due to lack of funding.

Health Services Delivery and Financing Capitol Region Task Force – Senate Concurrent Resolution 4 of the 2016 R.S. (SCR 4)
This study has been completed by LCHE and follow up on the findings are currently underway.