Baton Rouge, LA (KPEL News) - Louisiana Governor-Elect Jeff Landry has named the people who will lead the state Health Department. Two Acadiana natives, one from Lafayette and one from Crowley, have been appointed to the team.

The Louisiana Department of Health is the state's largest governmental agency with a budget of nearly $20-billion. The scope of the department includes overseeing public health and infectious disease monitoring, testing drinking water, restaurant inspections, and managing the state's Medicaid program.

Dr. Ralph Abraham, who ran for governor in 2019, will serve as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. He is a primary care physician who has practiced medicine in rural north Louisiana. The former veterinarian also served in the United States Congress from 2015 to 2021.

Governor-elect Landry, in his announcement, highlighted his focus on rural health care, making Dr. Abraham a fitting choice. He also underscored his desire to move Louisianans from "dependence to independence," referencing the Medicaid expansion and the increased number of people who participate in the program.

Dr. Abraham's second-in-command will be Dr. Pete Croughan, a native of Crowley. Dr. Croughan grew up in the Rice Capitol, the son of Doctors Tim and Sue Croughan. He's a graduate of Harvard Medical School and specializes in addiction and internal medicine. Dr. Croughan is familiar with the Louisiana Department of Health, having served different roles within the department from 2017 to 2020.

His official title will be Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.

Dr. Rebekah Gee, former Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, worked with Dr. Croughan and calls him "practical, non idealogical and wicked smart." She posted her congratulations to him on LinkedIn saying:

Pete and I tackled Hepatitis C drug pricing and so many other critical issues. Pete loves Louisiana and has a keen mind and a heart of gold. Louisiana is lucky to have him again in public service and will benefit greatly from his hard work and dedication to public health.

On a side note, I have been friends with Dr. Croughan's parents for a number of years. I have no doubt that his exceptional training, experience, and upbringing by two of the kindest, smartest people I know will truly be a blessing to his neighbors in the Boot State.

Nick Gachassin, III, of Gachassin Law Firm in Lafayette has been appointed as Executive Counsel to the Louisiana Department of Health. Gachassin specializes in health care law and has provided counsel to providers and health care businesses for nearly 30 years. He, his wife, and his children are residents of Broussard.

The list of leadership team members includes:

Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health—Dr. Ralph Abraham

Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health —Dr. Pete Croughan

Undersecretary of the Louisiana Department of Health —Michael Harrington

Chief of Staff of the Louisiana Department of Health —Drew Maranto

Executive Counsel to the Louisiana Department of Health —Nick Gachassin, III

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