Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Announces CEO Succession Plan


dr Jonas Fontenot will succeed Todd Stevens as CEO of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in January 2023

BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center announces that Jonas Fontenot, Ph.D., MBA, will assume the role of President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in January 2023. Fontenot currently serves as Chief Operating Officer and Dr. Charles M Smith, Chief of Physics. The transition is the culmination of a board-approved succession plan to succeed Todd Stevens, the longtime CEO of the Cancer Center. Stevens will rotate his time to focus on strategic business development and growth opportunities to advance Mary Bird Perkins’ mission across its regional network. “Leading the state’s largest cancer care organization requires a thoughtful and orderly succession planning process,” said Tom Meek, MD, former CEO of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “We laid the groundwork for today’s announcement nearly a decade ago, and I am confident that Dr. Fontenot is absolutely the right choice to lead Mary Bird Perkins into the future.”

Jonas Fontenot, Ph.D., MBA, will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, effective January 2023.

dr Jonas Fontenot will take up his post as President and CEO of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in January.

Fontenot is an accomplished scientist, clinician, educator and key member of the executive board. His mix of clinical experience, scientific achievement, healthcare policy experience and corporate leadership is ideal to advance the organization’s mission. Fontenot is a board-certified medical physicist who has received more than $4 million in funding from federal and industry sponsors. He is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers published in international journals, inventor of innovative cancer therapy technologies currently used in clinical practice, and supervised dozens of graduate students and resident physicians.

Nationally, he has served on the editorial board of major scientific journals, on research grant review committees for the National Institutes of Health’s cancer research programs, and is active on several Medicare health policy review and advisory boards. Fontenot was the first medical physicist selected by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) to receive the ASTRO Health Policy Fellowship designation.

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Fontenot values ​​the Cancer Center’s philanthropic culture and has been instrumental in providing philanthropic support as an advocate for the Take the Fight Forward Initiative, the Adaptive Radiation Therapy Program, and the Dr. Charles M. Smith Medical Physics Program, in addition to establishing key resources to support innovative technologies such as the Gamma Knife Icon. All of these milestone gifts and many others have helped advance cancer care in the communities that Mary Bird Perkins serves.

“It will be an honor and a privilege to lead the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center,” Fontenot said. “I am pleased to represent the most talented and dedicated cancer nurses and oncology physicians in the Gulf of South. We are uniquely positioned to support cancer patients in our communities and I look forward to building on Todd’s legacy to ensure Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center continues to live out its mission of improving survival and reducing the burden of cancer to reduce.”

“The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is well positioned for dynamic growth that will benefit cancer patients and communities throughout Louisiana,” said Tom Adamek, current chairman of the board. “Todd’s experience and forward-thinking leadership have made Mary Bird Perkins a nationally recognized cancer care organization. The entire board is thrilled that Dr. Fontenot will lead the organization into the future and continue to improve the state of cancer care in Louisiana, and beyond.”

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Fontenot succeeds Stevens, who transformed Mary Bird Perkins during his 23-year tenure by first introducing and then building and assembling a team of talented professionals who have established programs focused on improving patient care, research, focus on education and cancer aid. Stevens’ core belief that everyone, locally, should have access to quality cancer care was the catalyst for Mary Bird Perkins to realize his vision of becoming Louisiana’s premier cancer care organization.

Steven’s focus on providing access to quality cancer care locally has resulted in innovative partnerships that have established comprehensive cancer programs that impact every aspect of cancer care. These efforts have resulted in vital awareness, early detection and treatment services being provided to communities throughout Louisiana and southwest Mississippi. As the cancer center’s footprint has expanded, its vision, mission and services have also expanded and now serve more than 5,800 new patients each year.

Throughout his tenure, Stevens led the recruitment of specialist physicians and talent to nursing teams, as well as investing in state-of-the-art facilities focused on patient-centric care and leading-edge technology. He also drove the organization’s emphasis on early detection, which led to the establishment of Mary Bird Perkins’ Prevention on the Go program, which has enabled more than 100,000 free cancer screenings and access to navigation services.

During Stevens’ tenure, the groundbreaking partnership between Mary Bird Perkins and LSU Medical Physics was formed, opening new and exciting areas of cancer research and educational opportunities in the highly specialized field of medical physics. He was also instrumental in the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s participation in two National Cancer Institute programs — the NCI Community Cancer Center Program (NCCCP), which improved community cancer care across the country, and the NCI Community Oncology Research Program, one Initiative to Improve Access to Clinical Trials Residents of the Gulf Coast.

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“It has been my privilege to direct the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center for the past 23 years. I’ve had the opportunity to work with an incredible team of healthcare professionals and hundreds of stakeholders who share a passion for reducing the burden of cancer,” he told Stevens. “I am excited about the future of the organization led by Dr. Fontenot and look forward to devoting my time to building relationships with physicians and organizations to expand Mary Bird Perkins’ network.”

The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is planning a series of events to celebrate Mary Bird Perkins’ progress during Steven’s tenure as CEO.

About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 50 years. The cancer care organization provides care at nine centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma, Gonzales, Slidell and Natchez, Mississippi, and its service area includes the Southeast Louisiana and Southwest Mississippi regions. Mary Bird Perkins has strategic partnerships with OneOncology and the largest radiation and medical oncology groups from across the region, including exclusive partnerships with Southeastern Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group, which provides radiation therapy in Mary Bird Perkins’ service areas, Northshore Oncology Associates, which provides St Tammany and Washington Parishes, specifically the parishes of Covington and Slidell and Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates serving the greater Baton Rouge area. Visit www.marybird.org for more information.

Jonas Fontenot, Ph.D., MBA, will take up his post as President and CEO in January.  Fontenot currently acts as COO and Dr.  Charles M. Smith, Head of Physics.  The transition is the culmination of a board-approved succession plan to succeed Todd Stevens, the longtime CEO of the Cancer Center.  Stevens will rotate his time to focus on strategic business development and growth opportunities to advance Mary Bird Perkins' mission across its regional network.

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SOURCE Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center



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