North Oaks appoints service line leaders
HAMMOND---North Oaks Health System officials announce the appointment of Jessica Bennett of Independence, Sarah Mitchell of Hammond and Erica Williams of Slidell as service line leaders. Bennett will steer orthopedics, while Mitchell will helm acute surgical services and Williams will head vascular services.
Developed with input from the community and leadership stakeholders, the service line leadership model brings together multiple health system entities in alignment with strategic business plans, according to Chief Strategy and Outreach Officer Tracy Randazzo. “The goal is to achieve seamless and enhanced patient experiences, access and outcomes,” Randazzo explains.
In related news, Kory Krista of Bush has been named account coordinator for occupational health services. As such, Krista works directly with regional employers to ensure the delivery of Occupational Medicine services for a healthy, safe and productive workforce.
As orthopedic service line leader, Jessica Bennett will work with orthopedic providers and North Oaks leadership to champion the introduction of new procedures and best practices across the health system continuum that promote bone, joint and muscular health.
She also will work to enhance the sports medicine and performance program provided in junior high and high school systems across the region and North Oaks’ partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) Athletics as its official health care provider.
In Bennett’s nearly 10 years with North Oaks, she has always been associated with the care of orthopedic patients. She joined North Oaks Rehabilitation Services in 2011 as an occupational therapist. After one year, she was promoted to clinical supervisor of physical and occupational therapy. It’s her time in this role that Bennett credits with nurturing her passion for cultivating excellent care for patients, effective communication and leadership.
Following a brief stint as a lead occupational therapist working with Merakey Autism Center in the Greater Baton Rouge Area, she returned to North Oaks Physician Group in 2018 as regional director of 13 surgical and retail clinics staffed by 48 providers.
During this time, North Oaks Orthopaedic Specialty Centers in Hammond and Livingston were part of her domain, and she fostered strong relationships with the area’s middle, secondary and collegiate athletic communities and leadership.
Bennett, who recently began a term of office on the board of directors for Tangipahoa Tourism, earned a bachelor’s degree in General Studies emphasizing Kinesiology from Southeastern Louisiana University and a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Currently, she is working toward a doctorate in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Care Management and Leadership through California Intercontinental University in Irvine.
As acute surgical services line leader, Sarah Mitchell, who has 25 years of experience with North Oaks, will help the shock trauma team of North Oaks Medical Center ensure continued Level II Trauma Center certification and verification. In addition, she will work enterprise-wide with physician and system leadership to continue innovating and implementing best practices for general, otolaryngological and urological surgeries.
“By deploying more minimally invasive and advanced procedures, our patient’s ability to receive the benefit of shorter recovery times, reduced complication risk and superior outcomes will be even greater,” Mitchell points out.
Mitchell started out her North Oaks career in 1996 as a rehabilitation services tech before becoming a physical therapist in 1998. She was promoted to physical therapy supervisor in 2004 and outpatient rehabilitation services clinic coordinator in 2006. She became assistant vice president of clinics for the health system’s physician group in 2008 before advancing to the role of vice president of ancillary services in 2018 responsible for laboratories, diagnostics, rehabilitation services and patient access. In 2019, she was tapped to become vice president of operational strategy.
Mitchell graduated from Mississippi State University in Starkville with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. She went on to earn master’s degrees in Mass Communications from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge and physical therapy from LSU’s School of Allied Health Professions in New Orleans. She is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Tangipahoa.
With more than 15 years of her North Oaks tenure spent in leadership, community service has been a driving force for Mitchell. Currently, she serves on the Louisiana board of directors for the American College of Health Care Executives. Her endeavors also include board of director seats, presidencies and many other leadership roles filled for the American Cancer Society’s South Tangipahoa Chapter, the Richard Murphy Hospice Foundation and Ponchatoula Rotary
Club. Additionally, she belonged to the Junior Auxiliary of Hammond and was a longtime mentor of the SLU Lady Lions basketball team.
Mitchell was recognized as North Oaks’ Employee of the Year in 2002 and for Continued Excellence as a past Employee of the Year in 2011. In the community, she has received the Junior Auxiliary Woman of the Year Award for 2012, the Ponchatoula Rotary Club’s 2013 Addie Morris Service Award and the American Cancer Society Dick Durham Spirit Award for 2002. She is an active Rotarian affiliated with the Ponchatoula-based club and also is a Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow.
As vascular service line leader, Erica Williams is charged with collaborating with physicians, system leadership, the American Heart Association and national research registries to enrich North Oaks’ cardiology and interventional radiology programs. She also will assist in the attainment and conservation of relevant accreditations to include centers of excellence designations.
“Williams joined North Oaks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” notes Randazzo. “While new to our team, she has proven herself to be a trailblazer well on her way to developing key relationships and assessing provider, ancillary and community needs.”
Williams joins North Oaks with more than ten years of prior health care and leadership experience. Most recently, she was director of operations for four years at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, where she oversaw the strategic planning and development of bariatric, general surgery, vascular, head and neck cancer and ophthalmology service lines. She led the system in achieving Bariatric Center of Excellence accreditation, and New Orleans CityBusiness feted her as a Woman of the Year in 2019 for her efforts to expand transplant patients’ access to surgical care on the Northshore. Her overall six-year tenure at Tulane also encompassed time as a practice manager for several medical specialties, including surgery, gastroenterology, pulmonology, otolaryngology, wound care and dietetic services.
Before that, she was the physician practice manager of the emergency room at Louisiana Heart Hospital and Medical Center in Lacombe for two years, and business office liaison for Southern Surgical Hospital in Slidell for two years. In the four years prior, she worked in various capacities for Pennsylvania-based Summit Physician Services and Slidell Memorial Hospital.
Williams earned an executive master’s degree in Health Care Management from the University of New Orleans. Williams also graduated from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration with a minor in International Studies. Professionally, she is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Community service remains a hallmark of Williams’ career. She is a founder of Louisiana’s first nonprofit volleyball training organization and has served on the boards of several Northshore-based philanthropic organizations.
Kory Krista comes to North Oaks Occupational Health Services with 30 years of experience in the military, health care and business administration sectors.
Before joining the health system, he was a successful franchisee for Mr. Appliance of Covington and Metairie, a residential appliance repair company. Previous positions also include: GE Healthcare’s director of service responsible for medical equipment installation and service for multiple South Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast hospitals; chief operations officer for UTC Labs/Renaissance RX, a medication toxicology and DNA testing laboratory; and director of facility operations, occupational medicine services and business development for Fairway Medical Surgical Hospital in
Covington, where he also facilitated it becoming the first ISO 9001-certified hospital in Louisiana for its quality management system. For a time, he also was owner and president of Navcent Medical Solutions, a consulting firm instrumental in developing Louisiana’s first orthopedic walk-in urgent care clinic.
Krista was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserves after 10 years of distinguished service as Lead Petty Officer and Senior Enlisted Advisor. While a surgical technologist for the naval hospital in Pensacola, Florida, he was honored as Sailor of the Year. He was mobilized to the naval hospital in San Diego, California during the Iraq War as part of the Navy’s Casualty Recovery Teams. In addition, he managed the medical unit for the Navy’s Construction Battalion Base in Gulfport, Mississippi. During his tenure, he earned naval achievement, meritorious reserve, armed forces, national defense, humanitarian and global war on terrorism service medals and numerous letters of commendation.
Krista earned an executive master’s in Business Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University. He also graduated from Southeastern with associate and bachelor’s degrees in Occupational Safety, Health and Environment.
Visit www.northoaks.org to learn more about the health system’s full complement of heart health, occupational medicine, orthopaedic and surgical services. You also may call North Oaks Public Relations at (985) 230-6647.