Patrick W. Gandy Jr. has been named chief operating officer at Lafayette General Medical Center. Gandy most recently served as administrator of Lafayette General Surgical Hospital and Lafayette General Imaging, developing both partner facilities from the ground up. During his 13-year tenure at LGMC, Gandy also served as vice president of managed care, supervising the development and retention of managed care contracts in addition to managing the Physician Hospital Organization and Primary Care Medical Services Organization. Gandy has a bachelor's degree in marketing, an MBA with emphasis on health care administration and is a CPA. He replaces Donna Landry, who left the hospital for a position with the Schumacher Group. Katie Hebert is replacing Gandy as administrator at Lafayette General Surgical Hospital. Hebert has more than 17 years of experience in health care management, having served as vice president, ethics and compliance officer, director of business development and director of cardiopulmonary services at Dauterive Hospital in New Iberia. A member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Hebert is a graduate of Leadership Iberia and winner of the Frist Humanitarian Award. Her extensive community contributions also include serving on the board of directors and as president for the United Way of Iberia, on the board of directors and executive board for the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, and involvement with St. Peter's Catholic Church. Hebert holds a bachelor's degree from UL Lafayette and a master of science in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation from LSU.

Dr. Johnny W. Jones has joined Lafayette General Medical Center as chief medical officer. A board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who also has an MBA from Baylor University, he spent the past 16 years in Texarkana, Texas, at Wadley Regional Medical Center as a practicing physician and in various leadership roles. He served on the center's board of directors, as chief of staff, and on the medical executive and performance improvement committees. Dr. Jones was also medical director at Wadley Prenatal Clinic and chairman of the board of Medical Center Medical Group.

The Southwest Chapter of the ESOP Association, a regional organization of companies in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico in which employees are owners through Employee Stock Ownership Plans, presented its Ninth Annual Award for Best Communications to Acadian Ambulance Service. Acadian was honored for services and accomplishments with emphasis on how ownership enhances its quality of service. The award is presented annually to the company with the best overall program for communicating the values and benefits of employee ownership and ESOPs, including the use of newsletters, web sites, special events and other communications. Acadian ranks among the top 100 employee-owned companies in the U.S., according to a list compiled by the National Center for Employee Ownership. The men and women of Acadian became employee-owners of the largest privately owned ambulance service in the U.S. in 1993, with the adoption of an ESOP. Under the plan, 75 percent of the company value in stock is available to employees. The plan involves placing the stock in trust, with those shares acquired by employees redeemable in cash at the time of retirement.

On Wednesday, April 25, Our Lady of Lourdes will present a free public education forum on the symptoms and treatment of uterine fibroids with a procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization, a minimally invasive option that preserves the uterus and greatly reduces recovery times compared to surgical procedures. UFE blocks the blood supply to fibroids, causing them to shrink, and is clinically proven to reduce the major symptoms of fibroids, including pain, excessive and prolonged bleeding and frequent urination. Twenty to 40 percent of women of child-bearing age suffer from symptomatic uterine fibroids of significant size, and until recently, a hysterectomy remained the only proven permanent solution for the problem. The event will be held in Lourdes' Fitzsimons Auditorium from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Drs. Joan Wojak and Blaine Hoppe, interventional neuroradiologists, will describe the procedure and its benefits and provide an open forum for questions from the audience. Fibroids are benign, non-cancerous growths in or on the walls of the uterus, or womb, and can range from less than an inch around to more than 6 inches. Those with a family history and African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids. For more information, call 289-4863.

Pre-med biology students from Comeaux High School interested in careers in the health care field had an opportunity to discuss the process with a resident physician. On March 27, Dr. Kathryn Giglio Strother addressed two classes of students as part of the celebration of National Area Health Education Week by the Southwest Louisiana AHEC. AHECs are committed to expanding the health care workforce, including maximizing diversity and facilitating distribution, especially in underserved communities. Two Southwest Louisiana AHEC departments associated with opposite ends of the health care careers pipeline combined their resources in executing the forum. Both the Health Education Programs branch, which deals with youth and preventative tobacco measures, and Med Job Louisiana, a program focused on health care provider recruitment and retention for the state, coordinated the lecture. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions pertaining to medical school. A Lafayette native, Giglio Strother graduated from St. Thomas More High School in 1996 and is in the LSU Family Medicine program at UMC. When she completes her residency this summer, she will join Dr. Ed Lafleur of Youngsville Family Medicine.