Dr. John Ochsner
A unique partnership to
increase access to free,
Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas observes a science experiment alongside students from Kenner Discovery.
In 2019 Ochsner Health announced one of the most meaningful and impactful community initiatives in our history — one that will benefit children, their families and the broader community for years to come. Our partnership with the Discovery Health Sciences Academy — a high-performing, open enrollment, tuition-free charter school with three campuses in Jefferson Parish — will make it possible to establish a new K-8 public charter school in the heart of the historic Shrewsbury community. To be located near Ochsner Medical Center — Jefferson Highway and welcoming its first students in August 2020, it’s named the Dr. John Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy at the John Martyn Campus. Ochsner will finance and manage the renovation and construction of the permanent campus at no cost to Jefferson Parish Schools. This community partnership between a healthcare system and an open enrollment public charter school is among the first of its kind in the nation.
The Academy’s curriculum will focus on preparing students of all backgrounds for careers in the health sciences with an overall focus on health, wellness, culture and values. Once fully enrolled, the charter school will educate approximately 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. For Ochsner, partnering with a health sciences-focused school is ideally aligned with our history and mission. Over the past 77 years we have worked to build a strong national legacy as an academic medical center that prepares others for bright futures in healthcare. In addition, our community-based educational initiatives have benefited more than 40,000 students and teachers across Louisiana.
During the past six years Ochsner has built a strong relationship with Discovery Health Sciences Academy, working together on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-focused education programs, hands-on curriculum for students, and professional education for teachers. This work gives both of our organizations an opportunity to serve our communities in lasting ways — broadening access to cost-free, high-quality education and preparing kids to reach their full potential.
That the new academy is named for the late Dr. John Ochsner, a world-renowned cardiologist and son of Dr. Alton Ochsner, founder of the health system, is especially fitting. Dr. Ochsner firmly believed in investing in education to give Louisiana and its children a promising future. The new academy will open doors of opportunity for our community’s young people and help prepare a diverse student body to succeed in life and pursue careers in the health sciences.