ochsnerbiz.001.JPG

Dr. Richard Milani, Ochsner's chief clinical transformation officer, and Aimee Quirk, CEO of innovation Ochsner, are in front of the 'O Bar' inside of the Primary Care and Wellness Center in New Orleans. Ochsner, using wearable technology reporting data, is trying to improve the health of patients with high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.

ADVOCATE PHOTO BY J.T. BLATTY

The first Ochsner clinic opened on Jan. 2, 1942

What would become the region’s largest healthcare provider started as the city’s first group practice in 1941.

Alton Ochsner, Guy Caldwell, Curtis Tyrone, Edgar Burns and Francis LeJeune Sr. wanted to create a group practice similar to the Cleveland and Mayo clinics. The five, all local medical professors, opened their first clinic at the corner of Aline and Prytania streets in 1942, housing patients at the Briede Home on St. Charles Avenue.

Just two years later, they created the Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to research, education and charity and began accepting medical school residents. In 1946, the group purchased Camp Pauche’s station hospital, at the foot of the Huey P. Long Bridge, and established the first Ochsner hospital. The hospital, nicknamed “Splinter Village” closed in 1954, after a clinic at the site of its current Jefferson Highway campus opened.

Alton Ochsner has been recognized as one of the first surgeons to link cigarette smoking to lung cancer.

The clinic and foundation were merged in 2001 and renamed Ochsner Clinic Foundation. Ochsner on Jefferson Highway was one of three hospitals that remained open during and after Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, the group purchased storm-battered hospitals in New Orleans, Kenner and on the Westbank – including Memorial Medical Center on Napoleon Avenue, now Ochsner Baptist.

The system now owns or controls 13 hospitals and 40 health centers.