Rebekah E. Gee, MD
Louisiana Department of Health
Dr. Rebekah Gee is the former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, the state’s largest agency with a budget of $14 billion. Her oversight responsibilities included public health and other direct service programs for citizens in need such as behavioral health, developmental disabilities, aging and adult services, emergency preparedness, and the Medicaid program.
Under Dr. Gee’s leadership, over 500,000 Louisianans became newly insured under Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion, and for the first time, many started receiving much needed primary and preventive health care. Her Medicaid expansion work also resulted in the launch of a dashboard to measure access to health care services, which has become a national model used in other states. She has been a national leader in tackling pharmaceutical pricing, including spearheading an innovative effort to eliminate hepatitis C in Louisiana by negotiating with manufacturers on a subscription model for drug access.
Dr. Gee has also led national discussions on maternal mortality and established one of the first state-run perinatal quality collaboratives focusing on maternal mortality. As a result of her efforts, complications due to heavy bleeding—the leading preventable cause of maternal death, have been reduced by 32% in the past two years. Because of her efforts, from 2016 to 2019 the state saw a 32% drop in the severe health consequences of bleeding in moms who are giving birth.
Dr. Gee is an obstetrician/gynecologist and brings a caregiver’s perspective to the people she serves. In addition, she is a trained policy expert who has served in numerous state and national policy roles. Prior to her role as Secretary, she served as the director for the Birth Outcomes Initiative. Her work on birth outcomes led the charge to decrease infant mortality and prematurity statewide – this resulted in a 25% reduction in infant mortality; an 85% drop in elective deliveries before 39 weeks; and a 10% drop in NICU admissions statewide. In 2017, Dr. Gee was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
She is the mother of five energetic children and lives in New Orleans, where she continues to see patients.