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Emergency Services Drive Renamed Jay Smith, MD, Drive

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Melanie Zaffuto

North Oaks Medical Center’s Emergency Services Drive has been renamed in memory of Dr. Jay Smith, who served as medical director of the hospital’s emergency department for 22 years until his untimely passing in July 2016.

Jay Smith

With the approval of the Tangipahoa Parish Council and the City of Hammond earlier in the year, the street has been officially renamed “Jay Smith, MD, Drive.”

The change was pursued to honor Smith’s legacy and countless contributions to the health system’s past, present and future, according to North Oaks President/Chief Executive Officer Michele Sutton.

“Jay served the health system and the community with great dedication and provided exceptional care to thousands upon thousands of patients,” Sutton continues. “His passion for making a difference in people’s health was immeasurable.”

On Aug. 15, the North Oaks team joined with Smith’s family for a ribbon cutting at which the current medical director, Brandon Cambre, MD, spoke.

“Jay was an amazing doctor, friend and family man with a great capacity to empathize with others. He designed a work environment that felt like a family unit where we cared for patients and each other,” Cambre praised. “His spirit lives on, and having this street named in his honor serves to cement the legacy he created.”

Smith graduated from Louisiana State University, and performed an internship at Charity Hospital, both in New Orleans. He joined North Oaks in April 1990 as an emergency room physician, and was promoted to medical director of the Emergency Department in 1994.From left are: Dr. Smith’s wife Melanie and their children, Shelby and Alex. Melanie Smith continues to work at North Oaks Medical Center as a Critical Care Registered Nurse.

Under his leadership, the Emergency Department grew from 18,000 annual visits to more than 80,000 and from 12 to 45 beds. He was elected by the medical staff to serve as chief of staff in 1998. As the Emergency Department medical director, Dr. Smith also served for almost 20 years on the medical staff executive committee. In 2014, his colleagues named him North Oaks Physician of the Year.

He served as a standard-bearer for North Oaks by taking the Emergency Department to a nearly paperless state prior to system-wide implementation of electronic health records. Likewise, he championed the establishment of North Oaks Medical Center as a Primary Stroke Center and Level II Trauma Center. He also served as vice chairman of the Louisiana Emergency Response Network’s Regional Commission for Region 9 helping to improve pre-hospital and emergency care statewide.

Dedication of the hospital’s Emergency Department in his memory occurred in June 2017 and preceded the dedication of Jay Smith, MD, Drive.