Leadership Spotlight: Dr. Jullette Saussy, Medical Director, New Orleans
Since sixth grade, a time when most kids are dealing with hormones, Jullette Saussy wanted to be a doctor. She never strayed from that path.
Dr. Saussy’s first healthcare job was as a candy striper. Later, she got a degree in paramedicine and worked as a paramedic while she attended Tulane University as and undergraduate. She went on to get her doctorate at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans and finished her Emergency Residency at Charity Hospital.
As AbsoluteCare’s Medical Director of the New Orleans market, Dr. Saussy is responsible for all providers, medical care, and administrative tasks there. One of her most important contributions is the founding of our successful Paramedic program. In its early days, her paramedics have been flexible, performing not only patient care and assessment, but everything from outreach and enrollment to delivering medicine to members and buying them groceries. They’ve even helped members who’ve been locked out of their homes and provided transportation to and from the center.
The Paramedics program, innovative in itself, is the result of cutting-edge ideas for emergency medical services (EMS), through which Dr. Saussy has made her mark. She reorganized an urban EMS system after Hurricane Katrina, was part of a team that developed a city-assisted evacuation plan, and made advances in paramedic protocols. She has also made the EZ-IO—a tool for injections of fluids and medicines—the standard of care.
Through AbsoluteCare’s EMS program, she has helped extend our after-hours reach by giving physicians and midlevel providers the ability to delegate care to paramedics and EMTs. “This model allows us to address ED over-utilization of healthcare resources (like 911 ambulances and emergency departments) and social determinants of health, which are often contributors to that overutilization.”
AbsoluteCare New Orleans uses a Trailblazer to ride medic teams (in pairs) into the community after hours. They confer with the on-call provider, who can assess members to determine whether their needs are urgent and require an emergency department or can be addressed onsite or the following day. “They are also our eyes and ears in the community, often getting info from EMS, seeing how our members live and with whom. This leads to a more personal level of care—and helps us form a bond of trust.”
What makes Dr. Saussy a good leader—aside from her pioneering work in EMS—is her belief that she should never ask someone to do what she is unwilling to do herself. Her leadership values mirror that of AbsoluteCare’s: Accountability, Cooperation, Teamwork, and Trust. She is passionate and compassionate and extolls the virtues of listening and mediating.
For the motto of her life, Dr. Saussy draws upon Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech: the critics don’t count; it’s the person in the arena who strives to do great deeds, who, “if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Dr. Saussy dares greatly at work and at home, where she became the mother of three girls while attending medical school. She is now a grandmother and lives in New Orleans with her white lab Tex and her white cat Rumple Teaser.