April Vanek Radford COO of Ochsner Health, Most Empowering Women Leaders of 2021 Profile

April Vanek Radford
COO of Ochsner Health

April Vanek Radford COO of Ochsner Health, Most Empowering Women Leaders of 2021

April Radford is the COO of Ochsner Health's Hospital Based Service Lines. She began her healthcare career as a medical receptionist in a small community hospital's outpatient Radiology department, working her way through college while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ophthalmic Medical Technology. She began working at Ochsner in the Ophthalmology department in 1999 after completing her schooling, and she rapidly learned to appreciate the organization's commitment to the community, patients, and workers.

Her journey into leadership, and most likely the turning point in her career, began 22 years ago with a supervisory role, which led to her earning an MBA and putting her on the management track. She had the privilege of working with main and specialty practices to improve the health of local communities, patients across the country, and patients around the world. She has built medical and surgical services and access to treatment with some of the best leaders and healthcare experts in the country. Some of her best and most memorable days were spent volunteering in communities after major weather catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina and the COVID-19 Pandemic, rebuilding homes, delivering food, and providing tests and vaccinations. Together, Ochsner Health has developed telemedicine outreach programs to reach out to rural communities and help community hospitals. She is excited about the potential to establish cost-effective and high-quality services in her new COO position, which will allow for seamless patient care across hospital-based service lines. Her personal satisfaction comes from witnessing how people's daily contributions save and transform lives.

Serving, healing, leading, educating, and innovating are all aspects of Ochsner's mission. It's straightforward, but it's based on more than 80 years of dedication to Louisiana's and the Gulf South's total health and well-being. The five Ochsner founders taught the crew what they needed to know about caring for people, rather than diseases. They instilled in Ochsner's personnel the conviction that providing high-quality patient care is their number one priority. Instead of treating diseases, Ochsner focuses on people. So it always puts patients – and people – first.

“Patients First” is actually the first of Ochsner’s 6 core values. The others are Integrity, Compassion, Inclusivity, Excellence, and Teamwork. April Radford and the team have learned that one thing they can count on is change during the last two years. And, over the last few years, they've evolved from a healthcare provider to a health provider. That implies they are concerned with keeping individuals healthy throughout their lives, not only physically but also financially, mentally, socially, and educationally. Ochsner is dedicated to serving the full person at every stage of life so that everyone can live in a healthy environment with healthy individuals, families, and communities. Ochsner’s new vision articulates that very simply: “We inspire healthier lives and stronger communities.”

Investing time in continuing education, researching, and developing industry best practices, and networking with other professionals in healthcare, information technology, and consumer-centric industries allows Ochsner's team to keep challenging the status quo as they strive for excellence and high-quality care. Ochsner developed and implemented a COVID-19 symptom tracker for patients who test positive for COVID and it can help monitor their symptoms remotely. Ochsner developed “Safe to Return” plans for businesses to help them reopen safely for both their employees and customers. Ochsner Employer Solutions provided on-site assessments and recommendations from infectious disease specialists on how to create a safe work environment, such as on-site screening stations, access to education, signage, and resources, and an on-site virtual employer clinic.

April Vanek Radford says “I think successful leadership starts with empathy and a genuine desire to serve. I’ve found success and personal satisfaction investing in others’ ability to succeed whether they be our patients or my colleagues. I’ve embraced opportunities to grow my knowledge and experience, accepting challenging roles and stretching beyond my comfort zone. I practice gratitude for the work I get to do every day.” April Radford's innovative situational approach and passion for helping others made her a leading woman leader. IEWL


Ochsner Health


April Vanek Radford
COO of Ochsner Health


Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventive screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision.

Emerging Women Leaders Special Magazine