Kanter says he plans to reflect on pandemic before his next position after resigning as state health officer


Dr. Joe Kanter, who led Louisiana during the COVID-19 pandemic stepped down from his role as state health officer Monday. On WWL Radio Newell Normand’s show, Kanter reflected on his tenure as the state’s top doc and said he’s looking forward to the next step in his career.

“Not ready to cement that yet, but for the time being I’m very happy to be home. This has provided me a very good opportunity to reflect and to be honest I really haven’t had a good chance to reflect on the whole experience in the last few years and I think I need it,” said Kanter.

Kanter remains on staff at University Medical Center and is a faculty member at LSU Health New Orleans and Tulane School of Medicine. Kanter, who grew up in Illinois and Florida, became a daily fixture during the pandemic and said he considers New Orleans home now.

“I really feel fortunate and grateful that I was in my role in a time of need. I think people want to feel useful and I feel like I was,” said Kanter.

Louisiana was among the hardest hit early in the pandemic and when the state’s death rate rose to one of the highest in the nation Kanter worked 21-hour days.

Before entering the next phase of his career, the emergency room physician said he plans to reflect on the last few years. Kanter said at the peak of the pandemic when they were counting down hospital beds and ventilators to the single digits.

“Those were just about the scariest times I’ve personally ever lived through and I’m looking forward to really being able to unpack that,” said Kanter.

Kanter was also a fierce proponent of vaccines and was among the first healthcare providers to be vaccinated.

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