Mary Bird Perkins COO and Physics Chief is First Medical Physicist to Earn Prestigious Fellowship

(Baton Rouge, La.) – Jonas Fontenot, PhD, MS, chief operating officer and chief of physics at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, is the first medical physicist selected by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) to receive the ASTRO Health Policy Fellowship designation. This year-long program trains leaders in radiation oncology health policy issues, and engagement in reimbursement, coding and payment reform projects. Dr. Fontenot is one of two participants nationwide chosen to participate in the program.

“Distinguished thought leaders like Dr. Fontenot are key to the Cancer Center’s mission and reflect the team’s constant pursuit to advance cancer care and create innovative solutions,” said Todd Stevens, president and chief operating officer, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “At our core, we are focused on each patient’s care, and we are invested in transforming how the entire healthcare system works for those affected by cancer. We congratulate Dr. Fontenot on this tremendous achievement.”

Dr. Fontenot has been actively involved in healthcare economics for the last ten years.

“The opportunities provided by this fellowship will deepen my understanding and influence on the economics of healthcare in our country, ensuring that cancer patients and their caregivers continue to have a voice within the healthcare policymaking landscape,” said Dr. Fontenot, who currently serves on ASTRO’s Code Development and Valuation Subcommittee.

Fellows will participate in the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Scale Update Committee and Current Procedural Terminology Editorial Panel, and will gain experience with issues related to Medicare and third-party payer reimbursement, as well as alternative payment models.

Dr. Fontenot received a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and both a Master of Science and doctorate in medical physics from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He is board-certified in therapeutic medical physics by the American Board of Radiology.

Dr. Fontenot has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed publications, and has received more than $1 million in research funding from industry and government sponsors. A leader of Mary Bird Perkins’ nationally acclaimed Medical Physics partnership with Louisiana State University, he serves as an adjunct faculty member in the LSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, teaching two courses and supervising graduate student research. Dr. Fontenot played a key role in bringing the Gamma Knife Icon, a breakthrough, noninvasive treatment for brain tumors and central nervous system conditions to Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.

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Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana.  For more information, please visit