Dr. Janet Barnes named Chair of Grambling University Foundation

New Orleans pediatrician Janet Barnes became chair of the Grambling University Foundation effective July 1.

New Orleans pediatrician Janet Duncan is simply driven.


Driven in her dedication to her job. Driven in her work to make a community a better and healthier place to live.


And especially driven in her dedication and love for her collegiate alma mater, Grambling State University, where she is now in a driver’s seat after taking over as chair of the Grambling University Foundation on July 1.


Barnes, owner of Pedi-pop Pediatrics, LLC, has delivered quality and loving healthcare to the children of metropolitan New Orleans for more than 40 years.


“I’ve been serving families of New Orleans for so long that I am now treating third generations of children after treating their parents and grandparents,” Barnes said. “It’s what I love to do and is still a daily thrill.”


Dr. Barnes’ determination was a major factor in bringing a hospital back to eastern New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 strike on the Crescent City.


Because of her advanced medical knowledge and community roots in the New Orleans’ healthcare system, Barnes was appointed to the Governor’s Healthcare Redesign Work Group of the Louisiana Recovery Authority as well as the health committee of the Mayor’s “Bring New Orleans Back” Commission in the midst of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.


“I like being busy and I like people,” Barnes said of the force that drives her in life. “I didn’t do this as much because I wanted to be a doctor – I love children. I love working with them and helping them. Everything I do, every day I go to work, it’s because I’m doing what I love to do.”


Dr. Barnes’ impact and dedication to New Orleans and the state of Louisiana goes much further than that.


Her recognitions and awards include the Children’s Defense Fund’s “Champion for Children” Award, YWCA Role Model Award, Rainbow PUSH Coalition Globe Award, the Asante Foundation’s Crystal Award for “Health Ambassador,” being named National Medical Association Region V “Doctor of the Year,” the Louisiana Medical Association’s “Distinguished Doctor of the Year,”  the New Orleans Medical Association’s “Doctor of the Year” and  the United Medical Center-St Claude “Doctor of the Year” as well as earning honors as The New Orleans Ministerial Alliance’s “Unsung Hero.”


Dr. Barnes also served before Katrina’s strike on New Orleans as Chief or Vice-Chief of Pediatrics at the now closed hospitals of Columbia Lakeland Medical Center, P.M. Methodist Hospital, and United Medical Center-St Claude.


She was charter member and past President of the first African American female physician organization in the state of Louisiana, The Thelma Coffey Boutte, MD Chapter, Black Women in Medicine and has mentored as a preceptor to nurse practitioner students for more than 30 years from LSU School of Nursing, Loyola University, Southern University-Baton Rouge, Southeastern Louisiana University, McNeese University, Herzing University, Troy University, and Maryville University, among others.


“I had great role models, and they helped make me who I am and I want to affect people the way they affected me,” Barnes said. “Even though I grew up in Ruston, many of my teachers went to Grambling and lived in Grambling. I was impressed by those Gramblinites who made a difference in my life, and I wanted to be like them.


“Because of those people I know how loved and respected Grambling was when I was growing up. So, I want to have that same kind of effect on the people I serve in New Orleans. I’m only passing on what people from GSU passed to me as I was studying and growing to be the person I became. It’s up to us to continue that. That’s why I encourage the young people I have treated as children to attend college at Grambling. I sent my children to Grambling. I want them to be strengthened and taught the way Grambling did to me. That’s just how much I believe Grambling has to offer.”


In addition, Dr. Barnes served as President of the New Orleans Medical Association, post-Katrina, actively recruiting physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and dentists back to New Orleans.


As scholarship chair/co-chair/member for the New Orleans Medical Association, she helped to obtain $500,000 in scholarships to send students to Tulane Medical School and LSU Medical School, New Orleans.


Dr. Barnes’ love and dedication for Grambling State University are as long and strong as the multitudes of accolades and honors she has received over the years.


She is a 1974 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Grambling State University (GSU) with a B.A. in Chemistry on a Full Academic Scholarship. She received her M.D. and pediatric training at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans and also holds an Executive MBA from the University of New Orleans.


Dr. Barnes has served as Chair of GSU’s Black and Gold Facilities Foundation, in which over a $150 million plus dream of reconstruction and new construction is now a reality.


She is a charter member of the Grambling University Foundation and has held several offices, including serving as the organization’s Secretary before taking over as Chair on July 1.


Dr. Barnes was inducted into the GSU Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the prestigious “Presidential Citation for Distinguished Alumnus,” for GSU at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), Washington, DC.


Her drive now as a Grambling University Foundation member is bringing in money to support GSU students.


‘The students in the band, all the athletes – they work hard for Grambling State University. They sacrifice for GSU, and they should all have scholarships,” Barnes said. “And the only way we can do that is if the alumni commit to making sure there is money to make that happen. When I see wonderful students I have treated as they have grown up, but competitor schools are offering them much more money, I realize we aren’t doing our part the way we should.


“Grambling has to fulfill its role in bringing these students to the university. A lot of these students are first-generation students who want to go to Grambling but are getting better offers elsewhere. We as alumni have not lived up to our commitment by not giving back the way we should.”


Dr. Barnes said that’s her message to all GSU alumni.


“We have to do our part,” she said. “We have to set up endowed scholarships, professorships – whatever it takes to make sure we make President (Rick) Gallot’s job easier because he knows he has money in the Foundation to help Grambling out.”


A 1971 graduate of Ruston High School, where she finished with a 3.94/4.0 average, Dr. Barnes was the Senior Class President and was voted “The Most Likely Female to Succeed’ by her classmates. She was presented the American Legion award to the most outstanding senior at the May 1971 commencement.


Dr. Barnes is the daughter of the late Coach James Wicks Duncan, Sr. and Mrs. Mary Rice Duncan of Ruston, both Lincoln Parish educators. She is married to Shelton W. Barnes, MD, a 1974 GSU alumnus, and is the mother of four, three of whom are GSU alumni: Mia Barnes Gray, DDS, 2000; Brittny Barnes, NCIDQ, LEED AP, 2002; Shelton W. Barnes, II, DDS, 2006 (Hayley Jackson Barnes, 2008); and Maryn J. Barnes, 2012 LSU graduate and Doctor of Optometry.


She is also the proud grandmother of Madison, Shawn II (now an angel), Shelton “Trace” III, and Reagan “Sandee.”


“I love all my families,” Barnes said. “I love my children and grandchildren. I love my New Orleans family and community. And I have always and will always love GSU and will always go all I can to make it a better place for its students, faculty, staff and alumni. We all have to do our part to make that happen.”