Jefferson Parish students had the opportunity to see real
heroes in action over four days in December.
Through the combined efforts of the Louisiana Department of
Health, Health Heroes with the guidance from the Louisiana Academy of Pediatrics, Jefferson Parish School Board and — most importantly — school nurses and staff,
more than 2,500 flu vaccines were administered to students at 79 schools
December 9-12. Students received their vaccines in their schools, missing less
than 5 minutes of class time.
This pilot program was voluntary, allowing parents and
guardians the choice to have their child vaccinated against the flu. Since the
vaccines were given at school, parents and guardians didn’t miss any time from
work. Also, they didn’t have to worry about any co-pays, meaning no
Students were given Flucelvax®, a
flu vaccine for anyone ages 4 and older. It is made from inactivated (dead) flu
viruses, protects against four strains of influenza and is free of antibiotics,
latex, preservatives and eggs.
Thanks to the success of this pilot program in Jefferson
Parish, it will be expanded to six more school districts beginning in January
The vaccination clinics were made possible through a
public/private partnership between the Department of Health and Health Heroes,
which brings flu immunization clinics to schools. These clinics provide flu
vaccines to all consented school children regardless of their health insurance
coverage and with no out-of-pocket expense.
Now, more children will be protected against the flu as they
prepare to travel or gather with family and friends for the holidays. If your
child wasn’t included in this effort to prevent flu, or if you haven’t received
your flu shot, now is the time to get vaccinated. It’s your first and best way
to reduce your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others.
Flu shots are available at any parish health unit throughout
flu season at no cost to the patient. Local pharmacies, clinics, doctors’
offices and federally qualified (community) health centers also will offer flu
shots throughout the season. Check ldh.la.gov/fighttheflu for
a flu shot provider near you.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” crooner Andy
Williams famously sang of Christmas. As he further sang, “There’ll be parties
for hosting, marshmallows for toasting …”
Was he ever right or what? The holiday season is overflowing
with merry gatherings, usually full of delicious things to eat and drink. From cups
of cocoa topped with marshmallows, to your mom’s famous pecan pie, to full-scale
feasts, there’s something to make everyone’s belly happy.
But – is a happy belly a healthy belly? Shown below are the
calories in an average portion of some classic dishes, drinks and desserts.
However, instead of all the sweets and high-calorie foods, there are smarter
choices you may want to consider at the next gathering you attend. These
choices will let you enjoy your meal AND be better for your health!
Here are some tips to treat your taste buds and maintain
Don’t skip meals or sleep before a feast, or you’ll be more
likely to overeat.
Choose a small plate of your favorite foods, including a
healthy selection of fiber-rich foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains
that will help you stay full longer.
Choose fewer carbohydrates, like potatoes and bread.
Fill one small plate, then leave the buffet table.
Eat slowly, taking the time to savor your food. Your brain
needs at least 20 minutes to realize your stomach is full.
If you’re thinking about going back for a second plate,
drink some water and wait 10 minutes. Then see if you’re still hungry before
going back for more.
Choose one dessert you really love and then savor a small
Have your alcoholic drink with food.
Make time for physical activity such as a game of backyard
football, a walk with family or a bicycle ride.
A little preparation and motivation will go a long way
toward keeping you healthy and happy during “the most wonderful time of the
year.” Happy holidays!
When children rush to the tree or their stockings on Christmas morning, what shouldn't they find among the candies and toys? Lady Luck — in the form of a lottery ticket, scratch-off or other gambling game.
These games of chance are often seen as inexpensive, harmless gifts that give children a fleeting thrill. Most win nothing at all, a few win a little something and even fewer win big. No matter what, the odds of a win are very small potatoes when stacked against the odds of developing a gambling addiction.
“The Impact of Gambling in Louisiana: 2016 Study of Problem Gambling,” released by the LDH Office of Behavioral Health, details the most recent gambling statistics among students in grades 6, 8 10 and 12. In the study, students in 2014 reported playing bingo for money and betting on sports, cards, dice and games of skill.
Among the highest gambling incidences were 20.2% of sixth-graders playing bingo for money, 19.7% of eighth-graders betting on sports and 19.4% of eighth-graders playing bingo for money — or roughly 1 in 5 students participating in some form of gambling.
Studies of adults with gambling problems have shown that the earlier a person begins gambling, the more likely they are to develop a gambling problem, especially when scoring a big win at a young age. An article by Renee St-Pierre and Jeffrey Derevensky noted “disordered gambling among youths is frequently linked with … greater gambling expenditure, academic difficulties, poor or disrupted family relationships, both concurrent and later alcohol and substance abuse problems.”
“This holiday, if you are considering giving a lottery ticket or scratch-off to a child as a gift, be a Scrooge and DON'T give lottery tickets as a gift,” said Kenneth Saucier, program manager with the Office of Behavioral Health. “Scratch-off cards might seem like a cheap, fun and harmless gift, but that's not the case. Any games of chance can increase risk factors for an addiction problem further down the road.”
Louisiana provides problem gambling resources at no cost to residents. For more information on problem gambling or to set up an appointment to address a problem or concern, call the Louisiana Problem Gamblers Helpline at 1-877-770-STOP (7867). The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Help is also available at ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/1545 and helpforgambling.org.
By DR. JAMES E. HUSSEY | Medical Director,
LDH Office of Behavioral Health
Holidays are often seen as a time of celebration, family
gatherings, gift-giving, joy and other happy moments. But, for some, it is a
time of additional stress, anxiety, blues or depression. In one survey conducted
by the American Psychological Association, 38% responded that their stress
levels increased during holidays (including lack of time, money, commercialism,
gift pressures) and 56% responded that they experience most stress at work
(only 29% at home).
There may be several reasons why people become more anxious,
sad or depressed during the holidays:
Those with small social circles or minimal family support due to few or no
relatives living close by sometimes begin to feel lonely, unsupported, and left
out and isolated. Winter/cold/bad weather also contributes to staying inside.
those gathering with relatives, they may become more aware of those who are no
longer part of the gatherings or celebrations due to severe illness or death
during the prior year.
DEMANDS: With holidays, vacations, end-of-year deadlines, reports, taxes
and other demands, there can be real increases in work demands, leading to
stress and anxiety.
Money issues can become very obvious during holidays. Finding the money to
provide gifts for everyone is stressful. Worries about debt or not providing
enough for family, kids and others can lead to despair, sadness, depression and
anxiety. Maybe as many as 53% of people report this as a source of stress,
according to a Principal Financial Group survey.
DISORDER/DEPRESSION (MAJOR DEPRESSION WITH SEASONAL PATTERN): It should be
noted that there are depressive episodes that can go beyond the blues, become
more sustained, and sometimes occur more frequently during the fall and develop
during the winter. Most people stop having these symptoms during the spring and
summer, but some may persist. This may have to do with the length of the days
being shorter, decreased exposure to light or other factors. For more severe
symptoms of depression, treatment should be sought, such as light therapy, talk
therapy or medications.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS: Overeating,
weight gain and bloating can be problematic for some.
Dealing with holiday depression
Talk to your doctor if dealing with depression or sadness
for long periods of time, or if it begins to affect your functioning, activities
of daily living, appetite or sleep, or if suicidal thoughts come into play.
There are resource help lines such as the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255) and the Crisis
Text Line (www.crisistextline.org).
For emergencies, call 911.
Make sure you get enough sleep.
Exercise 30 minutes per day (if tolerated).
Continue or begin new holiday traditions like family
gatherings, outings or vacations instead of staying home.
Be mindful of holiday pressures.
Volunteer at soup kitchens, church activities, gift drives,
helping elderly neighbors with yard tasks, etc.
Get back to nature with walks in the woods, parks along a
Contrary to popular belief, suicides do NOT spike during
holidays. November, December and January are actually low months for suicide.
Peak months may be more like April through August.
E-cigarette and vaping devices come in an array of sizes and shapes.
By ANGELA VANVECKHOEVEN | Health Education Manager, Well-Ahead Louisiana
A recently released report compiled by Well-Ahead Louisiana and the Louisiana
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living shows that vaping among the state’s middle and
high school students has doubled since 2017 and tripled since 2015. 2019 E-Cigarette Use Among Louisiana Youth reveals that 32% of high school students and
15% of middle school students vape, which follows the national trend of
increased vaping among youth and youth adults.
These numbers are especially alarming in light of the current outbreak of
lung injury (EVALI) associated with e-cigarette use, also known as vaping. The
CDC launched an investigation into the outbreak on Aug. 1, and as of Dec. 4 has
confirmed 2,291 cases in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and
the U.S. Virgin Islands, with 48 of the patients dying because of the illness.
In Louisiana, 32 cases have been confirmed, with two deaths. The median age of
victims is 24 nationally and 28 within the state.
As of Nov. 8, the CDC found vitamin E acetate in lung fluid samples from
29 patients from 10 states, the first detection of a potential chemical concern
in biologic samples from EVALI patients. Vitamin E acetate usually does not
cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin.
However, previous research suggests when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may
interfere with normal lung functioning. Vitamin E acetate is used as an
additive in the production of e-cigarettes because it resembles THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)
oil, and it’s also used as a thickening ingredient in e-liquids. Click the
links to learn more about the national outbreak and the Louisiana cases.
Even without the threat of EVALI, vaping can harm a teenager's
still-developing brain and negatively affect memory, learning and
concentration. To effectively protect young people from all forms of tobacco —
including e-cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars, little cigars and hookah — Well-Ahead Louisiana offers the following resources and encourages
adults to take action.
KNOW WHY TEENS VAPE: According
to the new report, 45% of middle school students and nearly 37% of high school
students said the reason they vape is because a friend or family member does.
More than 14% of middle school students and nearly 21% of high school students
like that vape products are available in flavors. Nearly 7% of the middle
school students and almost 15% of the high school students believe that vaping
is less harmful than other tobacco products.
KNOW THE RISKS AND EDUCATE YOUTH: In addition to harming brain development, nicotine exposure in youth can
increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs. Well-Ahead has compiled resources to educate parents, teachers, coaches, etc.
about the harmful effects of these products, as well as how to talk to teens
HELP YOUTH QUIT:
Youth who vape are four times more likely to go on to smoke cigarettes.
Quitting nicotine isn't easy, but it can be done with the right support. Find
access to youth cessation resources here.
IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE, 100% TOBACCO-FREE SCHOOL POLICIES: Every Louisiana school district is required to
have a written 100% tobacco-free school policy that prohibits the use of any
tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, on campus and at school-related
events for students, staff and visitors. It is important to educate and promote
compliance among school staff to support this policy. Visit wellaheadla.com to ensure your school’s policy complies with
Louisiana law and to find resources for effective implementation.
The bottom line
Because nicotine and other chemicals in
e-cigarettes can be damaging to the development of a teen's brain, yet youth do
not see vaping as being harmful, it's important for adults to understand the
products youth are using and be prepared to talk about their effects. For more
information, visit wellaheadla.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By DR. DAWN R.
MARCELLE | Region 2 Medical Director, LDH Office of Public Health
Keeping our children safe and healthy rank among the highest
of parents’ concerns — and where safety and health meet, the topic of vaccines will
often arise. While parents have the right to make decisions about their
children’s health, as a pediatrician and a mother of two, I can confidently say
without hesitation that overall, vaccines are safe and effective.
Vaccines are the best way to protect your child against a
number of illnesses, including measles, whooping cough (pertussis) and mumps,
all of which have made a comeback in recent years due to a drop in vaccination
rates. Other vaccine-preventable illnesses include tetanus, diphtheria, varicella
(chickenpox), rubella, hepatitis B, polio, meningococcal meningitis and
influenza, especially now with flu season in full swing across Louisiana.
How they work
A vaccine contains a version of the bacterium or virus
responsible for a particular disease. Vaccines can be live (containing a
weakened form of the bacterium or virus) or inactivated (containing a killed
version of the bacterium or virus).
For example; if you receive a chickenpox vaccine, the
presence of the chickenpox virus in the vaccine causes the body to think that
it’s under attack. This activates the immune system, which treats the weakened/dead
chickenpox virus (antigen) like a full-blown infection and makes antibodies to
fight off the disease. These chickenpox antibodies remain in the person’s
immune system, ready to provide active protection if you come into future contact
with live chickenpox virus.
With so many vaccines out there, how is a parent to know
which vaccine is needed and when? That’s where immunization schedules are
helpful. Developed with your child’s safety in mind, immunization schedules show
which vaccines are given at which stages of your child’s life. Following such
schedules provides immunity early in life before most infants and children are
exposed to life-threatening diseases.
Vaccination schedules are developed by the CDC’s Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The committee includes physicians
and public health practitioners who are dedicated to keeping children safe and
healthy. All vaccines listed on immunization schedules have been exhaustively
tested to be sure they are safe and effective. Sometimes multiple vaccines will
be given at a single pediatric visit, and this is safe and normal. There’s not
enough antigens in vaccines to overload a healthy baby’s immune system. In
fact, during an average day a baby will encounter more antigens than they will
receive in a vaccine.
Some parents, expressing concern about the number of
vaccines their children receive from infancy to school age, may wish to follow
an alternative schedule that spreads out vaccines or even skips some entirely. This
practice is discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends
parents follow established immunization schedules. These schedules are for your
child’s protection, and following them gives your child immunity early in life,
before they can be exposed to potentially deadly diseases like measles.
Keep in mind that some children can’t be vaccinated, such as
those with weakened immune systems due to an illness or medical treatment. The
best protection for these children is for everyone around them to be vaccinated
— that includes parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and any
As a pediatrician, let me say once again that vaccines are
overwhelmingly proven safe and effective. I encourage parents to follow the
recommended immunization schedules to give their children the best possible
protection against a number of serious diseases.
The American Academy of Pediatrics considers vaccines to be
one of the the most significant medical innovations of our time. Considering
the countless lives saved thanks to vaccines, I couldn’t agree more.
Thanksgiving is famously known as a time for good eating.
Your eyes are often bigger than your stomach, and you may be eating special
foods that only come around once or twice a year. In anticipation of packing so
many delicious dishes into your belly, you may even bring out your “fat pants” so
you have extra room.
But, instead of letting temptations run free, why not make a
healthy and delicious contribution to the Thanksgiving table? A little planning
and preparation can go a long way toward giving you and your loved ones’ waistlines
something to be thankful for, like one of these better-for-you side dishes from
If you’re serving a larger group than what the recipe calls
for, no worries — just double or even triple the recipe to meet your needs. Click on any recipe card to enlarge it.
When Thanksgiving is over, what can you do with leftover
turkey besides sandwiches? Try a hot, comforting and healthy cup of soup. To
make this soup lower in saturated fat, prepare it ahead of time to cool and
skim off the fat that rises to the top.
By DR. DAVID J.
HOLCOMBE | Medical Director, LDH Region 6
With summer well behind us and school in session, it is a great
time to travel. Seniors, with time and disposable income,
can devote more of their life to exploring the U.S. and abroad. In fact, world
travel for all ages has exploded in the last few decades, with more people
traveling to more and more exotic locations, often remote and underdeveloped.
Travelers need to consider many precautions, however, prior
to any long-distance, prolonged voyage in order to have a safe experience.
Precautions start in the airplane. Reduced cabin pressure,
prolonged inactivity and close quarters predispose travelers to reduced oxygen,
deep venous thromboses and increases in airborne or contact transmitted
Once on site, exotic foods, wild animals and insect-borne
illnesses all pose threats to travelers. Avoiding unfiltered water and raw or
undercooked foods, especially from street vendors, can go a long way toward
preventing food- and water-borne diseases. Never touch or approach any dogs,
cats, or other domestic or wild animals, since rabies is common around the
Safe driving, safe sex and mosquito avoidance can prevent a
whole host of serious health issues.
High altitude carries its own danger of altitude-related
sickness, a significant risk for older travelers and those with chronic heart
or lung diseases. Careful acclimatization or the use of medications such as
Diamox may be required.
Remember to use caution when climbing the steps of that
wonderful, ancient pyramid or magnificent cathedral.
Vaccinations largely depend on the location of travel. All
travelers need to consult www.cde.gov/travel
for site-specific vaccination recommendations.
Yellow fever vaccination is required for multiple areas of
Africa and South America. Unfortunately, stocks of the vaccine are severely
limited worldwide and there is only a single site in Louisiana — in Metairie —
with consistent availability.
Hepatitis A and B vaccines should be up to date since both
diseases remain widespread in developing countries. Because both vaccines are
administered in a series that takes from four to six months to complete, do not
wait until the last minute. That being said, it is better to be partially
vaccinated than not vaccinated at all.
Meningitis vaccine remains necessary for most of Sub-Saharan
Africa, especially in the dry winter season from December through June.
Typhoid vaccine, as either an injection or four capsules
taken over seven days, offers protection, especially for travelers in Southeast
Japanese encephalitis vaccine is also recommended in some
parts of Asia, especially rural areas.
Cholera, transmitted by contaminated food and water, remains
a danger and travelers to countries where it occurs should be vaccinated with a
single oral dose of the vaccine.
Influenza (flu) varies depending on the season, which
differs in the Northern (winter) and Southern (summer) hemispheres. Annual
vaccination against the flu protects in either hemisphere although variations
occur in the organism due to genetic shifts in the virus.
Measles, mumps and rubella remain worldwide threats and that
particular vaccine (MMR) should be administered to those born from 1957 to
1989. Measles is highly contagious and rates are much higher outside the U.S.,
even in Europe.
Poliomyelitis and TdaP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or
whooping cough) vaccines should be up to date prior to any travel.
Pregnant women and those with complex medical conditions
should always consult a physician prior to travel. Both MMR and varicella are
live vaccines and should not be given to pregnant women.
Everyone should carry enough medication for the entire trip
as well as a complete list of his or her medications (with commercial and generic
nomenclature) and the doses.
For older travelers, remember that Medicare does not work
overseas. Some private insurances do cover clients out of the U.S. but this coverage
varies significantly. Supplemental health insurance for travelers is available
for a price, often hefty in senior citizens.
Travel should be a mind-expanding experience and not one
ending in costly medical problems or death. See the world, have fun, but be
sure to take all the necessary precautions for safe travel. Prevention is always
the best medicine at any age and anywhere in the world.
Protective Services (APS) operates under the umbrella of the Department’s
Office of Aging and Adult Services, serving ages 18 to 59 and emancipated
minors (those who are legally considered an adult). APS investigates reports of
abuse and arranges for services to protect vulnerable members of these
populations who are at risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation or extortion.
Financial abuse, including exploitation and extortion, is
one of the allegations APS investigates, and the number of cases APS
investigates has been on the rise over the past several years. Reports of
vulnerable adult Louisianans falling victim to financial abuse climbed from 760
in 2017 to 828 in 2019. It’s the third most common kind of abuse investigated
by APS in Louisiana, after caregiver neglect and emotional abuse. While being
highly common, financial abuse is also highly underreported.
What is considered financial
Adult Protective Services handles issues of theft and fraud
by a family member, caregiver or other parties known to the adult.
assets taken without the adult’s knowledge, consent or authorization. It may
also include the taking of their cash, valuables, medications or other personal
property. Fraud involves acts of
dishonestly by those entrusted to manage the adult’s assets but instead use
them for unintended purposes. Fraud may include falsification of records,
forgeries, unauthorized check-writing and Ponzi-type financial schemes.
Feelings of fear, shame, guilt, anger, self-doubt, remorse
Inability to replace lost assets through employment
Inability to hire an attorney to pursue legal protections
Becoming reliant on government safety net programs
Inability to provide long-term care needs
Loss of primary residence
Sometimes, people who have been the victims of financial
abuse may also be victims of physical and/or emotional abuse or neglect.
Louisiana’s Adult Protective Services Reporting Law requires
all Louisianans to report abuse, neglect, exploitation and extortion of adults
with disabilities. Any citizen who reports in good faith and who cooperates or
participates in judicial proceedings to assistant in an investigation by APS is
granted immunity from civil or criminal liability.
Under this law, anyone who knows of such an incident and
fails to report it or knowingly makes a false report is subject to criminal
To report a case of a vulnerable adult (between ages 18 and
59) who may be at risk of abuse, call APS at 1-800-898-4910. This toll-free hotline takes reports 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. If the situation threatens the life of an adult with
disabilities, call 911 immediately.
You don’t have to give your own name when making a report,
but doing so along with providing your contact information helps APS with its
investigation if additional information or details are needed at a later date.
If you choose to share your name, it will be kept confidential unless the case
requires the involvement of law enforcement.
When reporting a case to APS, you’ll need to provide the
alleged victim’s name, location and details of the alleged abuse. Share as much
information as possible. APS will screen your report to make sure it’s
appropriate for APS services. If deemed appropriate, an APS specialist is
assigned to the case. This specialist will conduct an investigation and arrange
protective services for the victim.
Depending on the victim’s risk of harm, an investigation
will begin within 24 hours or before 10 business days of the report being
filed, with investigations being completed within 30 days. Because APS is not a
law enforcement agency, these probes are not criminal investigations. However,
APS may refer a case to law enforcement or the District Attorney’s Office when
a crime is suspected.
If during the course of the investigation the victim is
determined to be at continued risk of harm or mistreatment has occurred, APS
will use social service or civil legal options to protect the victim.
Interventions to protect the victim or reduce their risk of harm go into action
within 90 to 120 days, though competent adults have the legal right to refuse
APS investigations are confidential, so results can’t be
shared or released except for certain information and only to the victim and/or
their legal representative and with law enforcement, medical or social service
agencies, as needed, to coordinate services to the victim.
Remember: If you suspect or have evidence that someone is
being financially abused, report it. Help keep some of our most vulnerable
For more resources on Adult Protective Services, click here.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral
Health and the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health are proud to say
the Center for Evidence to Practice is up and running.
Now, you’re probably wondering — what is the Center for
Evidence to Practice? This initiative serves Louisiana as a hub for training
and implementation of best practices for behavioral health services for
children, youth and families.
Behavioral health evidence-based practices are therapies
that have undergone the multiple, rigorous, randomized controls vital to
determine whether a practice has proven to be effective. While many behavioral
health therapies exist, only a handful are considered best practices.
Evidence-based practices in behavioral health are a nationally-recognized
strategy to seeing improved outcomes, and it’s something that’s been gaining
steam in Louisiana.
Resources at your
One of the biggest achievements of the Center’s launch is
its website, laevidencetopractice.com.
If you’re a parent seeking help for your child, a behavioral health service
provider or any other kind of stakeholder in behavioral health, you will want
to check out this website.
There’s a statewide map that shows where to find specialized,
trained providers certified in evidence-based practices and providers currently
working toward certification. This map is continually being updated, so if you
find inaccurate information, just use the “Contact Us” function on the website
to report it so that it can be corrected.
Another feature is a calendar listing events and trainings for
behavioral health providers, sponsored by the Center and by other partners such
as state agencies and managed care organizations. Many of these trainings are
free of cost to providers who serve Medicaid-eligible youth.
You also will have the option to sign up for the Center’s
newsletter, Behavioral Health Buzz, which includes monthly updates on
evidence-based practice trainings and implementation.
Coming soon is E2P Learn, an online e-learning platform for
behavioral health provider agencies, practitioners and other stakeholders. This
platform will use videos and webinars to provide comprehensive support for the
implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practices in Louisiana.
Find behavioral health providers certified in evidence-based practices using a map available on the Center for Evidence to Practice website, laevidencetopractice.com
So, what are these evidence-based practices? The Center
currently recognizes these 10 evidence-based practices in Louisiana:
home-based intensive family preservation services treatment program that enlists
families as partners in assessment, goal setting and treatment planning, with
the aim of avoiding unnecessary placement of children and youth into foster
care or other out-of-home placements.
Therapy (FFT): Home-based intensive therapeutic model for families with multiple
risk factors, serving youth ages 10 to 18 in the context of their families. The
goals are to reduce behavioral and emotional problems in youth through family
therapy that engages and motivates the family to improve family functioning,
and change behaviors such as truancy, aggression and substance use.
(MST): An intensive home-, family- and community-based treatment serving
youth ages 12 to 17, in the context of their families, who are exhibiting
significant negative behaviors such as chronic or violent juvenile offenses.
Treatment (ACT): An intensive home- and community-based intervention
delivered by an interdisciplinary team, for individuals 18 and older with a
severe and persistent mental illness, with the goal of promoting symptom
stability, increasing the individual’s ability to cope and relate to others,
and enhancing the highest level of functioning in the community.
Therapy – Child Welfare (FFT-CW): Home-based intensive therapeutic model for
families of youth ages birth to 18, where there are issues of child safety/neglect/family
violence. The goals are to address safety and risk factors, change referral
behaviors, reduce child maltreatment risk and preserve home placement.
Interaction Therapy (PCIT): Therapy that focuses on improving parent-child relationships,
by coaching the parents of young children in specific skills to help establish
a nurturing relationship with their child, foster positive behavior and
discourage negative behavior.
Psychotherapy (CPP): A parent-child therapy for children up to age 6, which
addresses trauma with the caregiver and child, with the goal of supporting and strengthening
the parent-child relationship as a vehicle for restoring and protecting the child’s
Preschool-PTSD Treatment (YPT and PPT): For children who have experienced trauma,
a therapy that works with parent and child to acknowledge the trauma
experienced, learn skills to cope with trauma reminders and reduce the severity
of trauma-related symptoms.
Triple P Positive
Parenting Program (Triple P-Standard Level 4): Parenting skills program for
parents seeking intensive training in positive parenting skills.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): For youth ages 3 to 18 who have experienced
trauma, this therapy provides skills for relaxation, emotion regulation and coping,
and helps both the child and the caregiver to understand and process the trauma
experience, to reduce trauma-related symptoms and enhance future safety.
By identifying these evidence-based practices, Louisiana
behavioral health providers are able to apply the most appropriate therapy to
youth and families, helping them to heal and live full, healthy lives.
Hello, I’m Gerrelda Davis, the executive director of the Louisiana Primary Care Association. In collaboration with TACL and its Knowing Your Family History campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’d like to tell you about my story.
In 2010, I actually had a mammogram, and it was my second mammogram ever in my life. I was 40 years old and I, thank goodness, had decided when I was 39 and pressured my doctor to have a baseline mammogram. They thought I was too young, but I told them I needed it. I’d only at that point in my family history had one maternal aunt that had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
So, at 40, when I turned 40 and had the test done, unfortunately about a day later I got a call and they were telling me that I needed to come back in for further tests. So, it took me about, I think, five tests later for them to diagnose me with Stage 1 breast cancer. It really turned my life upside down, not knowing whether or not I would survive, what I would have to go through.
Gerrelda Davis, right, with Louisiana Department
of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee
But I’d say — and this is not a plug for them, believe it or not — Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, they were so, so welcoming and kind to me, and the doctors that worked there were just a blessing. And, then when I found out that those same doctors had been on the same team that my aunt had been when she was diagnosed, I was just so comfortable, and by the grace of God I got through what I had to get through.
Because of my age, I had to go through a very long and extensive amount of chemo, a chemo regimen, and after that I had to do radiation. But I had the support that I needed from family, from friends, from work. I had the best bosses at that time who allowed me to take off when I needed to, to do my treatment and come back into the office whenever I could. And, it was just an experience I’d say that could have really shattered my life but didn’t because of the support that I had, the connectedness.
And then, though, at the very end, after the radiation, after the chemo, I will say that for anyone, you, that after you’re not going to the doctor every single day or every week it makes you feel lost. And, I did feel lost. Because I wasn’t sure. Every time I thought about it, I’m like, “OK, is it gonna come back?” Also, I had that survivor’s guilt — I thought about all those people that were diagnosed who didn’t survive. But thank goodness, by the grace of God I got through that because of, once again, the support system that I had.
And, I’ll tell you, there’s this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I actually decided to make a mantra for in my life and it says, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” and that’s to be a survivor. And, I determined after all of that, that no matter what I would be a survivor. No matter what, whether or not my hair grew back, my eyebrows grew back — you know, being a female and being very, I guess, vain about those types of things — no matter what, I determined that I would be a survivor.
And, here I am, nine years later, still surviving — going to my oncologist every six months, having a clean bill of health — and thankful and very grateful that I determined to survive. And, by the grace of God, I have. Thank you.
By DR. GINA LAGARDE |
Medical Director, LDH Region 9
As the heat of a seemingly endless summer finally begins to
wane and the crisp coolness of fall takes its place, it’s the perfect time to
schedule flu vaccinations for you and your family. Why now? Because here in
activity is off to an earlier start than usual.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s Infectious Disease
Epidemiology Program has already seen statewide influenza-like activity, which
is a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit plus a cough and/or sore throat,
in the absence of another diagnosis. In Louisiana, 4.4% of patient visits were
due to influenza-like illness, which is higher than the regional baseline of
3.8% and the highest level of influenza-like activity so far in the nation this
The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness that
kills thousands of people every year. Last year in Louisiana, there were 14,000
hospitalizations, 1,400 deaths and one confirmed pediatric death. If you are 6
months or older and you don’t have a medical reason, such as a prior allergic
reaction to the flu shot, you should get vaccinated. It’s the best way to
reduce your chance of getting and spreading the flu.
Cold or flu?
It’s often hard to distinguish the difference between a cold
and flu since both illnesses share several of the same symptoms. While both are
unwelcome, a cold settles in gradually and flu shows up abruptly. Here’s how to
tell the difference between the two.
It’s flu if you have …
Runny or stuffy nose
It’s a cold if you have …
Loss of appetite
With plenty of fluids, rest and treating symptoms with
over-the-counter medications, most people will recover from the flu on their
own. If you have had the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after the
symptoms subside, unless you’re very sick and in need of medical care.
Anyone suspected of having the flu is strongly recommended
to take antiviral drugs. This treatment may make the illness milder, shorten
the time a person is sick and prevent serious complications and/or even death.
If you or a family member may have the flu, call your doctor immediately.
These healthy everyday habits help slow the spread of flu:
Coughing/sneezing into your sleeve or tissue and throwing
the tissue in the trash
Washing your hands often with soap and water, or using an
Avoiding close contact with sick people
Why the flu shot
Flu can be especially dangerous to the very old, the very
young, pregnant women and people who have certain chronic medical conditions.
When everyone around people from these groups is vaccinated, the so-called “herd
immunity” of a large population of vaccinated people helps to keep them from
Pregnant women are especially at risk when it comes to flu, but don’t
worry — it’s safe to get your flu shot, and it’s
recommended by the CDC. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs
during pregnancy make pregnant women and up to two weeks after birth more prone
to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization. Flu
is also a danger to the developing baby, who may have neural tube defects or
other complications due to flu symptoms in the mother. Fortunately, a mom who
gets her flu vaccine during pregnancy will pass antibodies on to her baby,
helping protect the baby from flu after birth.
Schoolchildren are another group particularly affected by flu. Every
year, about 28% of school-age kids come down with the flu. For every 100
children with the flu, there’s an average of 63 missed school days a year. Not
only that, but for every 100 kids with the flu, 25 family members will come
down with the flu within three days, leading to lost work time and reduced
Don’t wait — vaccinate!
An annual vaccination is
your best prevention against the flu. It’s available either as the traditional
shot or a nasal spray. The spray is recommended for healthy people ages 2 to 49
who are not pregnant and don’t have chronic illnesses, but check with your
doctor or other primary care provider before getting the spray.
We have had flu vaccines
for more than 50 years now and they are very safe. The CDC and FDA closely
monitor vaccine safety, and vaccines are given in a setting where healthcare
staff can rapidly recognize and treat a potentially severe allergic reaction
with equipment on site. Besides safety concerns, people cite lots of reasons
why you shouldn’t get a flu shot. These reasons are all wrong. Learn
more about these myths – and the facts –here.
This October and November,
flu vaccine clinics where you can get a flu shot at no cost to you are being
held around Louisiana. To find the location closest to you, click here. Make sure to bring your private insurance,
Medicaid or Medicare card, and wear short or loose-fitting sleeves. If you’re
unable to make it to one of these clinics, you can get a flu shot at any time
during flu season from your parish
local pharmacies, clinics, doctors’ offices and federally qualified (community)
health centers. Find a provider near you by clicking here.
Whether it’s from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a
near-drowning experience, physical assault or some other trauma, a traumatic
head and/or spinal cord injury can be a life-changing event. This kind of event
doesn’t just affect the individual — it also impacts the lives of their loved
ones, who may eventually become the caregiver, assisting with daily living
activities like bathing and dressing.
In Louisiana, the Traumatic Head & Spinal Cord Injury Trust
Fund Program (THSCI) helps those with such injuries, who meet eligibility
requirements, to return to a reasonable level of functioning and independent
living in their communities. The Louisiana Legislature created the program in
1993 with Act 654. Through this act, the program is funded by imposing
additional fees on motor vehicle violations in Louisiana for the offenses of
driving under the influence, reckless operation and speeding.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s, Office of Aging and Adult
Services administers the THSCI
Program, which includes but is not limited to processing admissions to
the program, paying service providers for services on behalf of eligible
individuals and reviewing Plans of Care. In addition, the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana (BIALA)
serves as the program’s designated resource center for people with traumatic
head and/or spinal cord injuries.
may be eligible for assistance through the program?
Louisiana residents who have suffered a traumatic head and/or spinal
cord injury may apply for program assistance.
A traumatic head injury
is caused by an external physical force, such as falls, which affect the brain,
producing diminished or altered state of consciousness. The injury can lead to impaired
cognitive and/or physical functioning. Degenerative or congenital conditions do
not meet the definition of traumatic head injury as it relates to the program. For
example, a person with Alzheimer’s would not be eligible for the THSCI program.
Similar to traumatic head injury, a spinal cord injury is caused by an external force, such as a car accident.
This kind of injury can lead to paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and lower
body) or quadriplegia (paralysis of both the arms and legs). Degenerative and
congenital conditionsdo not meet the definition of spinal cord injury as it relates to
the program. For example, a person with spina bifida would not be eligible for
the THSCI program.
To be determined eligible for services, a person must:
Meet the definition of traumatic head/spinal cord injury (above),
per their treating physician
Be a resident of Louisiana and officially domiciled in Louisiana
at the time of the injury and while receiving services
Have a reasonable expectation to gain improvement in functional
outcome with assistance, per their treating physician
Have exhausted all other Medicare and Medicaid sources as attested
to by the applicant
Provide proof of denial from other sources, if requested
Be willing to accept services from an approved facility or program
Complete and submit the appropriate application for services
Cooperate with program requirements
services are available?
Participants work with their assigned case manager to develop a Participant
Service Plan that offers flexible services aimed at improving how they function
in their homes and communities as it relates to their injuries. Eligible
participants may receive services including, but not limited to:
Evaluations and therapies
Post-acute medical care rehabilitation
Home and vehicle accessibility modifications
Medication and medical supplies
Personal Care Attendant Services
Equipment necessary for activities of daily living
Transportation for non-emergency medical appointments
Other goods and services deemed appropriate and necessary
Post-acute medical care rehabilitation
Service providers must be THSCI Program approved, with in-state
facilities and programs receiving priority. All services are on a first-come,
there a cap on what I can receive?
An individual’s expenditures are limited to $15,000 for any
12-month period or $50,000 total per person per lifetime
do I apply?
Call (225) 219-2410 or (888) 891-9441 for questions, additional information
or to have an application for services sent to you. You can also download and
print the application at this link. Mail the completed forms with
original signatures to the THSCI Trust Fund Program, P.O. Box 2031 – Bin #14,
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-2031.
By DR. LACEY CAVANAUGH | Region 5 Medical
Director, LDH Office of Public Health
You are driving
home and a motor vehicle crash happens in front of your very eyes. Wanting to
help, you pull over and immediately recognize a life-threatening bleeding
situation. What do you do?
Or, maybe it is
not a crash. Maybe it is a hunting accident, a power tool injury, a sporting
event or a shooting. An injured person may only have minutes to live if
bleeding is not controlled immediately. Uncontrolled bleeding is actually the
number one cause of death after a mass casualty event.
Knowing what to
do in this situation, before emergency medical services are available, can save
The Stop the Bleed program is part of a nationwide movement
to help laypeople possibly save a life if ever faced with life-threatening
bleeding. Stop the Bleed was developed by the American College of Surgeons
Committee on Trauma. The program teaches people the basic steps to stop
bleeding, which include calling 911, ensuring personal safety, looking for life-threatening
bleeding, then compressing and controlling bleeding using pressure, packing
and/or a tourniquet. These skills are intended for field use until the injured
person can be transported to a medical facility.
The Region 5 Office of Public Health, in collaboration with
several community partners, held two Stop the Bleed trainings for the LSU residents,
faculty and staff at the Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Family Medicine
Program on August 30 and September 20.
Ted Colligan with the Louisiana Emergency Response Network
was the lead instructor and several staff from other local partner organizations
assisted with training the participants. The training consisted of a presentation
and discussion period, followed by a hands-on practice session of newly learned
The intent of this class was to train future Louisiana
physicians to be Stop the Bleed trainers, so that they can then assist in
training the rest of the community. This was a unique audience of mostly
physicians and a wonderful example of cross-sector collaboration between
partners to achieve a goal. Forty-three participants completed these two
trainings and nine of them signed up to be instructors.
Representing OPH Region 5 were Public Health Emergency
Response Coordinator Mike Parent, Hospital Nurse Coordinator Janet Rider, and APRN
Nadine Blake. Jessica Leboeuf with the Calcasieu Parish Medical Reserve Corps, Lake
Charles Memorial Hospital System RNs Rezalynn Vincent and Crystal Rollins, and Dr.
Danette Null, associate professor with the LSU Family Medicine Residency
Program all took part in leading two three-hour classes. We want to thank all
of our partners and instructors, in addition to Lezlie Fletcher with the LSU
Family Medicine Residency Program, for their assistance in making this training
For more information, to find a class near you or to request training at your facility, click here.