Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Get reacquainted with your local parish health unit!

As the new year rolled in, the Office of Public Health (OPH) regional teams prioritized reintroducing parish health units (PHUs) to the public in an effort to highlight new and established services, programming and building connections with the community. The outreach took the form of open house events that continue to be held across the state since launching in late January. Here is a look at some of the open houses that OPH has hosted so far.

REGION 1: Greater New Orleans Area

Metairie PHU team members celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and welcome attendees to the open house.
Delgado Personal Health Clinic, New Orleans
Region 1 team members welcomed partners and patients to the Delgado open house with the St. Patrick’s Day theme of “We’re Lucky to Have You!” Guests met team members, took tours of the facility and learned about programs and services. These programs included opioid prevention and outreach, Community HealthWays, STI testing and treatment, tuberculosis services, Medicaid and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.


REGION 2: Capital Region

Left to right: OPH Region 2 Nurse Manager Diane Lewis, Interim East Feliciana Parish Manager Yamesha Harris and OPH Bureau of Regional and Clinical Operations Director Colleen Arceneaux gather in front of East Feliciana Parish Health Unit during its open house.

Medicaid Assistant Regional Administrator Aaron Kean and Medicaid analyst LaShuntae Burrell help residents update Medicaid contact information and re-enroll.
Immunization Supervisor Cindy Aydell talks with community members about where to digitally access their vaccination records.

East Feliciana PHU, Clinton
Residents had the opportunity to receive COVID-19 and flu vaccinations from Beta Land and enjoyed refreshments. Region 2 STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program (SHHP) staff provided HIV testing, referral information and resources. Educational information was available on the health unit's different services and community partners in attendance, including the East Feliciana Drug and Alcohol Awareness Council and Quad Area Community Action Agency. Medicaid navigators updated members’ contact information and helped with the re-enrollment process. “We were pleased the community came out, so we accomplished our daily mission to help promote the health and wellness of all,” said Colleen Arceneaux, director of OPH’s Bureau of Regional and Clinical Operations.


REGION 3: South-Central Louisiana

Above: Registered Nurse (RN) Tina Becnel checks blood pressure at the St. James PHU open house in Region 3.

Assumption PHU, Napoleonville; St. James PHU, Vacherie; St. Mary PHU, Morgan City; and Terrebonne PHU, Houma Services provided by Region 3 at open houses in Assumption, St. James, St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes included blood pressure checks, STI tests and vaccinations. Staff distributed hundreds of health information packets on heart health, vaccination and other subjects. “Our health unit teams are doing a great job of making the open houses fun for parents and children while at the same time providing convenient health services,” said Regional Medical Director Dr. Eric Brooks.

REGION 4: Acadiana

Front row: RN Margaret Gaspard, Registered Dietitian Lauren Meyer, Parish Clerk Magdaline Savoy, Registered Nurse Candice Pommier, Community Heath Worker Supervisor Margaret Pitre as the Easter Bunny, breastfeeding peer counselor Jenna Conner, Registered Dietitian Alice Sheffield and Clerical Supervisor Dewanna Bourque. Back row: Nursing Assistant Charlotte Charlot, custodian Micah Gautreaux, Parish Clerk Angela Landry, health educator Sandy Tillar and community health worker Dorthea Wilson.
Acadia PHU, Crowley; Evangeline PHU, Ville Platte; Lafayette PHU, Lafayette; St. Landry PHU, Eunice; St. Martin PHU, St. Martinville; Vermilion PHU, Abbeville Region 4 hosted seven open houses where the community could learn about the services offered in their local PHUs. Events included free blood pressure screenings, COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, HIV testing, free COVID-19 test kits and more. The PHUs also provided information about health resources and services including Medicaid and the health insurance marketplace.


REGION 6: Central Louisiana

Community members listen to a presentation at the Grant PHU open house in Region 6.

COVID-19 Coordinator Theodora Martin (in pink) and Disease Intervention Specialists Jerra Johnson and Corey Boyd speak to community members about PHU services.

Regional Administrator Dr. Curtis Lewis, Winn Community Health Center Chief Operating Officer David Adams, Winn Parish Police Jury Secretary/Treasurer Karen Tyler, LA Eye and Laser Office Manager Kathy Johnson, Regional Medical Director Dr. David Holcombe, Winn Parish Police Juror Tammy Griffin and Winn Community Health Center CEO Deano Thornton.
Avoyelles Sleeves Up Program Manager Liz Leger, Avoyelles Parish Police Juror Jacob Coco, Assistant Regional Administrator Julie Beene-Police, Regional Administrator Dr. Curtis Lewis, RMD Dr. David Holcombe and Administrative Program Manager Yolanda Crawford.
RNs at the Avoyelles PHU open house included Region 6 Nursing Director Charlotte Amphion, Bridget Bordelon, supervisor Sonya Ryland and Tracy Dauzat.
Avoyelles PHU clerical team members Brittany Vasser, Joycelyn Payne, Latoya Smith, Amber Courville, Brianna Deglandon and Kim Sellers.
Grant PHU, Colfax; Winn PHU, Winnfield; Avoyelles PHU, Marksville Community members including superintendents, police jury members, and local library and hospital staff heard about programs provided by Grant PHU. Department heads spoke on the services offered through their respective programs. Community members also visited tables featuring information and interactive displays. Local stakeholders, community partners and healthcare workers attended the Winn PHU open house in Winnfield. PHU staff shared information on the services they provide to the community, as well as fostering and maintaining connections with other healthcare entities.

REGION 7: Northwest Louisiana

RN Erin White, Administrative Coordinator Meshell Cooper, Sanitarian Mindy Martin and RN Toshia Williams gather outside at the Fuel for the Future open house.
Claiborne PHU, Homer To celebrate National Nutrition Month in March, Claiborne Parish Health Unit in Region 7 hosted a Fuel for the Future open house, during which Homer Mayor Xanthe Seals proclaimed March as National Nutrition Month. Attendees learned about maintaining a healthy diet, consuming nutritious foods to fuel their mind and body, and purchasing and eating foods that are good for themselves and the environment. The event included recognition of school coloring contest winners, WIC-approved nutritious snacks, door prizes, Medicaid navigators and analysts, and bags of promotional items and information on COVID 19, the region, the PHU and its services, Medicaid and other public health topics.

REGION 8: Northeast Louisiana

CHW Vera Matthews, Region 8 CHW Supervisor Kiara Bradford and Community HealthWays Tri-manager hand out promotional items and information at the Lincoln PHU open house in Region 8. 

Region 8 social worker Sabrina Cole and RN Alison Campbell share information on Children’s Special Health Services.

Region 8 health disparities social worker Shirah Tolliver and COVID-19 Coordinator Jeanette White share information on COVID-19.
Lincoln PHU, Ruston; Franklin, Winnsboro Visitors had the opportunity to meet with Region 8 staff and other partners on Community HealthWays, WIC, Children’s Special Health Services, coping skills, ways to reduce stress, sharing information and recent changes on Medicaid, signing up for Medicaid and accessing personal immunization records. Region 8 educated community members on COVID-19 and handed out COVID home test kits and information bags. Pafford EMS provided COVID vaccines and boosters, as well as flu vaccines. To educate community members on the dangers of opioids, Region 8 passed out Narcan nasal sprays, fentanyl test strips, information on testing medications for fentanyl and other opioid information.


REGION 9: Northshore Area

Washington PHU team members wait for community members to join the open house.

Frontline public health workers wait to assist community members with health-related social needs.

Region 9 nursing staff come together for the South Tangipahoa Parish Health Unit open house.

Region 9 Medical Director Dr. Gina Lagarde talks with a Hammond-area father about safe sleep for babies.

Washington PHU, Franklinton; Tangipahoa PHU, Amite; South Tangipahoa PHU, Hammond

Region 9 hosted several open houses to give community members the opportunity to learn more about the public health services available to them, such as nurse in-home visitation, Community HealthWays and WIC. Attendees also learned more about reproductive health, STI and tuberculosis testing and treatment, infectious disease epidemiology, opioid prevention and emergency preparedness.

Region 9 team members offered blood pressure screenings, COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, HIV testing, COVID-19 test kits, free colon cancer screening kits, health and wellness educational flyers, and infant safe sleep demonstrations. Medicaid specialists were available to assist Medicaid members with updating their contact information to ensure they maintain health insurance coverage. 

“The open house was a successful event, and we were proud to showcase what we do on a daily basis in the health unit to keep Northshore residents healthy,” said Region 9 Medical Director Dr. Gina Lagarde.