News for and about CAHS Employees
October 2017
In this issue ...
Open Enrollment During October
Annual Staff Training Day, Oct. 13
Earn CEUs With Fall Training Series
24/7 Online Portal Now Available for CAHS Clients
Kay Andrews Recognized for CAHS Board Service
Clients Enjoy Wellness Week Activities
"We Need To Talk" Toolkit Distributed To Area Schools
Opioid Epidemic: Special Report and BH Collaborative
Facing Addiction Leads Advocacy Training At CAHS
School Based Therapy Program Reports Progress
CAHS Participates In I CARE Prevention Event
Disaster Training Course Now Offered
SAMHSA Visits CARP For Official Review
Ramona Harris Named CAHS Chief Fiscal Officer
Best Wishes to Sonya Thomas
New Pharmacist Coming to CAHS
College Students Completing Nursing Rotation
Coming Up At CAHS

Open Enrollment During October

Annual Enrollment for the 2018 plan year is underway for the entire month of October. This is the time to enroll in or make changes to your health plan.
Details here.

CAHS Staff Training Day

October 13
Holiday Inn South
9940 Airline Hwy., Baton Rouge

Door prizes
Matherne's Market catering
Engaging speakers

Kristin Woodlock, RN, MPH

CEO of Woodlock & Associates, New York
Topic: Get Rid of Your Agent-of-Government Thinking and Get Your Retail Health Care On

Thomas Karam, PhD
Senior Instructor, LSU Marketing Department
Topic: Personal Branding


58th Annual
National Dialogues On Behavioral Health

October 22-25
Renaissance Arts Hotel
700 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans

Behavioral health is in flux because of the upheaval and uncertainties in the larger healthcare environment. The challenge for the field is how to build on its successes as changes occur in funding and insurance, clinical and care models, workforce, and the emergence of new technologies. Conference brochure here.
Fall 2017 Training Series Set
CAHS employees may attend either or both of the following sessions at no charge
October 25 Earn 3 Clinical CEUs  Register here
Place / Time: Government St., Bldg. 2, Room 200, 1 - 4:15 p.m.
Topic:  “Culturally Competent Practice With LGBTQ People"
Presenters: Elaine M. Maccio, PhD, LCSW, and Jena Ourso, LMSW
Overview: LGBTQ terminology and identities are rapidly evolving, posing a challenge to providing culturally sensitive care. The presenters will cover history, updated and appropriate language, principles of culturally competent and LGBTQ-affirmative practice, and available resources.

November 29  Earn 3 Clinical CEUs  Register here
Place / Time: Government St., Bldg. 2, Room 200, 1 - 4:15 p.m.
Topic: “Clinical Strategies to Address Opioid Dependence"
Presenters: Janzlean Laughinghouse, PhD.; William “Beau” Clark, MD, D-ABMDI; Rintha Simpson, NAP, NCEE; and Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH
Overview: This training will provide data on the neurobiology and epidemiology of opioid dependence. Strategies for effective clinical intervention will be discussed, including prevention among high-risk populations.
What's Happening At CAHS
Patient Portal Now Available For CAHS Clients
CAHS is now providing a web-based portal that gives clients 24/7 access to their basic medical information and allows them to send secure messages to their CAHS health care staff.

The portal service started Oct. 2. It is safe, secure, and password protected. The portal allows CAHS clients to make appointments and provides access to pertinent information such as
  * Medications
  * Allergies
  * Immunizations
  * Laboratory results
Kay Andrews Recognized For CAHS Board Service
Pictured right (l-r): CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD, with former CAHS Board Member Kay Andrews, and Board Chair Amy Betts.

We extend our special thanks to Kay Andrews who represented East Feliciana Parish on the CAHS Board of Directors and whose term expired recently. 

Mrs. Andrews, a former Board Chair, always came prepared, knew the CAHS agency thoroughly, and was responsible for the development and implementation of the Governance Policy Manual. We will miss her dedicated and engaging volunteer service.
Clients Enjoy Energetic Wellness Week Activities
"Recovery Is Real" -- that was the message during National Recovery Month in September and during a very active Wellness Week at CAHS, Sept. 11-15.

The week included social media outreach on Facebook, a health fair, tips about healthy eating and budgeting basics, a chair yoga class, and "Family Appreciation Day" with giveaways, and information for CAHS clients and families.


Click on the image above to watch Ivan Toldson's message
Special thanks to these CAHS staff members who made the week a great success: Keisha Lacour, Stephen Aguillard, Tye Brown, Lynetta Butler, Kirklin Campbell, Daniel Cook, Vivian Gettys, Betty Grant, Corlis Gremillion, Mac Haik, Dr. Jan Kasofsky, Rafael Maza, Tim Moore, Tonja Myles, Mark Nienabar, Ricky Pampo, Vidal Prograis, Bruce Salisbury, Chris Sunseri and the Center for Adult Behavioral Health social workers.

Also, we want to thank the following resource partners for their support: Aetna Better Health of Louisiana, Catholic Charities, East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Genoa Healthcare, Healthy Blue, Holly Clegg, Louisiana Healthcare Connections, Open Health Care Clinic, The Red Shoes, Unitech Training Academy, and the YMCA.

Wellness Activities
"We Need To Talk" Suicide Prevention Continues

CAHS' efforts to prevent suicides among teens continues with the distribution of compelling materials that urge dialogue between parents and their children.

"We Need To Talk" materials are part of the CAHS #MeByDesign campaign, launched last year to promote healthy choices and positive behaviors among middle and high school youth.

CAHS Prevention Division Director Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH, said the "We Need To Talk" materials are part of a suicide prevention toolkit that is being distributed free of charge to area schools for administrators, faculty, staff, and students to use to support healthy campus cultures. 

"Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Louisiana youth ages 10-14 and is the eleventh leading cause of death in the state. We are working closely with schools and other partners to address substance use and behavioral health issues that contribute to suicide among youth," she said.

The suicide prevention toolkit includes:
  * Scripts of morning announcements
  * Social media posts and infographics
  • Writing prompts
  • 8.5” x 11" posters
  * Model school policy on suicide prevention
  * CAHS-led presentations (upon request)

Download "We Need To Talk" materials here and here.
Dr. Kasofsky Talks About the Opioid Epidemic
"The word 'epidemic' is not being used lightly," says CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD, in a new report What's New In Health Care 2017, published by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.

In the report's feature story, "Opioid Nightmares: The Epidemic Hits Baton Rouge Hard,"  Dr. Kasofsky describes CAHS' continuing leadership role in the fight against opioid use, misuse, and abuse, noting that the issue is pervasive.

"I don't go anywhere that someone doesn't tell me a personal story about a friend or family member or someone they know who is suffering from this disease. It's horrible," she says. Click here to read the report and to learn more about efforts being taken by CAHS and others to fight the opioid epidemic.
Behavioral Health Collaborative Explores Various Aspects of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

The Behavioral Health Collaborative met Sept. 29 at CAHS' Government St. campus to focus on the various aspects of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) that helps individuals who struggle with opioid addiction and who need more than abstinence-based treatment services.

"We must develop a coordinated system of help through prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery," said CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD.

The attendees heard from two doctors who specialize in MAT and from representatives of the Louisiana Medicaid program and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Arwen Podesta, MD, ABPN, FASAM, ABIHM,
(pictured above) who serves as the Medical Director of Odyssey House, a treatment facility in New Orleans that serves 900 people each month, described how opioids change the brain and create a strong dependency with painful side effects. 

She said medications, like the long-lasting naltrexone, known by its brand name Vivitrol, blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of prescription pain pills, heroin and other opioids. She said 
a monthly injection of naltrexone helps to continually reduce opioid cravings so individuals can resume normal activities.

Watch how opioids change the mind and body

See Dr. Podesta's presentation here
She noted that even with Medication Assisted Treatment, many individuals relapse and use opioids again because of biological and social factors that include widespread access to opioids and the intense dependency they cause.

Louis Cataldie, MD, ABAM Diplomate, (pictured below) who has provided Medication Assisted Treatment for many years said the drug buprenorphine, known by its brand name Suboxone, is also effective in many cases.
Buprenorphine, which is administered under the close supervision of a doctor, produces milder euphoric or sedative effects like opioids, but those effects are much weaker and allow individuals to gradually withdraw from the highly painful side effects of opioids.

Both doctors, Podesta and Cataldie, said MAT must be combined with other forms of treatment, including individual and group counseling, and other therapies.

"There is no cookie cutter approach to treatment of opioids," said Dr. Cataldie. "The treatment plans must be customized for each individual.

The attendees also heard from Pharmacist Sue Fontenot of Louisiana's Medicaid program, and from Brice Mohundro, PharmD, BCACP, of Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Louisiana (pictured right).

They described several steps that are being taken by the state and by BCBS to pay for various forms of MAT and to limit the number of opioid prescriptions.

Both the Medicaid program and BCBS exempt persons who are undergoing cancer treatments or receiving end-of-life care from prescription limits, they said.
Facing Addiction Advocates Participate In Training

Community advocates from various professional fields gathered Sept. 22 at CAHS' Government St. campus to participate in a special grassroots training, conducted by the Facing Addiction organization.

The four-hour training was part of a technical assistance grant CAHS received -- one of only 15 nationally -- to build grassroots advocacy about the issues of substance use and abuse.

The training 
focused on 1) community organizing, 2) message training, 3) policy matters, and 4) social media.
Michael King, Director of Outreach and Engagement of Facing Addiction, conducted the training, noting that every four minutes, someone in the United States dies from drug or alcohol addiction.

He led the participants in an examination of effective leadership, including characteristics and skills that include leading by example, being creative to set goals, demonstrating a strong work ethic, and being tenacious when met with challenges.

The participants also learned about the importance of consistent messaging that is backed with facts, focuses on solutions, and connects strongly with the issues.


"It is critically important that we understand our audience, speak their language, understand their perspectives, and take steps to fully inform them," King said.

The ongoing grassroots effort is being waged in three stages: 1) building an advocacy base, 2) training advocates, and 3) launching the community-wide campaign in January.

The advocacy teams will be trained to conduct activities, such as:
   * Working with the media to inform citizens
   * Urging local officials to give more attention and funding to the issues of addiction
   * Hosting various events throughout the year to draw attention to the issues
   * Participate in trainings to become more effective advocates
Progress Report: SB Therapy Program Moves Ahead
The report card for the CAHS School Based Therapy Program is in, and it's impressive, as our trained therapists and supervisors continue to provide quality services throughout the region.

According to the latest information, the SB Therapy Program last year

  * Served 884 students and their families last year
  * Conducted 350 family-help sessions
  * Hosted 475 students in the Summer Therapeutic Enrichment Program
  * Discharged 32 students who met their treatment goals
  * Assessed and helped 86 students who were in life-changing crises
  * Reached 2,704 individuals through various workshops
  * Provided 1,594 hours of physician time with students
The SB Therapy Program is unique in its commitment in 44 area schools to educate parents, teachers, and school leaders about the students' mental health issues to help keep them in school. In many cases the SB Therapy Program offers the only mental health care services for students in their communities.
CAHS Participates in I CARE Team Spirit Conference
CAHS took part as an exhibitor in the I CARE "Prevention Safari Expedition: Exploring a Drug Free Life" event for area high school students, Sept. 27, at the Pennington Biomedical Center. 

Students enjoyed interactive sessions, talked with various agency representatives, and developed action plans to take back to their schools.

The day-long Team Spirit program is I CARE's signature peer-driven prevention program and is based on the belief that youth can become a potent force in combating the related problems of underage drinking, use of other drugs, and impaired driving by peers.   A select group of high school student leaders are trained in substance abuse, violence, peer assistance, and bullying prevention.  

Social Service Counselor LaTonya Wilcox of the School Based Therapy Program and Prevention Program Monitor Supervisor Bridget Lewis 
pictured l-r), talked with more than 200 students about the services offered by CAHS.

CAHS Prevention Director Vivian Gettys and SB Therapy Program Director Bethany Sclafani also attended.

Bethany represents CAHS on the I CARE Advisory Board.
Disaster Training and Preparedness Course Offered

The Comprehensive Public Training Program (CPTP) has released a new web-based training course: "Emergency Preparedness: Preparing for Disaster."

As we have seen with recent events, it is important that you, your family, and friends are as prepared as possible before being faced with an emergency situation. This course will provide you with some important information about potentially disastrous or emergency events.

The course includes a printable family preparedness plan, an important-documents checklist, and a disaster supply kit checklist. The course is listed in LEO as CPTP Emergency Preparedness WBT and can be found by using the search term “Emergency” in the Find box.

Call: (225) 342-8539
SAMHSA Visits CAHS Programs For Official Review

Thanks to so many CAHS staff who helped make the federal review go so smoothly at the Capital Area Recovery Program (CARP) and the outpatient program at the Center for Adult Behavioral Health.

"We were very encouraged by the comments of the reviewers during their on-site visit. We are hopeful for a positive report," said CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD.

Reviewers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health concluded their official review in late September and were complimentary of the programs and of CAHS as a whole.  
Dr. Kasofsky extended her appreciation to the following CAHS staff members who were instrumental in preparing for the review: Mel Zufall, Jan Laughinghouse, Anieda Udofa, Scott Thomas, Lynetta Butler, Karen Pino, and Karla Muzik.
Group Benefits Offers Help To Stop Smoking
Phone apps have revolutionized our lives, especially those that help us stay healthy like the "Quitters Circle" app that the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) is offering to help individuals stop smoking.

OGB has partnered with the American Lung Association and Pfizer to offer the mobile app, a website, Twitter messages, and Facebook pages that offer friendly support, information, and tips about quitting.

Click on these links to check out the OGB informational flyer and the website where you can download the app and get additional information.
Who's Who at CAHS

Who's joined the CAHS family of employees recently?  Click here to find out.
Ramona Harris Named CAHS' Chief Fiscal Officer

Congratulations to Ramona Harris, MBA, who has been appointed as CAHS' Chief Fiscal Officer by CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD.

Ramona joined CAHS in October 2016 as an Accountant 4 after serving 16 years in state government at the Louisiana Department of Revenue, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

A native of Natchitoches, Ramona earned her undergraduate degree in Management at Upper Iowa University and earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance at LSU-Shreveport. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Governmental Accountants (AGA).
Best Wishes: Sonya Thomas

Whatever anyone needed, Sonya Thomas was the "go-to" person as CAHS' Procurement Director for the past four years.

We will miss Sonya, but we congratulate her for joining the staff of the Louisiana Office of State Procurement. We know she will do a great job there, just as she did for CAHS.

Most of all, we will miss Sonya's friendly disposition and eagerness to join in so many activities and volunteer opportunities on behalf of CAHS. 
New Pharmacist Coming to CAHS
We will miss Caroline Priest, RPh, of Genoa Healthcare (pictured top left), who has left CAHS after serving as Pharmacy Manager since February 2012. 

Caroline was well liked and was known for bringing tasty treats for everyone to enjoy. We will miss her friendly smile. 

In the interim, retired CAHS pharmacist Melanie Griffin, RPh,
pictured bottom left) is filling in until mid-October when Julie Taylor will assume the role as Pharmacy Manager for Genoa.

Melanie is a longtime member of the CAHS family, having worked for the agency since its inception 20 years ago. She retired from state service after 30 years, but has agreed to fill in until Julie arrives. Thanks to Melanie, and we look forward to having Julie join us.
College Students Completing Their Rotations At CAHS

CAHS welcomes four junior-level students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, formerly known as Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing.

The students are completing their Community Health rotation this fall and will work alongside nurses at the Center for Adult Behavioral Health. They will provide direct patient care that includes physical health screenings and monitoring vital signs.  


Pictured (l-r): Caitlin Cassidy, Alicia Geiger, Jordan Duhon, and Alex Landry.
Their instructor is Lauren Hollingsworth.
Reminders at CAHS
Get Your CAHS Uniform Patches Now 
Customize your shirts and jackets with official, iron-on CAHS logos. They're only $2 each (new employees get one free patch), and $1 from each sale helps the Employee Relations Committee (ERC) sponsor activities for employees. Order your patches today by clicking here or through the CAHS Intranet under the "Forms" tab.

Like Us!
Click here to check out the CAHS Facebook page and Like Us!
Email Keisha Lacour at with photos, announcements, and other news you think would be of interest about CAHS.
We Want to Hear From You!
CAHS Connections is your newsletter, about and for the employees and activities of Capital Area Human Services. We welcome your ideas and photos. Items of interest include program news, events, achievements, presentations, births, 25+-year anniversaries, contests, etc.

Please email your ideas and photos to or click on one of these names to send an email with your story ideas Kayia Aguillard,
Karen Bray, Richard Brown, Jr., Lynetta Butler, Christiana Freeman, LaBrencia Harris, Calantha Kemp, Rafael MazaKaren Morris, Shenitha Smith, Shannon Southall, and LaTonya Wilcox.

In case you missed it ... 
Click here to see last month's edition of CAHS Connections
Our Mission
To facilitate person-centered recovery by empowering people
of all ages with behavioral health needs and developmental disability challenges to strengthen relationships, establish independence, and enhance their ability to improve their
physical health and emotional well being.
Our Vision
Our network provides local access to best practices that respond to the unique needs of individuals living in the District's communities.

Copyright © 2017 CAHS/Capital Area Human Services, All rights reserved.

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