News for and about CAHS Employees
September 2017
In this issue ...

Annual Staff Training Day, Oct. 13
Facing Addiction Community Training, Sept. 22
Behavioral Health Collaborative, Sept. 29
Recovery Month Activities Set for September
Congratulations New CAHS Board Officers
CBHS - A Refreshed, Engaging Space
SB Therapy Program Sets Record For 2017-18
Gambling and Suicide Prevention Work Continues
CAHS Involved in IACP and Disaster Resiliency
BH Collaborative Continues Opioids Fight
August 21 - What A Day In History!
Welcome, Dr. Sheridan, New ASCEND Director
We Remember SB Therapist Amy Goff
Andrew Udofa Conducts Unique Research
Coming Up At CAHS

CAHS Annual 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

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


Facing Addiction Community Training
September 22, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
CAHS Government St, Room 200

CAHS' Facing Addiction initiative, a grassroots effort to address the issues of substance use and abuse in the region, continues to move forward with a half-day training set for community advocates. Michael King, Director of Outreach and Engagement of the Facing Addiction organization will lead the training, which will focus on 1) community organizing, 2) message training, 3) policy matters, and 4) social media. See story below.


Behavioral Health Collaborative
September 29, 8:30 - 10 a.m.

CAHS Government St., Room 200
This is the next in a series of programs to educate the public and providers about community needs to respond to the opioid epidemic with a goal of developing a continuum of care. This meeting will focus on establishing safe and successful treatment programs that incorporate Vivitrol and Suboxone. Presentations will include treatment approaches, public and private insurer requirements and initiatives. More information about the presenters will be forthcoming.


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.
Recovery Month Activities Set for September
During September, CAHS will promote and celebrate the good things in life that recovery provides. We are proud to offer the following activities for National Recovery Month, an initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Wellness Week flyer
Governor John Bel Edwards' proclamation

National Wellness Week
Free and open to all clients
Sept. 11-15
CAHS' Center for Adult Behavioral Health

Activities include healthy eating class, health fair, budgeting basics, chair yoga, popcorn & a movie.

Family Appreciation Day
"Joining Forces for Recovery"

Wednesday, Sept. 20
CAHS Government Street Main Lobby

Join Tonja Myles, Ivan Toldson and other CAHS Peers as they provide coffee, giveaways, information, and warm thanks for our clients and families. Plans also include Livestream video "Recovery Is Real" via CAHS' Facebook page, the Facing Addiction website, and other CAHS social media outreach.
Facing Addiction Training Set For September 22

CAHS' Facing Addiction initiative, a grassroots effort to address the issues of substance use and abuse in the region, continues to move forward with a half-day training set for community advocates.

The training will be held Sept. 22, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., at CAHS' Government St. campus, Room 200. The session is free and open to the public. Participants can register online here.

Michael King, Director of Outreach and Engagement of the Facing Addiction organization will lead the training, which will focus on 1) community organizing, 2) message training, 3) policy matters, and 4) social media.

"We want to move the hearts and minds of the general public," he said. "We want to take our own experiences and knowledge and share with the public through this initiative."

CAHS Addiction Recovery Director Jan Laughinghouse, PhD, LCSW,
(pictured left) said community advocates are still needed for three teams: Faith, Families, and Treatment. She said the Facing Addiction initiative calls for a grassroots campaign to develop campaign strategies, secure funding, train citizens to become advocates, and raise awareness about addiction.

The campaign will be waged in three stages: 1) building the advocacy base now, 2) training advocates this fall, and 3) launching the community-wide campaign in January.

The 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
What's New At CAHS
Congratulations, New CAHS Board Officers
Pictured right (l-r): CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD, with 2016-17 CAHS Board Chair Rebecca Katz, and 2017-18 CAHS Board Chair Amy Betts.

On Aug. 7, Amy Betts presided over her first meeting as CAHS Board Chair.

Mrs. Betts represents West Feliciana Parish and previously served as CAHS Board Vice Chair, the position now held by Thomas Sawyer of Baton Rouge.

CAHS extends its thanks and best wishes to three members whose terms expired recently: Kay Andrews, Sandi Record, and Barbara Wilson.
A Bright, Inviting Space At CBHS
Renovations of the reception area at Children's Behavioral Health Services are now complete, providing an inviting, comfortable, and engaging experience for children and their families.

Highlights of the remodeling include fresh paint, artwork, large windows, a large screen television, computer stations, and new furnishings. 

Program Manager Melissa Martin, LCSW-BACS,
pictured right) says the makeover creates a family-friendly waiting area that makes parents and children feel welcome and comfortable. 

A New Record: SB Therapy Program To Be In 44 Schools

Pictured right: CAHS School Based Therapist Alaina Miley, LMSW, participated in an open house recently at West Feliciana High School.

Congratulations to the CAHS School Based Therapy Program which will set a new record this year with 44 schools to be served throughout the region.

Six more schools are being added to the SB program:
Greenbrier Elementary, Howell Park Elementary, Sharon Hills Elementary, and University Terrace Elementary, all in East Baton Rouge Parish, and Chamberlin Elementary and Port Allen Elementary, both in West Baton Rouge Parish. Check out the full list of schools and parishes here.
What's Happening At CAHS
CAHS Campaign Against Problem Gambling Continues

CAHS has launched the final phase of its multimedia campaign to raise awareness about the agency's problem gambling treatment services.

CAHS Gambling Program Director Matricia "Matt" Green, LAC, CCGC, 
said highly visible tailgate ads (pictured right) are now on 23 CATS buses that provide transportation throughout Baton Rouge.

In addition, a poster advertisement has been placed in the bus shelter in front of the CAHS Government Street campus
(pictured below)

The ads started appearing in late August and will continue through September.

The campaign, launched in June, has included various forms of promotions:

-  Educational materials for clients
-  CAHS Facebook posts
-  Radio commercials and interviews
-  Television interviews
-  Billboards
-  Display banner
-  Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper ad
-  Bus shelter ad (CAHS Government St.)
-  Bus tailgate ads
-  Cinema ads
CAHS Provides Suicide Prevention Toolkit To Schools
The CAHS #MeByDesign campaign, launched last year to promote healthy choices and positive behaviors among middle and high school youth, is reaching out this month to provide a suicide prevention toolkit for schools throughout the region.

CAHS Prevention Division Director Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH, said the initiative is part of National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 10-16. She said the resources will be distributed to the schools, at no charge, 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," she said. "We are working closely with schools and other community partners to address substance use and behavioral health issues that contribute to suicide among youth in our service area." 

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
  * Presentations for staff or students, conducted by licensed CAHS clinical specialists related to suicide prevention or the aftermath of a suicide or trauma (upon request)
CAHS Officials Participate In IACP Meeting

CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD, and Program Manager John Nosacka, LCSW, MSHCM, spoke recently at a mental health symposium conducted for law enforcement, elected officials, and behavioral health professionals.

The "One Mind Symposium: A Response to Persons Affected by Mental Illness," held Aug. 23 in Baton Rouge, was hosted by the Capital Region Mental Health Team with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, (IACP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The symposium was designed to help improve police response to persons affected by mental illness.

Click to watch WAFB-TV's story

Dr. Kasofsky spoke about the behavioral health continuum of care and the importance of having various services along the continuum available to the community.

She noted that the absence since 2013 of a psychiatric drop-off center often gives law enforcement officers no choice but to take people to jail when they experience behavioral health crises. She said CAHS offers special training for law enforcement to teach officers how to deal with persons who are experiencing behavioral health issues.

"The CAHS training helps officers keep people safe by knowing when to back off a little and when to take a little more time to evaluate the situation," said John Nosacka.

Pictured right (l-r): John Nosacka; Dr. Kasofsky; Commander Lawrence Callendar, Assistant Chief, French Settlement Police Department; and District 64 State Representative Valarie Hodges.

John Nosacka, who coordinates CAHS' Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, said 1,386 officers have participated since January 2008 in behavioral health training. Of those, 491 have completed the full, 40-hour CIT Training class. 
Other speakers at the symposium were Governor John Bel Edwards; U.S. Senator William Cassidy; EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome; State Representative Valarie Hodges; James Hussey, MD, Assistant Secretary and Medical Director of the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health; and East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William "Beau" Clark, MD.
"Connecting With Youth" Back To School Event
Capital Area Human Services exhibited its #MeByDesign campaign at the 11th Annual Gardere Initiative Back to School Extravaganza for youth at the Elvin Street Gym, 9350 Antigua Drive, on Aug. 5.

The #MeByDesign Zone featured an interactive booth that included music, a giant scrabble board, giant Jenga, a photo #MeByDesign backdrop, branded gear, and a host of other activities to engage youth.

CAHS staff and the #MeByDesign brand ambassadors made real connections with youth to share important information about staying focused on their dreams, making healthy choices, avoiding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and encouraging their peers to do the same.

Special thanks to the #MeByDesign campaign team who provided the CAHS booth at the event, including the Fahrenheit Creative Group brand ambassadors, Kristian Dobard and Dadrius Lanus, and CAHS staff, Bridget Lewis, Nona Griffin, and Ivan Toldson. 

The outreach was part of CAHS' #MeByDesign campaign which promotes healthy choices and positive behaviors among middle and high school youth in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes. The campaign theme, “That’s just me. By design. How ‘bout you?” supports the idea that teenagers have all of the qualities and characteristics to achieve great things.
Dr. Kasofsky Speaks At Terrorism and Disaster Coalition
For Child and Family Resilience

CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD, was a featured speaker at the first regional meeting of the Terrorism and Disaster Coalition for Child and Family Resilience, held Aug. 10-11 in New Orleans. 

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center received funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to establish the Coalition, also known as TDC4.

The LSU center is working with partners across the nation to develop materials and provide training on interventions to support the behavioral health, wellbeing, and resilience of children, their families, and our communities in the face of terrorism and disaster.

In New Orleans, Dr. Kasofsky talked about CAHS' work to further develop the concept of resilience and resilient communities.

She joined representatives of four other states to share information obtained from individual state meetings and to discuss innovative strategies for addressing disaster behavioral health needs across the entire Gulf States region. CAHS hosted the Louisiana meeting on July 6. 

The Gulf States Coalition is the first of three regional coalitions that will be developed over the next four years in disaster prone areas of the United States. The Coalition seeks to foster child and family resilience, and disseminating culturally-relevant, evidence-informed practices, relative to preparedness, response, and recovery. Learn more here.

Pictured: Dr. Kasofsky and School Based Therapy Program Supervisors Jahanna Bailey, DSW, LCSW-BACS (left) and Brandi Lamana Conrad, DSW, LCSW-BACS, represented CAHS at the Coalition meeting.
Steve Aguillard Details CAHS Services To Help People Cope With Disasters
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the extensive flooding in Texas and Louisiana, CAHS' Clinical Services Director Steve Aguillard, LCSW-BACS, was invited to appear Aug. 31 on the Jim Engster radio show on WRKF in Baton Rouge.

Steve talked about various CAHS services offered that help individuals cope with stress and the behavioral health issues related to hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters. Click here to listen
(starts at timecode 10:43).
Experts Share Opioid Threats and Program Successes At Behavioral Health Collaborative

The Behavioral Health Collaborative continued its examination of the opioid crisis in the region with an impressive lineup of speakers who described the challenges they face in treating persons with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

Louis Cataldie, MD, ABAM Diplomate,
(pictured right) who specializes in OUD treatment services, detailed how opioid addiction has become a crisis nationally and how opioids affect the brain. 

"Opioids create biological and physiological changes that require a full array of treatments, including physiological, psychological, social, and spiritual," he said.

Dr. Cataldie said pain relief is often the gateway to OUD, noting that dependence risks increase as opioids are prescribed over longer periods of time to treat pain. He explained that opioid use causes molecular changes that "uncoil" DNA, allowing for the development of proteins that drive the addiction. He also said mental health treatment is important, as about 50% of opioid users also have mental health issues.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said heroin deaths now surpass homicide deaths in Baton Rouge. He also reiterated the need for a center where police can bring people who need help with behavioral health and substance use crises. 


Marianne Maumus, MD, of Ochsner, (pictured above) said the health system has made changes to "change the culture" and lower opioid use to treat its patients. She described a comprehensive program of coordinating opioid prescribing practices among physicians, conducting trainings for the medical personnel, and providing information to patients.

"In one year in our emergency department, we were able to reduce opioid prescriptions by 40% by implementing safe pain management that included a variety of alternatives like physical therapy, occupational therapy, non-narcotic pain relievers, and psychiatric services," said Dr. Maumus.

Rintha Simpson, Coordinator of the Community Integrated Health Program of Baton Rouge EMS,
(pictured left) shared statistics about opioid overdoses in the area. She said the issue affects everyone, all ages, genders, and ethnicities and is found in all zip codes. She said 663 persons last year were administered naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal agent.

CAHS Prevention Division Director Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH, announced that CAHS is only one of 16 organizations nationally to receive a three-year, $300,000 competitive grant to prevent opioid misuse among women and girls. 

She said the grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, calls for the use of evidence-based practices to increase awareness,
knowledge, and skills to address the opioid epidemic in the Baton Rouge region. She said CAHS' strategies will include a media campaign, programs in schools and communities, and consumer and provider educational materials.  

Other presenters at the Collaborative were David Laxton, LPC, NCC, Director of the Baton Rouge Comprehensive Treatment Center; Logan Kinamore, Executive Director of No Overdose Baton Rouge; Denise Delaney, Grants Manager at Open Health Care Clinic; J. Gary Chaney, DNP, APRN, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at RKM Primary Care; and Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH, CAHS Prevention Division Director.
Special Thanks: Annual AIP Audit Went Smoothly
Dr. Kasofsky would like to recognize and thank the following staff for their efforts in preparing for CAHS’ July 2017 AIP annual audit:  Ramona Harris, Shaketha Brown, Scott Meche, Sharon Schmidtfranz, Adrienne Marchand, Lisa Kiriakos, Verla Farlough, Parthenia Rheams, Karen Pino, Nona Griffin, Stephen Aguillard, John Nosacka, Karla Muzik, Janzlean Laughinghouse, Scott Thomas, Kell Munson, and Sherri Bickham.

The Human Services Accountability & Implementation Plan (AIP) was developed according to state law with input from the Human Services Interagency Council and the Louisiana Department of Health to guide the delivery of addictive disorders, developmental disabilities, and mental health services funded by public appropriations and federal dollars.

The AIP involves onsite monitoring visits conducted by staff from the Louisiana Office of Citizens With Developmental Disabilities and the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health.
Having Fun At CAHS
August 21, 2017:  A Day To Remember
The last time a total eclipse of the sun occurred across the Unites States was in 1979, and the next total eclipse of that type won't occur until 2024.

On Aug. 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the sun caused complete darkness in 14 states. While Louisiana didn't experience total darkness, much of the sun was covered by the moon in our region. Beginning around noon and lasting until about 2:30 p.m., CAHS employees had a fun time sun-gazing -- with the most fashionable eyewear, of course!  

We hope you enjoy these pictures, taken at CAHS Government Street, courtesy of Adrienne Marchand and Jason Cervini, both of the Developmental Disabilities Division.
Reminders at CAHS

New CAHS Letterhead
The letterhead for all locations has been updated to reflect the names of the 2017-18 CAHS Board Chair Amy Betts and Vice Chair Thomas Sawyer.

The correct version of the letterhead for your location can be obtained by accessing the Letterhead Folder on the CAHS Intranet.  

Please use the revised letterhead effective immediately.   Frequently used letters need to be transferred to the appropriate letterhead with the current CAHS logo.  
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.
Now Available: CAHS Resource Guide

We are pleased to announce the release of the 2017 CAHS Resource Guide that helps health and human services professionals, law enforcement officers, and the public find community services that meet various health and human services needs.

The guide, recently updated and now in its 13th printing, has been a valued community tool, according to testimonials from people who say the guide lists needed resources for families, friends, and clients to access. 

In addition to the pocket-sized printed copies, the guide is posted on the CAHS website here.
Who's Who at CAHS

Who's joined the CAHS family of employees recently?  Click here to find out.
WELCOME:  Dr. Karen Sheridan

Welcome to Karen Sheridan, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA, who has been named CAHS’ ABA Director of the ASCEND program that serves children with autism.

“I recently got married and wanted to come back to Louisiana to help children and families in my home state where there is such great need. This opportunity to serve at CAHS was a great fit,” said Dr. Sheridan.

ASCEND is an intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program that helps children, ages 2-7 who are diagnosed with autism, by teaching them communication, adaptive, social, play, and academic skills to prepare them for school. The program also trains parents how to further help their children.

Dr. Sheridan, a licensed clinical psychologist and licensed doctorate-level behavior analyst, grew up in Bogalusa. She earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology/Sociology at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, and earned master's and doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology at the University of Mississippi.

After graduate school, Dr. Sheridan worked as a psychologist at the North Lake Resource Center in Hammond where she provided ABA services to children with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities in clinic, home, and school settings. She also served for six years as an adjunct instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University where she taught a course on developmental disabilities.

Dr. Sheridan has worked in private practice as a consultant for special education in six school districts, and she served on the staff of the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Division at the prestigious Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Immediately before joining CAHS, Dr. Sheridan worked in Jackson, MS, as the director of an early intervention program for children, ages 2-8, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
In Memory: Amy Elizabeth Lucy Goff
We mourn the passing of School Based Therapist Amy Elizabeth Lucy Goff, LMSW, who passed away on July 30, after an illness.

Click here to read tributes from Amy's co-workers.

Amy, 27, enjoyed what she called her "dream job" as a School Based therapist at Plaquemine High School over the past three years. After graduating from high school with honors, Amy earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and a Masters in Social Work, both at LSU.

She is survived by her beloved husband, Paul Bosworth, her parents, Rebecca Trahant Goff and Oscar "Dale" Goff Jr., and others. Read more about Amy here.
World-Class Researcher: Andrew Udofa
What makes world-record sprinter Usain Bolt, so fast? What biomechanics contribute to him being the fastest sprinter in history -- the only person to win both the 100 meters and 200 meters at three Olympic games?

According to a feature story in the New York Times, those answers are being sought by Andrew Udofa, a doctoral student at Southern Methodist University and son of CAHS Medical Director Aniedi Udofa, MD. 

pictured right, courtesy of the New York Times) is leading the research team at SMU's Locomotor Performance Laboratory.

Through video analysis, Andrew and his team have found that Bolt's right leg appears to strike the track with more force than his left leg, and his left leg remains on the ground longer than his right leg. That finding challenges conventional wisdom that an uneven stride slows a runner, and Andrew's research team has plenty of questions they are probing. It's fascinating work that you can read more about here: New York Times article and the SMU study report.   

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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.

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