News for and about CAHS Employees
August 2016
In this issue ...
CAHS Helps With Community Healing
Behavioral Health Collaborative Meets Aug. 5
#MeByDesign Campaign Launches This Week
Improving the Health of Moms and Babies
Wedding Bells Ring at CAHS
FUN: ERC Salad Luncheon and SB Camps
Welcomes and Retirements
Community Healing At CAHS
"Thank You" From Our Community

We begin this newsletter with a heartfelt "Thank You" for CAHS staff who responded immediately with essential services in the wake of recent events in Baton Rouge and who put the emergency crisis plan into action. 

With an alert to its administrative team, the entire staff began to respond in meaningful ways. Agency staff communicated with law enforcement chaplains and communications officers, gathered and posted timely information on the website, reached out to the media to raise awareness about available services, and offered sessions with social workers for citizens in need. 

The city looked to Capital Area for help in coping, and our team moved with great speed and expertise.

Public Sessions at CAHS Address Issues, Help Healing

CAHS stepped up immediately to help individuals cope with their feelings and grief. Services included Lunch 'N Learn sessions on various topics, fliers about trauma and stress responses, advice for talking with children, and information about how to support resiliency in the community.

CAHS developed a new flier, "Do you need counseling after a tragedy?," which was posted on the agency's website. In addition, CAHS provided in-home therapy as requested by impacted families. 

CAHS also is hosting free community discussion sessions at the main clinic on Government St. The following sessions are being led by CAHS Program Manager John Nosacka, MSHCM, LCSW, and CAHS Clinical Services Director Stephen Aguillard, LCSW-BACS:

July 19, at noon and repeated at 6 p.m.,
“Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of the Events in Baton Rouge"
July 21, at noon
“Helping Others Cope in Times of Tragedy”
July 26, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
"Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of the Baton Rouge Tragedies"
July 27, 4 p.m.
"Resilience, Growth and Grief" 
Aug. 2, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
"Internal Reactions to the Baton Rouge Tragedies"
Aug. 9, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
"Emotional Impact of the Recent Events in Baton Rouge"

CAHS also is sponsoring a special session for professionals on Aug. 3 at 4 p.m., at the Government St. location. The session, "Responding to Trauma: Meeting the Needs of Children, Families and Adults," will be presented by LSU Medical School faculty International Trauma Specialists, Joy Osofsky, PhD, and Howard Osofsky, MD, Chairman of Psychiatry Department.

The free session is open to social workers, teachers, mental health counselors, law enforcement chaplains, ministers, law enforcement personnel, and medical professionals.

Raising Public Awareness Through the Media

Capital Area Human Services moved into the media spotlight immediately after the Baton Rouge crisis, responding to an invitation to appear the next day at  the Baton Rouge Press Club. 

Addressing the Press Club were CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD, Medical Director 
Aniedi Udofa, MD, and Community Outreach Specialist and Peer Leader Tonja Myles.  

Dr. Kasofsky spoke about CAHS' ability to respond to crises quickly and professionally, the importance of personal and community resilience, and the need for reflection on how trauma affects the community as a whole. 

Dr. Udofa presented information about how to recognize trauma, especially in children, and the need for being aware of reactions that are problematic. Tonja Myles spoke about the importance of caring for oneself in a crisis, noting that individuals cannot take care of others without first taking care of themselves.
Click on the image above to watch the WAFB-TV interview
Sample news coverage
(click on the titles to view)
Other media outlets, including WVLA and WBRZ assisted with segments and public service alerts. Tonja Myles used her own radio program at Cumulus to interview Dr. Kasofsky and Dr. Udofa. In addition, CAHS issued news releases about available services and public sessions, and posted materials immediately to its website. CAHS social workers also made personal visits to the children of the families involved.
Coming Up At CAHS
Behavioral Health Collaborative Rescheduled for Aug. 5

The Behavioral Health Collaborative, originally scheduled to meet July 22, will meet at 8 a.m. on Aug. 5 at the CAHS Government St. location, Room 200. The Collaborative will continue its work, in partnership with Humana, to explore ways to integrate behavioral health services with primary health care.  

Attendees on Aug. 5 will continue their conversation and development of a template for business plans for locally developed different models of integrated behavioral health and primary care.
Leading The Way At CAHS
Gettys' Leadership Results in Successful I CARE Summit
Congratulations to CAHS Prevention Division Director Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH, MA, who serves as chair of the I CARE Advisory Council and whose leadership helped produce the 3rd Annual I CARE Prevention Summit, June 4, at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

“The I CARE Advisory Council is proud to host this event and appreciates the generous contributions of our community partners and the dedication of I CARE staff.  We always look forward to bringing families, schools, and community services together to make a difference in the lives of our youth," said Vivian.
More than 350 people attended, while 400 more watched live streams of the Summit. CAHS was an exhibitor and collaborates with I CARE year-round to help prevent substance use and violence among youth.

For highlights of the Summit, click here see a video production that aired on cable channel Metro 21, thanks to councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel and the Baton Rouge Metro Council. The video includes interviews with Vivian and I CARE Director Gwynn Shamlin.

Pictured (l-r): Vivian Gettys and Prevention Program Monitor Bridget Lewis, MS, staffed the CAHS booth and distributed information about the agency's programs.
CAHS Exhibits at "Connecting the Dots EXPO"
Thanks to School Based Social Worker Nina Julien (seated) for staffing the CAHS booth at the "Connecting the Dots EXPO," July 30, at the Crowne Plaza Executive Center in Baton Rouge. 

Nina distributed information about CAHS programs that promote wellness and healthy lifestyles, support mental and behavioral health, and provide substance use prevention and treatment options.

Families attending the EXPO enjoyed mini classes, prizes, giveaways, celebrities and sports stars, art activities, physical fitness, yoga, and meditation exercises.
CAHS Partners To Improve Health of Moms and Babies
CAHS is helping improve the health outcomes of mothers and babies as a participant in the Innovation Accelerator Program for Substance Use Disorders with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

CAHS Prevention Director Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH, and Carol Everhart, LCSW, have been serving on subcommittees, addressing screening and early intervention as well as women’s services and supports.

Vivian chairs the subcommittee that is developing the Louisiana Substance Use in Pregnancy Clinician’s Toolkit that will help healthcare providers decrease the risks associated with substance use during pregnancy.

A repository of needed services and supports, payment reform strategies, and data is being developed by partnering with three pilot sites: Woman’s Hospital (Baton Rouge), Louisiana Project LAUNCH (Lafayette) and ACER Substance Use Treatment Center (Slidell). Now entering its second year, the Louisiana IAP-SUD project has also partnered with the Louisiana Perinatal Commission. Learn more with the IAD-SUP fact sheet and toolkit overview.

#MeByDesign Campaign Launch: Aug. 6 @ Gardere

Capital Area Human Services will launch its new youth alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention media campaign during the annual Gardere Initiative back-to-school event Aug. 6, 8:15 a.m. - noon, at Gardere Lane Park, 1702 Gardere Lane, Baton Rouge. Youth and families are encouraged to attend this free event.  

The #MeByDesign campaign will promote 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.

“We believe the #MeByDesign campaign will be a valuable resource for our community in efforts to educate youth about the risks of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs," said CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD.

Data from the 2014 Caring Communities Youth Survey (CCYS) of 13,562 students in the CAHS region showed that the highest rates of past-30-day use is among 12th graders for alcohol (40%), marijuana (17%) and tobacco (14%). Among illicit drugs, the highest rates of past-30-day use is for prescription sedatives and prescription narcotics.  

“This back-to-school event is part of a broader set of activities to provide youth with the information and support they need to make healthy decisions,” said Dr. Murelle G. Harrison, Executive Director of the Gardere Initiative Coalition.
Progress At CAHS
390 CAHS Clients Apply For Medicaid
Thanks to all CAHS employees who have assisted our clients in applying for Medicaid coverage under Louisiana's program expansion efforts. We are pleased to report that 390 CAHS clients have been assisted with their applications since June, and we encourage you to keep up the good work of helping our clients apply.

Medicaid enrollment means that CAHS clients benefit from a full menu of health care services, just as they would through private insurance. The benefits include mental health care, as they have received historically from CAHS, addiction recovery services, primary health care, and transportation to and from medical appointments.

Read more about Louisiana's Medicaid expansion in June's CAHS Connections.
Wedding Bells At CAHS
Betty Mims and Scofield Grant, III

Betty (Mims), Social Services Counselor 3 at Margaret Dumas Mental Health Center, and Scofield Grant, III, were married in Baton Rouge on May 7.  

Afterwards, they enjoyed a blissful honeymoon on a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas.

The couple has decided on a slow-paced country lifestyle, making St. Gabriel as their place to call home.


Sonya Kelly and Rick Thomas
CAHS Procurement Specialist Sonya Kelly and Rick Thomas, were married July 31 in Atlanta in celebration of one year together after meeting on the Blue Moon on the same date in 2015.

The couple spent their honeymoon in Atlanta enjoying the area’s most popular attractions, and they will reside in Baton Rouge thereafter.  

Sonya's daughter, Alia Monique, the couple's wedding photographer and Rick's daughters, Kayla and Brooke, are all excited for their wonderful life ahead as a family.
Having Fun At CAHS
A Great Summer: CAHS School Based Camps
The School Based Summer Enrichment Program was a great success this summer with 350 children participating from all seven CAHS parishes. The children enjoyed adventure-based counseling, arts and crafts, and lots of recreation.  
"I like coming to camp because it is fun. I enjoy meeting people, and it helps me learn how to get along better with others," said Linda from West Feliciana Middle School.
Gonzales Primary School student, Christian, also enjoyed the camp, saying, "Camp means fun, activities, and exploring things."
Along with all of the other activities, many camps watched part of the movie "Inside Out" each week. This kept the campers coming back each week, as the movie told the story of a young girl, Riley Andersen, who moved across country and dealt with her five personified emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear , Anger, and Disgust. The movie opened up great conversations each week between the children and the social workers.
ERC Salad Luncheon: A Good, Healthy Time!

The Employee Relations Committee (ERC) hosted a Salad Luncheon on July 29, marking ERC’s third "Fifth Friday Fundraising Event." More than 100 servings of fresh green lettuce and various toppings were served to employees according to individual  “To-Go Menus” with items pre-selected by the employees.

Salads were put together from fresh ingredients and packaged for easy pick up or delivery within CAHS facilities from the Government Street location. All funds raised will be used for future employee events. ERC would like to say "Thank You" to everyone who purchased a salad or gave a donation.

Who's Who at CAHS

Who joined CAHS recently? Click here to see!
Best Wishes To Carol and Paulette!
We wish the best to Carol Nacoste and Paulette Jones, both of whom retired in July.

Carol began her State service in 1986 and joined CAHS in 1997, retiring as Deputy Director. Paulette also began her State service in 1986, joined CAHS in 1998, and retired from CARP as a Social Services Counselor.
CARP Welcomes Doctors Michals and Wu
CAHS is part of an Addiction Fellowship program with the LSU New Orleans Psychiatry Department, and we are pleased to welcome fellow Lee Michals, MD, who started working Aug. 1 at the Capital Area Recovery Program (CARP). 

Dr. Michals earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Tulane University in cell and molecular biology and earned his medical degree at Ross University.
In July, CARP welcomed Daniel Wu, MD, a second-year psychiatry resident, who will complete his substance abuse rotation on Aug. 31. Dr. Wu earned his medical degree at Tulane University and is completing his psychiatry residency training at the LSU / Our Lady of the Lake Psychiatry Residency program.
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:
Karen Bray, Rafael Maza, Lynetta Butler,
Michael BrownRichard Brown, Jr.Betty Mims, and Shenitha Smith.

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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