• MENTAL HEALTH PEER ADVOCACY: Mental Health America of Louisiana is working to restructure advocacy efforts in Louisiana. As part of that project, it is looking for a family member peer advocate in New Orleans. Peer representatives will help develop a statewide advocacy structure, identify key local issues and successes, provide local support and guidance, help plan annual Behavioral Health Day events, attend local behavioral health meetings, conduct local support groups and provide educational materials to other consumers. For information about becoming a local advocate, email Nicole McGee at nmcgee@namilouisiana.org or Brittany Howard at brittany hmhal@gmail.com.
  • LSU HEALTH NEW ORLEANS: Nicolas G. Bazan, professor and director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Gradle Medal awarded by the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology. Bazan specializes in researching blinding eye and neurodegenerative diseases. The award recognizes his good teaching and leadership in training future leaders of ophthalmology. From 2011 to 2014, Bazan was chairman of the board of governors of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Foundation, where he established and funded the Nicolas Bazan Fellowship for Latin-American ophthalmologists to attend the annual ARVO meetings. Through his Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant funded by the National Institutes of Health, senior scientists to help guide junior researchers so they will be able to compete successfully for research grants. In 1994, Dr. Bazan established the Summer Undergraduate Neuroscience program, which offers Louisiana’s undergraduate students hands-on experiences in laboratory research and education in the neurosciences and ophthalmology with the goal of stimulating interest in medicine and ophthalmology research as a career.
  • PLAY THERAPY CENTER: The Heebe Family Fund at Touro Infirmary has established an endowment for the Loyola University New Orleans Play Therapy Center of Education and Research. The center’s research benefits families struggling with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. Continuing education is one focus of the Heebe gift. “It is very important for the state of Louisiana to have a premier location for play therapy education for professionals as well as children, families and caregivers,” said LeAnne Steen, director of the Loyola University New Orleans Play Therapy Center of Education and Research, which she founded in 2008. Also, Loyola New Orleans will host and co-sponsor the Louisiana Association of Play Therapy’s annual conference Feb. 26-27. The headline speaker will be registered play therapy supervisor Linda Homeyer.