Author Archives: Susan

Dr. Nemeth Honored by Am. Board of Prof. Neuropsychology

The American Board of Professional Neuropsychology has named Dr. Darlyne Nemeth for the  2021 Distinguished Service Award in recognition for Leadership, Training, Practice Innovations  and International Relations. Dr. Nemeth is a psychologist and medical psychologist and founder of the The Neuropsychology Center of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.

Dr. Paula Cooper, past-president of the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology  noted, “Nemeth has been a pioneer in the area of Clinical Neuropsychology for over 30 years  and was the first in Louisiana to establish a private practice Neuropsychology Laboratory in  1977. She also established the first Neuropsychology Laboratory at the Louisiana State  University Student Mental Health Service in Baton Rouge.

“Dr. Nemeth was instrumental in the movement to have Clinical Neuropsychology recognized  as a specialty area in the State of Louisiana,” said Dr. Cooper.

“Dr. Nemeth is currently serving as Co-Secretary General for the World Council for  Psychotherapy (WCP) and has been a WCP/DPI/NGO Delegate to the United Nations. Dr.  Nemeth has been nationally and internationally recognized for her Hurricane Anniversary  Wellness Workshops, which, in cooperation with many government, religious, and professional  Organizations, were offered to the victims/survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the  Summer 2006 and was offered in August, 2015 for the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina,”  said Dr. Cooper.

“Dr. Nemeth recently hosted an International meeting in Moscow that described the  contributions of Luria and Reitan to child Neuropsychology. We congratulate Dr. Nemeth for all  her accomplishments in the field of neuropsychology.” “I can tell you that I was quite surprised  to receive this award,” said Dr. Nemeth. “Typically, such awards are given to people who are  board certified. When I was young, however, board certification was not something that was emphasized. In fact, my mentor, Ralph Reitan, Ph.D., did not encourage board certification at  all. Of course, at the end of his life, he appeared to have many, many credentials. For me, this  was indeed a great honor. It certainly reflects the many years I have mentored students,  presented at national meetings, and even published a few articles,” Dr. Nemeth said. 

“One such article was 3q29 Deletion Syndrome and Neuropsychological Functioning: Fraternal  Twin Case Study, which was published in Applied Neuropsychology Child, of which I serve on  the Editorial Board. Another important presentation was on the role of the treating psychologist: Nemeth, D.G., Olivier, T.W., Whittington, L.T., & May, N.E. (2010, February). The  role of the treating neuropsychologist in forensic cases. Poster session presented at the 38th  Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Acapulco, Mexico. I wrote this  because, at that time, too many treating neuropsychologists wandered into the realm of forensics. They didn’t stay in their role. I found this very frustrating,” Dr. Nemeth said.

Dr. Nemeth has presented at the International Neuropsychology Society, National Academy of  Neuropsychology, APA, as well as other professional meetings.Dr. Nemeth has co-edited/coauthored five books. Her book, Innovative Approaches to Individual and Community Resilience: From Theory to Practice was published by Elsevier Press in July 2017 and was  awarded the PROSE Award in February 2018. Dr. Nemeth’s most recent book, co-edited by  Janna Glozman, Ph.D., D.Sc., titled, Evaluation and Treatment of Neuropsychologically  Compromised Children: Understanding Clinical Applications Post Luria and Reitan, was  published by Elsevier/Academic Press in April 2020.

At its 106th Annual Convention, Dr. Nemeth was elected to Fellowship status, having been  nominated by Drs. Gerry Goldstein, Linus Bielauskas, and Stanley Berendt, making her the first  Clinical Neuropsychologist from the State of Louisiana to have been elected as a Division 40  Fellow. At that time, of the more than 4500 Division 40 members, including 108 Fellows, only 11  Fellows were women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

A Review

by Alvin G. Burstein, PhD

This is a frankly feel-good movie, one that promises that dreams can come true. It is based on a  novel, one of a series by Paul Gallico, featuring the protagonist, Mrs. Harris, a cleaning woman  in London in the late nineteen forties. Its theme seems an odd one for the author.

I had first become aware of him while he was a sportswriter for the New York Daily News in the  late nineteen thirties. Gallico was quirky then, known for gimmicks like getting in the ring with  Jack Dempsey—who knocked him out in two minutes. Gallico was also notorious for his racial  slurs, less remarkable in that era, and his mockery of tennis players, golfers and women  athletes.

But as a writer, Gallico had a keen sense of what sells, what people like to read, and he later  became famous for his novels. In his usual acerbic way he said of himself, “I’m a rotten novelist.  I’m not even literary. I just like to tell stories and all my books tell stories….” This movie showcases that talent.

Mrs. Harris is a war-widowed London cleaning woman, someone who has an upbeat personality and a generous soul. As the movie follows her moving from house to house in her cleaning  assignments, we watch her straightening out messes created by her customers with her perky  nature never flagging. One of her clients is an exploitative, self-centered upper class woman  who, while falling behind in her cleaning woman’s payments, has managed to purchase an  original Dior evening gown. Mrs. Harris becomes enraptured with its beauty and determines to  buy one for herself, scrimping to scrape up its cost— five hundred pounds.

She journeys to Paris and visits Dior’s haute couture establishment introducing us to its over- privileged clientele, the front of the store toadies, and the behind the scenes slavies whose  labor underpins the establishment. Mrs. Harris’ sunny persistence permits her to surmount the  social biases that characterize the establishment and make her dream of acquiring a Dior original come true. In a subplot, she meets and wins the heart, though not the hand, of a French nobleman.

Returning with her prize to London, and before she has an opportunity to wear the gown to the  local dance hall, she foolishly lends the gown to one of her clients, a thoughtless showgirl  striving to sleep her way to success. The budding starlet manages to stain and burn the dream  gown beyond any possibility of repair. The ruin of this marvel of fashion catches the attention of the sensational press and a picture of the starlet wearing the ruined garment makes the front  pages.

Mrs. Harris’ Parisian acquaintances thus learn of the unhappy event and send a replacement to  her, one even more wonderful that its predecessor.

Gallico may call himself a lousy writer, but he knows how to tell a story that people want to  ear, read and see. This movie is incontrovertible proof of that. I guarantee that. If you are wondering
what became of her French admirer, I won’t tell you. If and when you see the film, you will see  why.

Dr. Gormanous Drops His Lawsuit after Motion is Denied

Attorneys representing both sides agreed to a dismissal of the lawsuit by Dr. Gregory Gormanous that alleged the state psychology board, on which he serves, was failing to provide  accommodations for his disability by denying him the opportunity to attend through virtual  sessions.

A Stipulation of Dismissal with prejudice was filed on July 29, closing the proceedings after Judge Terry Doughty, United States District Court, denied Dr. Gormanous’ Motion for Preliminary  Injunction.

In Judge Doughty’s analysis, he wrote: “This Court agrees with Judge Drell that the ADA would  supersede Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law but denies Gormanous’ request for preliminary injunction in this case for other reasons. This Court finds that the accommodations offered by LSBEP to Gormanous were reasonable. The Governor’s emergency COVID-19 order expired on March 16, 2022. LSBEP offered  accommodations recommending social distancing and masks, a reserved table with a single seat at least six feet away from others only for Gormanous, and/or  one-way broadcasting of meetings. These are reasonable accommodations that would protect Gormanous and allow him to attend the meetings in a manner that would not impede on his  health issues. […]”

“Additionally, LSBEP has valid due process concerns with respect to applicants and/or persons undergoing disciplinary procedures. LSBEP’s powers include the power to examine for, deny, approve, revoke, suspend, and renew the licenses of applicants, candidates, and psychologists.  Conducting hearings by Zoom raises due process concerns for applicants, candidates, and  psychologists. These important due process protections of applicants, candidates, and psychologists appearing before LSBEP shows a very valid concern by LSBEP of Gormanous’  request.

In his June 6 filing in the United States District Court Western District of Louisiana, Dr.  Gormanous asked for a Preliminary Injunction in his favor against defendants Jaime T. Monic, in her official capacity as Executive Director of the LSBEP, and the LSBEP as a political entity. He  alleged that Ms. Monic and the LSBEP have unlawfully discriminated against Dr. Gormanous by (1) failing to provide a reasonable accommodation and (2) using eligibility criteria that tends to  screen out people with disabilities.

Dr. Gormanous is 74 years old and has various medical conditions, including chronic  obstructive  pulmonary disease (COPD) and a pacemaker, that make him highly susceptible to  COVID-19, noted authors of the June 6 Motion.

In a June email to colleagues, Dr. Gormanous wrote, “Supporting discrimination does not align  with the ideals of psychology. Throughout this ordeal, I have unsuccessfully tried to minimize LSBEP’s expenditures of scarce limited human & financial resources. I tried to resolve issues  with a civil inquiry beginning in JUN 2020. During the FEB 22, 2022 meeting, I was met with  cognitively rigid replies. Statements like I was asking the ED to break the law by attending by  Zoom. As a result, LSBEP’s flawed decision-making process necessitated litigation that continues to result in their spending unnecessary legal fees.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Psychologists Continue to Press State Board on Single Hurdle EPPP and Racial Discrimination

As follow-up to their January complaint that the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of  Psychologists is inappropriately using the national licensing exam as a single hurdle, resulting in discrimination against Blacks and other minorities, a group of psychologists have submitted a position statement to the Board.

In the statement, the psychologists give seven ethical and legal points, and argue that using the  EPPP is not only illegal but also inherently discriminatory,” and that, “The test is racist, and its  use must be restricted.”

In one conclusion they write, “The State Board must immediately offer an alternative path for  licensing that relies on either a reduced cutoff score OR specific board supervision for individuals who are so marred by systemic racism that they perform poorly on standardized  tests.”

In January, the psychologists, Drs. William Costelloe, Julie Nelson, and Marc Zimmermann,  business psychologists who have extensive experience with high stakes selection testing in the  private sector, submitted “A Request for Investigation,” stating that members of the Louisiana  State Board of Examiners of Psychologists are operating outside of their area of competence in regard to selection–testing and racial discrimination. The request was rejected by the Board. In  a letter dated March 7, Ms. Jaime Monic, the Executive Director, said that the members do not  have jurisdiction over themselves. Also, she said, they are not engaged in the practice of psychology as board members.

However, they are open to reviewing this issue, Ms. Monic wrote. She said to send any  information and they would review it. The psychologists have sent several documents.

In the most recent position statement, authors wrote:

“We have seven ethical and even legal concerns regarding the current Psychology licensing  procedures and how they affect Black psychologists, other people of color, and many others from historically disenfranchised groups. These criticisms are noted explicitly for Black  psychologists. They may also apply to people from linguistic, cultural, and religious minorities,  including people who identify as nonbinary.

“First, although we are not lawyers, we note the overwhelming psychometric and legal  problems with the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This test is used  in all 50 states (though not Puerto Rico), and states use a criterion of 500 to pass. The test relies on content validity alone with no evidence of other validities. As Sharpless (2018) noted in a  review, “It is unknown if scores are associated with relevant performance criteria” (p. 161).  While this was acceptable in the 1980s (Kane, 1981), it is not acceptable now, as Kane (2016)  notes.

“There is no evidence that the test predicts competency, adequacy, or professionalism. We are  unaware of any evidence published in peer review sources that currently link this test to the  objective performance criteria of licensed, professional psychologists.

Quite ironically, and perhaps hypocritically, the standards required of our profession for testing  others, for example, in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, are not applied to  psychologists when they must regulate themselves. These include what courts consider  minimally necessary: test stability, evidence of findings in peer-reviewed publications, and  predictive error rate.

“Beyond this, in Griggs v. Duke Power, the Supreme Court ruled that if employment-related tests  had a disparate impact on protected groups (illustrated below), the organization requiring the  test must prove that the test in use is “reasonably related” to the duties performed on the job.  There is no peer-reviewed evidence that the EPPP is reasonably related to the responsibilities of practicing psychologists. There is no published evidence that it measures skill knowledge and much less skills competency.”

According to the June minutes from the Board, “Dr. Gibson reported that additional information has been sent to the Board, by the individuals raising concerns about the use of the EPPP. Dr. Gibson recommended that a committee be formed to comprehensively study the concerns  addressed in the complaint about the EPPP and its bias against minority populations and that in order to avoid the perception of bias, board members with close ties to ASPPB should not be  members of the committee.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Claire Houtsma Recognized for Early Career Contribution in Suicide Prevention

Dr. Claire Houtsma, a research scientist in suicide prevention, was honored this spring by the Louisiana Psychological Association with their Early Career Psychologist Award.

Dr. Houtsma is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Core Investigator at South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center.

Dr. Houtsma is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral  Sciences, Tulane University, School of Medicine, and Research Assistant Professor in Section of Community Population Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine.

The Times asked Dr. Houtsma what she views are her most important contributions at this point in her career.

“My most important contributions have probably been in the area of firearm suicide  prevention,” Dr. Houtsma said. “My research related to firearms has been designed to clarify  contexts under which risk for firearm suicide is heightened, as well as to develop and test  interventions that reduce risk for firearm suicide. I am particularly proud of my projects that  have involved active collaborations with Veteran and civilian firearm owners,” she said.

“Through my work with the Veteran-Informed Safety Intervention and Outreach Network  (VISION), I collaborated with firearm owning Veterans and civilians to create a suicide prevention learning module, including a PowerPoint slide deck and brief video, that can be used in Louisiana firearm training courses,” said Dr. Houtsma. “I am currently working with a number of firearm course instructors to test the acceptability and effectiveness of this learning module.”

Spokesperson for the Louisiana Psychological Association, Dr. Amanda Raines, said, “The impact that Dr. Houtsma will make on the field of psychological science is best reflected in her timely  and innovative program of research. At a time when suicide remains the 11th leading cause of  death in the United States, her program of research aims to identify and examine risk factors that underlie firearm suicide,” Raines said. “In addition, her body of work focuses on the  development and dissemination of novel methods of prevention and intervention. To date, Dr. Houtsma has published 28 peer-reviewed articles and presented her work at various local and  national conferences. Further, she serves as a co-investigator or principal investigator on six  federally funded projects.”

Dr. Houtsma’s work is ongoing. “I am also in the midst of recruiting for a study that will examine the feasibility and acceptability of peer-delivered lethal means counseling among  firearm owning Veterans,” Dr. Houtsma said. “This study will evaluate whether conversations about implementing safer firearm storage practices are acceptable among Veterans and  whether they actually lead to behavior change. I feel these projects are among the most important contributions I have made so far because they focus on a population at high risk for firearm suicide, use a partnered approach in research design and implementation, and provide  practical outcomes that may help save lives now,” she said.

Dr. Houtsma has authored numerous important studies. For her article, “The Association  Between Gun Ownership Dr. Claire Houtsma Recognized for Early Career Contributions in  Suicide Prevention, continued and Statewide Overall Suicide Rates,” the aim was to “expand on extant research by examining the extent to which gun ownership predicts statewide overall  suicide rates beyond the effects of demographic, geographic, religious, psychopathological, and  suicider-elated variables.” According to the abstract, “By extending the list of covariates utilized,  considering those covariates simultaneously, and using more recent data, the study sought to present a more stringent test. Gun ownership predicted statewide overall suicide rates, with the full model accounting for more than 92% of the variance in statewide suicide rates. The correlation between firearm suicide rates and the overall suicide rate was significantly stronger  than the correlation between non-firearm suicide rates and the overall suicide rate.”

Another article by Dr. Houtsma, “The Association Between State Laws Regulating Handgun Ownership and Statewide Suicide Rates,” examined the impact of three state laws––permit to  purchase a handgun, registration of handguns, and license to own a handgun on suicide rates. According to the abstract, “They used 2010 data from publicly available databases and state  legislatures to assess the relationships between the predictors and outcomes. The Results  largely indicated that states with any of these laws in place exhibited lower overall suicide rates and suicide by firearms rates and that a smaller proportion of suicides in such states resulted  from firearms. Furthermore, results indicated that laws requiring registration and license had significant indirect effects through the proportion of suicides resulting from firearms. The latter  results imply that such laws are associated with fewer suicide attempts overall, a tendency for  those who attempt to use less-lethal means, or both. Exploratory longitudinal analyses indicated a decrease in overall suicide rates immediately following implementation of laws  requiring a license to own a handgun.”

In Dr. Houtsma’s “Moderating Role of Firearm Storage in the Association Between Current Suicidal Ideation and Likelihood of Future Suicide Attempts Among United States Military  Personnel,” researchers hypothesized that how soldiers store their firearms would moderate  the relationship between suicidal ideation and the self-reported likelihood of engaging in a future suicide attempt, and that this relationship would be explained by fearlessness about  death, noted the abstract. “There were 432 military personnel who endorsed current ownership of a private firearm and who were recruited from a military base in the southeastern United States (94.5% National Guard). Firearm storage moderated the relationship between suicidal  ideation and the self-reported likelihood of engaging in a future suicide attempt, but this relationship was not explained by fearlessness about death. Individuals who reported keeping  heir firearms loaded and stored in an unsecure location exhibited higher mean levels of fearlessness about death. Findings highlight the need for research examining contributors to  suicide risk in the context of firearm storage and provide support for suicide prevention efforts  involving restricting means.”

Dr. Houtsma regularly shares information and research at conferences across the country. Examples include:

Houtsma, C., Powers, J., Raines, A. M., Bailey, M., Constans, J. I., & True, G.  (November, 2022). Adaptation and evaluation of a lethal means safety suicide prevention module for concealed carry courses. Symposium talk submitted to the National Research  Conference on Firearm Injury Prevention, Washington, D.C.

Houtsma, C., Sah, E., & Constans, J.  I. (November, 2022). The firearm implicit association test: A validation study. Symposium talk  submitted to the National Research Conference on Firearm Injury Prevention, Washington, D.C. 

Houtsma, C., Tock, J. L., & Raines, A. M. (November, 2022). When safe firearm storage isn’t  enough: Comparing risk profiles among firearm suicide decedents. Symposium talk accepted at  the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), New York  City, New York.

Houtsma, C., Anestis, M. D., Gratz, K. L., Tull, M., Butterworth, S. E., Richmond, J., & Forbes, C.  (November, 2021). The role of opioid use in distinguishing between suicidal ideation and attempts. Symposium talk presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral  and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Virtual Conference.

Houtsma, C. (August, 2021). Feasibility and acceptability of Caring Contacts for suicide prevention among veterans recently separated from military service. Symposium talk presented at the Mississippi Health Disparities Conference, Biloxi, Mississippi.

Dr. Houtma is the investigator or coinvestigator for numerous grant projects including: Demonstration Project – Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP) Title: Measuring Feasibility and Effectiveness of a Lethal Means Safety Suicide Prevention Module in  Concealed Carry and Firearm Safety Classes, and Veterans Rural Health Resource Center FY22  Project – Office of Rural Health (ORH) Title: Preventing Firearm Suicides Among Rural Veterans  by Engaging Military Caregivers.

In her career so far, what is she most thankful for?

“I am endlessly thankful for the mentors who have helped me reach my goals,” Dr. Houtsma  said. “My graduate school mentor, Dr. Michael Anestis, provided me with the skills, encouragement, and support I needed to become a successful, research-oriented graduate  student. He has continued to be a mentor to me after graduate school and I am so grateful to know I can reach out to him for guidance as I navigate my career. I am also thankful for the  mazing mentors I gained during my clinical internship year. Drs. Amanda Raines, Laurel Franklin, Gala True, and Joseph Constans were critical in Dr. Claire Houtsma Recognized for  Early Career Contributions in Suicide Prevention, continued helping me transition from trainee  to early career psychologist,” she said.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a fantastic workplace,” Dr. Houtsma said, “however,  it is not always clear how to forge a research career in this setting. My mentors at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System have provided invaluable assistance, reassurance, and  support in moving my research program forward within VA. I feel very lucky to have such amazing people on my team and I wouldn’t have achieved success as an early career  psychologist without them,” she said.

Does Dr. Houtsma have any advice for other early career psychologists?

“I would encourage other early career psychologists to stay in close contact with their mentors,” she said. I have found it immensely helpful, not only in navigating the minutia of research  studies, but also in determining how to balance work-life priorities. I realize not everyone has  the opportunity to gain desired mentorship in a naturalistic way, so I would encourage early  career psychologists to reach out to others in your field who have careers you admire. I have  gained mentorship from individuals at other institutions, simply by reaching out via email or  Zoom. It’s very hard to make it on your own in this field and the good news is, you don’t have  to!”

What has Dr. Houtsma enjoyed the most?

“Working with and learning from Veterans and firearm owners,” she said. “My work with VISION  as exposed me to the world of community-engaged research and I have found this to be an  extremely informative and rewarding experience. Being able to connect with individuals for  whom firearm suicide is a very real and personal experience reminds me why I’m doing this  work and reinforces my passion to find solutions,” said Dr. Houtsma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress Solutions

Children Suffer from Stress, Too

Just like all adults, children suffer from stress, too. Often it happens that the stresses  experienced by children seem insignificant to adults. Or, worse, the parent may completely miss the fact that the child is stressed. Childhood stress can be caused by any situation that requires  the child to adapt or change to a new situation. Change often produces anxiety because we don’t always know what to expect in the changed situation. You don’t have to be grown up to  fear the unknown.

Stress can even be caused by positive changes, such as starting a new activity, but it is most  commonly linked with negative changes such as divorce, illness or death in the family. But,  because children have few previous experiences from which to learn, even situations that  require small changes can have an enormous impact on a child’s feelings of safety and security.

Some parenting styles and parent expectations can be very stressful. Children want to please  their parents. I know that seems like a “no-brainer.” However, those among you who treat  children might now think that that everyone knows that. I have heard parents complain about  their children in terms that make it sound like they believe the child is going out of his or her way to upset or defy them. And, before you object, of course some children can reach a point  where they become oppositional. Usually that happens only after the child becomes resistant to being over-controlled.

Children with learning problems are often seriously stressed. They know they are not meeting  their parents’ or teachers’ expectations for school success. They feel stupid and like a failure.  Unfortunately, the main “job” that our children have is to succeed in school. Children learn how  to respond to stress by what they have seen and experienced in the past. If the adults in their  social environment are not good at dealing with stress, they are not likely to be either. Another  major factor to consider is that a poor ability to deal with stress can be passed from the mother  to the child during the prenatal months if the mother is very anxious or chronically stressed  Andrews, 2012).

Children probably will not recognize that they are stressed. Parents may suspect stress if the  child has experienced a stressful situation and begins to have physical or emotional symptoms, or both. Some behaviors or symptoms to look for can include, changes in eating habits, new  onset of headaches, changes in sleep pattern (nightmares, bedwetting, middle of the night  wakening, resistance to going to sleep), upset stomach or vague stomach symptoms, anxiety,  worries, inability to relax, fears that are either new or return (of being alone, of the dark, of  strangers or new situations), clinging to you, and easy tears. Aggressive, stubborn or oppositional behaviors are also possible signs of stress in children.

 

Mizell’s Bill Becomes Law This Week Without Gov.’s Signature

Senator Beth Mizell’s “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” becomes law this week after the Governor declined to veto or sign the measure. The new law, Act 283, will have the effect of  prohibiting transgender females, those assigned as male at birth, from competing in traditional women’s sports.

In a June 6 letter to the President of the Louisiana Senate, Governor Edwards, who had signaled  that he would veto the measure, explained his reasons. “[…] after passing this legislation  overwhelmingly in two consecutive regular legislative sessions, it is clearly the will of the  legislature that this bill become law.

Further, it is clear to me, both from the support for this bill and from private conversations with legislators, that Senate Bill 44 would have become law regardless of my action on it.”

Sen. Mizell’s bill passed the Senate by 32 to 6 and the House by 72 to 21. A similar effort failed,  by two votes, to override the Governor’s veto in 2021.

According to the final digest, Act 283 requires an athletic team or sporting event sponsored by  an elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational institution to be designated, based  upon the biological sex of team members, as only one of the following: “(1) A males, boys, or  mens team or event only for students who are biological males. (2) A females, girls, or womens  team or event only for students who are biological females. (3) A coeducational or mixed team  or event for students who are biological males or biological females.”

Also according to the digest, nothing in new law is intended to prevent any school from  implementing or maintaining a coed athletic team or sporting event which is open to both  biological males and biological females so long as a female athletic team or sporting event is  not disbanded for the purpose of creating a coed team or event which would thereby result to  the detriment of biological female students. And also nothing in new law shall be construed to apply to an intramural athletic team or intramural sport.

In his June 6 letter, Governor Edwards expressed his feelings about the legislation. “Despite it becoming law,” he said, “I stand by my position on this issue over the last several years as it has  been debated. This legislation unfairly targets vulnerable children who are already struggling  with gaining acceptance in every aspect of their lives.“

“It is unconscionable.” Gov. Edwards wrote, “to have these organizations year after year  continue to push the same legislation to capitalize on this issue at the expense of these children who are just trying to learn how to live their everyday lives,” he said.

“It is my sincere hope that we as a state become more educated about our transgender  community and the difficult and unique challenges they face. We should strive to be better and  more understanding.”

Mizell’s bill highlights the crossroads of transgender individuals’ rights and the rights of  biological female athletes. The issue has galvanized both the political left and right across the  country.

The American Psychological Association opposes these measures, stating, “Transgender  children vary in athletic ability, just as other youth do. There is no evidence to support claims  that allowing transgender student athletes to play on the team that fits their gender identity would affect the nature of the sport or competition.”

The Louisiana Psychological Association opposed the 2021 SB 156 and the Louisiana School Psychological Association labeled the 2021 bill as discriminatory saying, “SB 156 runs counter to our obligation to support all students’ dignity and privacy, particularly those with transgender  and gender diverse backgrounds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Dickson Honored for Distinguished Service

Dr. Amy Dickson has been named recipient of the 2022 Award for Distinguished Service in  Psychology by the Louisiana Psychological Association, announced at the spring convention. Dr.  Dickson is Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, (LSUHSC),  Department of Psychiatry, New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a license Clinical Psychologist, Infant Team Director, and Psychology Section Deputy Chief.

“This award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the professional  field of psychology in Louisiana and beyond by their professional service, particularly in the area of diversity, or demonstrated community involvement in support of less privileged or oppressed groups,” said Dr. Amanda Raines, spokesperson for the Association.

“Dr. Dickson works to support some of the most vulnerable populations in our community,”  said Dr. Raines. “She works with the Department of Child and Family Services where she provides services to families involved in the court due to suspected abuse and neglect of  children. In her previous role as Director of the Victims Assistance Program for the Department  of Psychiatry at LSUHSC, Dr. Dickson managed a crisis hot line to assist families in the New  Orleans area impacted by violence. In addition, she has worked as the co-director for the Harris  Infant Mental Health program at LSUHSC for the past 17 years where she has trained social work interns, psychiatry fellows, and psychology interns to have a deeper understanding for the mental health needs of young children,” said Dr. Raines.

Dr. Dickson is the Psychology Section Deputy Chief and the Child Coordinator of the Psychology  Internship Training Program at LSUHSC. She is a Child-Parent Psychotherapy trainer and she is  the Director of the Orleans Parish Infant Team which treats children ages 0-5 years in the foster  care system. She is part of a Safe Baby Court and trains around the country on infant mental  health and court team work.

Dr. Dickson also consults to local child protection agencies, and sees clients at the Behavioral  Sciences Center and at a federally qualified health clinic Dr. Dickson considers the training of others to be one of her important contributions. “Training the police to respond to incidents of  violence involving children was incredible work,” said Dr. Dickson. “I was able to ride along on shifts with police officers, often at night and attend their daily staffings. I got to know many  officers on a personal level and could hear the stress of their job and their helplessness, at  times, when confronted with various scenarios. The officers truly wanted to help the families  and often did not know how. Getting to work with these families, who would not have come to  the attention of mental health professionals, was immensely rewarding,” she said.

Dr, Dickson co-directs the Harris Infant Mental Health training with Dr. Joy Osofsky. According to their website, the LSUHSC Department of Psychiatry began the Harris Center for Infant Mental  Health over a decade ago. The Center offers training to predoctoral psychology interns (through an APA approved infant-child internship), child psychiatrists (as a required part of their  residency training program), post-doctoral psychologists, social workers, and other professionals seeking infant mental health specialization.

The officials note that the program is multidisciplinary and unique in fulfilling requirements for  psychology and child psychiatry training programs, being the first predoctoral internship in  infant mental health recognized and approved by both the American Psychological Association  (APA) and Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). The child  psychiatry rotation began as a six-month experience, explained officials. However after learning how much residents were benefitting from the rotation, the child psychiatry faculty at LSUHSC  made it a mandatory part of training. All trainees, from all disciplines, consistently rank their  experience in the Harris Center for Infant Mental Health a top part of their training, according to
officials.

Dr. Dickson noted her role after Hurricane Katrina. “The police reached out to our team as they  were so traumatized during and after the hurricane and they had built trust in us after working  together for so many years. They let us come and hear their stories and provide support. That is a tough group to get to open up and we all felt honored to join those brave individuals on their  healing journey,” she said.

For the Orleans Parish Permanency Infant and Preschool Program, Dr. Dickson has conducted  extensive relationship-based evaluations to assess whether parental rights should be  terminated, or children ages 0-5 years should be reunited with their biological parents as part  of a state funded multidisciplinary team. She also conducted out-patient relationship-based  family therapy with all available caregivers and their infants, individual therapy with the young  children and their parents, psychological evaluations with the caregivers, and/or developmental evaluations with the children if needed. Her services include providing court testimony as an  expert witness as needed and supervising the trainees. She presents to local child protection  agency staff on a variety of mental health topics. Dr. Dickson has been a provider to Zero to  Three funded Court Team since 2007. She has been the Program coordinator since July 2002 and Director since March 2004.

“I was able to provide evaluations when I saw undiagnosed learning disabilities or disorders,”  said Dr. Dickson, “work with the children’s teachers to help them understand that the child’s  response was often due to their trauma versus oppositional behavior, and helped change the  way each family functioned as they understood the impact of their life events on them and  could treat each other in a more compassionate and supportive manner. The program enabled  me to build connections with so many people who never would have connected to someone like me before.

Due to our grants, we were able to see people free of charge. I still keep in touch with some of  my earliest clients as they call to tell me about their own children now and they have referred friends and family members. It’s so wonderful to hear from them.”

In her work at the Harris Infant Mental Health Program, Dr. Dickson has been co-director since  2010. Her services include conducting out-patient family therapy with parents and their infants.  She assists in the coordination and teaching of a weekly didactic seminar on infant mental  health to a yearly group of fellows. She supervises trainees and has been part of the Harris Professional Development Network since 2008. She has also been part of the Child Welfare  Professional Development Network within the Harris network and the Fatherhood Engagement  Committee.

“I enjoy watching people make substantial, positive changes in their lives and seeing the ripple  effects of those changes as ensuing generations and family members and friends benefit from  the clients’ greater emotional health and positive functioning,” she said. “Learning from each  other, we all benefit.”

“My work in child protection is also immensely rewarding,” Dr. Dickson said. “These caregivers  rarely have a supportive person in their life and many later thank the team for all they have  learned. It is always hard to see a child injured, but it is also hard to see a parent who was not  protected themselves. Child abuse work is hard, and all the professionals who choose to work  in this area truly want to help. Building shared knowledge, learning from one another, and  providing emotional support not just to my team and the families- both biological and foster- but also my foster care caseworkers and the attorneys has made us all better at our jobs and  better able to find new ways to keep families together or connected to one another in healthier  ways.”

Her many accomplishments and recognitions include:

Featured Poster Presentation at the  Annual ISTSS

Conference: Childhood Maltreatment and Developmental Delay in Miami, Florida  November 6, 2014

One of New Orleans City Business’ Power Generation for 2003 YLC: Volunteer of the Year 2002

Project Leader of the Year 2001

Project (NRP) of the Year 2000

Commendation from Total Community Action for work with local Head Starts

Commendation from CASA for volunteer teaching to incoming classes

Commendation from NCTSN for work given on published materials

Dr. Dickson’s publications include:

Zeanah, P., Larrieu, J., Osofsky, J., Dickson, A., & Zeanah, C.H. (2021). Enhancing Developmental  Trajectories: The Critical Importance of Increasing & Supporting Evidence-Based Services for  Louisiana’s Most Vulnerable Citizens.

Hines, E.N., Thompson, S.L., Moore, M.B., Dickson, A.B., & Callahan, K.L. (2020). Parent-child  separation due to incarceration: Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment considerations. Zero to  Three, 40(4), 22-29.

Family Time Resources: A Series of Publications for Foster Care Workers, Foster Parents, CASAs,  Judges, Parents, and Attorneys- in collaboration with the Harris Professional Development  Network committee members, October 2020.

Hines, E., Thompson, S., Moore, M., Dickson, A. & Callahan, K. (2020) Parent-child separation  due to incarceration: Assessment, diagnosis & treatment considerations. Zero to Three Journal,  40 (4), 22-29.

Dr. Dickson said she is grateful to the many people who have trained her over the years, but  she is most thankful for Dr. Joy Osofsky.

“I have been taught by many fabulous people who are so good at what they do,” Dr. Dickson  said. “I have had the incredibly good fortune of being mentored by Dr. Joy Osofsky who has  exposed me to so many wonderful learning opportunities and provided the grants and vehicles  to be able to do such meaningful work. LSUHSC is involved in great community work, and I feel  so grateful to have landed here to be exposed to such wonderful opportunities and people who
keep the work challenging and interesting and relevant to society.”

Dr. Dickson believes you should never stop training. “Listen to the community members,” she  said. “Learn that despite your advanced training, we can always learn from others. Our team  has never entered a system thinking we know the answers. Even when called into help, we learn the most from listening and observing and then partnering with others to see what will be  beneficial. We co-create wonderful interventions together when we do this. I have definitely  learned more from my clients and colleagues than they have learned from me,” Dr. Dickson  said.

Dr. Dickson said, “I love going to work each day. My colleagues and trainees are awesome, and  you never know what will happen that day. Kids, in particular, are so unpredictable and can  bring such joy. I love to watch people heal from their traumas and fully engage again and find  joy, meaning and happiness. It is a humbling experience to be a part of someone’s journey and I feel grateful every day that I get to do the work I do.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Psychology Board Embarks on Major Overhaul of Rules & Regulations

In their February minutes, posted on July 11, the state psychology board outlined major  changes and updates they intend to make to the regulatory law governing psychologists.

Central to these changes is the new section of administrative Rules on registration of assistants  to psychologists, including regulations on who may be an assistant, their credentials, how the  board will investigate complaints, and how to regulate supervision of the assistants.

According to the minutes, board members discussed numerous changes and additions to the  rules and regulations for psychologists. The following excerpts (Italicized) were included in the  reporting.

Chapter 11: Assistants to Psychologists (registration) –

Define “Assistant to a Psychologist” (ATAP), “General Professional Supervision”, “Continuous Professional Supervision”, “Supervisor” or “Supervising Psychologist”

Establish minimum criteria for an ATAP to qualify for registration (age, high school diploma, Criminal Background Check).

Establish titles that may be used when identifying ATAP’s. Clarify the boundaries that establish the  legal functional authority of the Supervising Psychologist, and the responsibility that the Supervising  Psychologist has for their clients.

Establish clear criteria to ensure that the Supervising Psychologist is responsible for ALL activities (administratively, clinically, ethically, functionally and legally) of the ATAP including registration,  renewal, directing the provision of psychological services, the outcome of work, the welfare of the  client, general communication and disclosures to clients, services delivered by ATAP’s, and  advertisement.

Define the minimum criteria of general professional supervision (direct, in person) to ensure the  welfare of the client, and the ethical and legal protection of the assistant.

Clarify that a registration is not a property right of the ATAP; shall not be construed to allow the ATAP to independently engage in the practice of psychology; or render any diagnosis; or sign any  evaluations or reports as the provider of record; or independently advertise psychological services; or assign or delegate psychological duties to others;

Define those activities an ATAP may perform with regard to psychological testing/scoring.

Outline the statutory authority of the board to conduct investigations in matters involving the ATAP  and/or their Supervisor; […]

The minutes also included discussion and possible changes in numerous other chapters of the rules  and regulations.

Chapter 3: Training Requirements

Update language for identifying acceptable accrediting bodies for doctoral-level psychology programs. Update standards to ensure training equivalence in the nine profession-wide competencies equivalent to the current American Psychological Association (“APA”) Commission on Accreditation Implementing Regulations. The new APA training requirements include competence in  supervision prior to graduation, which allow the board to eliminate the hurdle of additional  experience post licensure prior to engaging in supervision.

Provide a clause in consideration of individuals trained prior to 2015, that they will be assessed  under the training standards in place at the time of their graduation.

Classify specialty designations into “Health Service Psychology” and “General Applied Psychology”.  Necessary to provide a fair and consistent review of individuals who are graduates of programs  without APA Accreditation; necessary to provide an alternate route to licensure for individuals not trained in a Health Service area of psychology; and necessary to make clear that individuals who  attend graduate programs without internship training do not meet the criteria for practice in a  Health Service area of psychology.

Clarify current training requirements for the registration of a Clinical Neuropsychology specialty consistent with Houston Conference Guidelines; also clarifies those overlapping areas that do not  require the registration of a Clinical Neuropsychology specialty.

Chapter 7: Supervision Requirements –

Provide a definition for “General Professional Supervision” to clarify that which is the direct, in person supervision required as part of training.

Provide a definition for “Continuing Professional Supervision” as ongoing supervision which  establishes the legal and functional responsibility of the licensed psychologist for the client and the services provided to a client by a supervisee.

Clarify that the Supervisor owns or is an employee of the entity employing the supervisee to quantify  legal functional responsibility of the licensed psychologist for the client and the services provided to a client by a supervisee.

Chapter NEW: Telepsychology and Telesupervision

Facilitate the process for a Louisiana Licensed Psychologist to provide psychological services via  telecommunications.

Chapter 8: Continuing Professional Development

Add a requirement that (2) of the 40 hours that are currently required must be within the area of multiculturalism or diversity.

Remove the categorical requirement in consideration of the least restrictive requirements for license  renewal.

Define activities that are “automatically approved” by the Board as Workshops, Conference Workshops/Training Activities that have Board approved sponsors.

Chapter 9: Licenses (Emeritus)

Create a retired status for licensees: “Psychologist Emeritus: Retired”.

Create definitions, criteria and a procedure for requesting the status.

Create a procedure to return to practice.

Provide that “Psychologist Emeritus: Retired” are exempt from Continuing Education requirements.

Provide a procedure and requirements for renewal of a Psychologist Emeritus.

Chapter 15: Complaint Adjudication process – Draft changes were not ready for presentation.

Chapter 19: Public Information (petitions to the board)

Dr. Gibson presented draft amendments to Chapter 19 which establish a procedure for any  interested person to petition the LSBEP to request the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule according to Title 49. Section 953.C(1).

Chapter 40: LSSP CPD Requirements –

Ms. Monic presented previously approved changes to Chapter 40 which will reduce the number of  continuing education hours required for the renewal of a license from 50 to 40 hours.

******
[Editor’s Note: Minutes are available at the board’s website which
include all notes on discussion of new rules.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress Solutions

Stress as a Trigger of Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune diseases are a rare and poorly understood group of diseases, affecting  approximately 5% of Western population. Dr. Betty Diamond defined autoimmune disease in an article in the New England J. of Medicine (2001) as “a clinical syndrome caused by the activation  of T cells or B cells, or both, in the absence of an ongoing infection or other discernible cause.”  Almost all research papers on the topic of etiology start by saying that there is a multifactorial  group of causes, including genetic, hormonal, some environmental and immunological factors.  Despite the known causes, at least 50% of autoimmune diseases can be attributed to “unknown trigger factors.” And, that is where stress as a trigger fits in. Stress can affect immune function  in individual ways. Subjects of many retrospective studies have identified that they experienced  an unusual amount of emotional stress prior to onset of an autoimmune disease.

The bad news is that not only can stress trigger the onset of disease, the autoimmune disease  itself can then cause significant stress in the patient. This sets up a vicious cycle. As the stress  builds up, the major stress hormones are released, in particular, cortisol. The overproduction of cortisol and failure of the nervous system to regularly reduce it leads to immune dysregulation,  which ultimately results in autoimmune disease by the changing of cytokine production.

Cytokines are little proteins that help control the immune system and inflammation response.  Immune dysregulation is when your body can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and the  invaders that should be attacked. In most cases of immune dysregulation, the person is living  with an overactive immune system with joint pain and stiffness.

Since stress is so actively involved as both a trigger and a response to autoimmune disease,  effective treatment of autoimmune disease should thus include stress management and  behavioral intervention to prevent stress-related immune system imbalance. That brings us  back to some thoughts on the role cortisol plays in the autoimmune patient.

Cortisol is essential to the production of steroids. In fact, all steroids are initially derived from cortisol. And, since steroids are often prescribed in the treatment of autoimmune disease, high  levels of cortisol are helpful in reducing the symptoms of autoimmunity. When the levels are  low, however, it is likely to aggravate autoimmune disease symptoms. Addison’s disease is a  rare condition in which your adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol.

Effective treatment of stress in the case of autoimmune disease requires a serious look at the  patient’s life situation in terms of what kind of stressors (psychological, physical, or emotional  stress), how the stress is affecting the body (overproduction or underproduction of stress  hormones), and how that person best reduces daily stress. Then set up a daily routine and  follow it slavishly.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

A Review

by Alvin G. Burstein, PhD

Spring break at the University of Texas at Austin has become the occasion for a conglomeration  of presentations of interactive media, music and films called South by Southwest. Five films  were featured at the 2022 festival. One, Everything Everywhere All At Once, dominated the  awards, winning Best Picture, Best Director (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Best Actress  (Michelle Yeoh), Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Best Screenplay (The “Daniels” again) and Best Indie Film.

I watched the film on Amazon Prime. It’s a wild, wild ride. Over two hours of special effects whipping the viewer through multiple alternate universes of the same set of characters and a complex set of realities threatened by possible total collapse of the entire multi-verse system  being sucked into the black hole of a cosmic everything bagel.

That blend of self-mockery and high style science fiction physics is a heady blend that kept me  engaged for the two-hours plus screening.

The film has three parts. In the first part we meet  Evelyn Wong, who with her husband,  Waymond, run a laundromat struggling with an IRS audit, cultural conflicts with their teenage  daughter, Joy, who wants them to accept her lesbian attachment to a non-oriental partner,  topped off by an impending visitor from China, Evelyn’s highly traditional and very critical father, Cong Gong.

While Waymond and Evelyn are meeting with the IRS auditor,cwho is irritated and impatient  with Evelyn’s disorganized stacks of papers, Waymond’s body is taken over by a visitor, Alpha Waymond, from another universe, called the Alphaverse. He tries to explain to a bewildered  Evelyn that the people of the Alpha universe have developed techniques to jump from one  universe to another. Alpha Evelyn’s daughter, Alpha Joy, driven to excessive verse-jumping by  her mother, now has a splintered mind. She has become Jobu Tupaki and can verse jump and  manipulate physical matter at will. She has also created the everything bagel that has the  potential to destroy the entire multiverse.

Alpha Waymond believes that Evelyn, the least impressive of the many Evelyns in the  multiverse, has the potential to defeat Jobu Tupaki. Alpha Cong Gong urges Evelyn to kill Joy in  order to disable Jobu Tupaki. Evelyn, however, decides that she must verse-jump in order to  acquire the ability to confront Jobu Tupaki directly. In a series of jumps Evelyn battles minions of both Jobu Tupaki and Alpha Cong. When Alpha Waymond is killed by Jobu Tupaki, Evelyn’s mind splinters.

In part 2, Evelyn discovers a variety of strange universes. She finally defeats the minions of both  Alpha Cong Gong and Jobu Tupaki, not with a display of her mastery of martial arts. Recalling an occasion on which Waymond had called for kindness and hope, she defeats her enemies by  empathic openness to the source of their pain, thereby offering them relief.

In part three, we revisit the family in their home universe and find them, not transformed, but  more content.

In one sense, this film feels like a revved up romantic comedy. The characters are more flawed than admirable, and boy loses girl, finds girl. It adds a dollop of L. Frank Baum.  Dorothy, too, wanders into the surreal wonderland of Oz, defeating evil witches, only to learn there’s no place like home

Gov. Edwards Issues Statement on Court Overturning Roe V. Wade

In a June 24 press release, Gov. John Edwards issued a statement about the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling by the United States Supreme Court, which overturned  Roe v. Wade.

Gov. Edwards said, “I am and have always been unabashedly pro-life and opposed to abortion. However, I understand that people on both sides of this complex issue hold deeply personal  beliefs, and I respect that not everyone, including many in my own party, agrees with my position.

“While we are still reviewing the decision issued by the Court this morning, Louisiana has had a  trigger law in place since 2006 that would outlaw abortion, without exception for rape and  incest, should the United States Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I asked the Legislature to include exceptions for rape and incest in the legislation most recently passed. While the bill that passed expanded the exceptions from the 2006 law to include  instances of medical futility and treatment of ectopic pregnancies, these important exceptions  were not included.

“As I have said many times before, I believe women who are survivors of rape or incest should  be able determine whether to continue with a pregnancy that is the result of a criminal act.

“And, to be clear, the legislation I recently signed protects all forms of contraception, including emergency contraception, which remains fully legal and available in Louisiana.

“Being pro-life  means more than just being against abortion. It means providing the necessary resources and implementing policies that provide real options and not just lip service to the children, women,  and families we are blessed to serve. Now more than ever, it’s critical that Louisiana funds  services to support women, children, and families throughout their lives, which is why I have  expanded health care through our Medicaid program and lobbied for measures to make sure workers are paid better and more fairly. It’s also why I’ve supported better funding for  Louisiana’s public education system, including early childhood education. I believe all people  should have the opportunity to succeed and that starts with providing a strong foundation early in life.

“Make no mistake, there is much more that we can do to support women, children, and families, and I hope that my fellow pro-life public officials will join me in these efforts in the  coming months and years.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Auditors Review Strengths, Weaknesses of State Psychology Board

A performance audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditors Office has found problems in the  complaints process of the state Psychology Board. The audit, led by Ms. Emily Dixon, Performance Audit Manager, and begun in August 2021, examined the Board’s processes for  licensing, monitoring, and enforcement. The performance of the board was compared to the requirements set forth in the Psychology Practice Act, and found to be in compliance with “most best practices.”

However, the auditors found numerous problems with the complaints committee performance. They said that the average time for resolving a complaint was 338 days and that the Board had  no internal time frames for accomplishing its investigations. The auditors also stated that the  board had no “disciplinary matrix,” and no way to track the nature and outcomes of complaints  or to analyze the data. They also found numerous errors, inconsistencies, and lack of follow up.

The auditors sampled internal documents from fiscal years 2019 through 2021. During this  three year time, LSBEP received 71 complaints and closed 63 of these complaints. Eight, or 12.7%, resulted in a public, disciplinary action. There was one, non-public, impaired psychologist procedure and 11 Letters of Education, also nonpublic. According to this data, 43 of the cases  were dismissed with no action. A total of 85.7% were either dismissed or received a letter with  educational information.

The auditors found that the board required an average of 338 days to resolve a complaint. The  time ranged from eleven days to more than three years. Eight (12.7%) of the 63 complaints took more than two years to resolve, and an additional 13 (20.6%) of the complaints took more than  one year to resolve.

” […] LSBEP has not established internal timeframes for resolving complaints, and its process for tracking complaints does not record accurate and complete information. As a result, the Board  cannot ensure that it is investigating and resolving complaints in a timely manner,” they said.

The auditors found that LSBEP’s process for tracking complaints included inaccuracies and inconsistencies.

“LSBEP tracks complaint information in a spreadsheet, an investigation log, and a complaints  log. However, we compared these three documents to each other and to LSBEP’s paper  complaint files and Board meeting minutes that contain complaint outcomes, and found that  none of the tracking documents were accurate or complete. For instance, the spreadsheet did  not include all complaints, incorrectly listed some closed complaints as open, and did not  include all instances of disciplinary action.

“[…] we found that three Letters of Education were sent to the licensees more than five months  after the Board voted to send them.” And, “… we identified five complaints that LSBEP did not ensure were fully closed. These five complaints included one licensee who was never sent a Letter of Education that the Board voted to send in June 2019 about mandatory reporting of  abuse.” The auditors sound that four complaints were never presented to the Board for closure.”

The auditors also found that “LSBEP has not adopted a disciplinary matrix that aligns with  regulatory best practices to ensure that disciplinary actions are consistent and appropriately  escalated based on the number and/or severity of violations.”

 The auditors found the following categories and percentages of allegations. (See Audit Exhibit below.) The most frequent category of 25% came in from allegations of “Substandard Care,  Negligence, or Malpractice.” This was followed by 20% for “Unprofessional Conduct, Discrimination, or Rude Treatment.” Next was “Failure to Maintain or Provide Accurate Patient  Records” at 16%, “Multiple Relationships or Conflict of Interest,” and ‘Practice Without  License, Misrepresentation of Credentials, or Practice Outside of Scope,” both at 14% of allegations.

The auditors noted, “According to LSBEP, staff create separate spreadsheets to track the compliance of each disciplined licensee and use calendar reminders for monitoring specific  activities.

“However, these processes are not formalized in policy and staff have not followed them consistently. In addition, the Board does not have a process for systematically and periodically  monitoring whether all disciplined licensees have performed required corrective actions,  reimbursed disciplinary costs as ordered, and continue to comply with ongoing Board restrictions.”

The auditors noted that, “LSBEP did not report four (44.4%) of the nine adverse actions it issued during fiscal years 2019 through 2021 to the NPDB in accordance with federal law.”

The auditors recommended that the Psychology Board require all licensees to undergo a background check, Instead of just new licensees. And, they recommended that the Board query  the National Practitioner Data Base for enforcement information when making license decisions and for continuous monitoring.

The auditors also indicated that the Legislature may want to authorize the Psychology Board to  impose fines for discipline and administrative noncompliance.

In a response, the Board agreed with all the auditors’ recommendations. Specifically, they  agreed to “… establish a system where complaints are prioritized and investigated on a case-by- case basis considering risk to the public in accordance with the Audit, the Act, LAPA, and other  applicable law and oversight. This system will ensure complaints are processed within reasonable time periods, factoring in the complexity of the case. These procedures are  currently in practice, but not explicitly stated in policy. Additionally, the board has recently hired two full-time employees including in-house counsel whose primary focus is on the complaint  adjudication process. Timeframes for internal monitoring will be determined to ensure compliance.”

The Board agreed to “… establishing a process for tracking complaints that includes  documenting the status, nature, and outcome of all complaints; periodically reviewing open  complaints; and regularly analyzing complaint data to assess compliance with agency policy and identify opportunities for improvement. Over the past 3 years, the board has worked to  improve financial stability in order to employ staff who can develop these processes understanding that this is vital to operations and best practice.”

The 37-page report is available online at https://app.lla.state.la.us/publicreports.nsf/0/dd11af03beda7797862588540052a678/$file/0002f3.pdf?openelement&.7773098

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Announces “Internet for All” Initiative Jointly with NTIA

Along with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information  Administration (NTIA), Governor Edwards announced that Louisiana will participate in the  “Internet for All” initiative, a program designed to provide high-speed internet for all Americans at an affordable cost. The initiative, which will build internet infrastructure, provide pertinent  technology, and teach digital skills to community members, will invest $65 billion in the project  and will be funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Partnering with Commerce/NTIA will allow Louisiana to achieve what we thought was  impossible. We will now have the financial resources necessary to once and for all eliminate the  digital divide in Louisiana. We are grateful to both Secretary Raimondo and Assistant Secretary Davidson of NTIA for their leadership and partnership. Over the past several years, our Broadband Office (ConnectLa) has worked hard to align resources between federal, state, and  local officials to take full advantage of this historic broadband funding opportunity. We look forward to partnering with the people of Louisiana to make closing the divide a reality,” said  Gov. Edwards.

Louisiana plans to invest $5 million in planning funds, and each state will be awarded support  from dedicated NTIA staff to catalyze and complete the project. Each participating state will  receive at least $100 million in funds to help implement the scope of the project.

“Generations before us brought electricity to rural America and built the interstate highways,”  said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Our generation’s task is to connect all Americans online. […]”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lin Named 2022 Janet Matthews, PhD, Outstanding Psychology Mentor

Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, Professor of Psychology at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, has been  named by the Louisiana Psychological Association as the 2022 Janet R. Matthews, PhD, Outstanding Psychology Mentor.

“This award recognizes and honors Dr. Janet R. Matthews for her lifetime of mentoring work  and the impact she had on psychologists in Louisiana,” said Dr. Amanda Raines, spokesperson  for the Louisiana Psychological Association, at the group’s spring convention.

Dr. Raines announced that the Association was honoring Dr. Lin for 2022. “Her dedication to  supporting, encouraging, and guiding undergraduate and master’s level psychology students is  truly remarkable,” said Dr. Raines.

“Each semester, she mentors an average of 15 undergraduate and graduate students in her  lab,” said Raines. “Students not only learn critical thinking skills but how to design sound  research studies, test hypotheses, and communicate findings. In the classroom, Dr. Lin creates  a space that is welcoming and accessible for those with learning disabilities and/or non- conforming identities. She further assists students who are facing financial hardships or  experiencing psychological distress. In summary, she provides essential, foundational  experiences, through her research and teaching, to facilitate the growth and development of  her students.”

As well as a professor at University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) Dr. Lin is also the Chair of the  Institutional Review Board and she holds the endowed SLEMCO/LEQSF Regents Professor in  Liberal Arts.

Her research focus includes the development of emotions, parenting, attachment relationships, and developmental disabilities. She runs the Developmental Science Laboratory (DSL), which  takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine the complexity of adjusted and maladjusted developmental processes.

She is a Sponsored Collaborator with The Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Laboratory at Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical  School. Among her other collaborators are the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and  Lifelong Learning, College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences, Clemson University, and the Cognitive Science of Language & Education Lab, Department of Psychological Science, the  University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Dr. Lin earned her doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Connecticut  and it is a board certified specialist of academic pediatric dentistry in Taiwan and holds a DDS  degree from the school of dentistry in the national Taiwan University.

Also this year the ULL Graduate School selected Dr. Lin as the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Master’s Mentor Award.

In ULL News, Dr. Amy Brown, department head for Psychology, said, “She is very supportive of  the professional development of her master’s students: encouraging them to apply for grants  and awards, and to present research at conferences. In interacting with graduate students, Dr.  Lin is warm and supportive, but also holds high standards—she expects hard work and improvement, and creates an environment where students feel empowered to work hard and succeed.”

Dr. Lin directs the Developmental Science Laboratory (DSL) where interested faculty and  students take an interdisciplinary approach to studying The complexity of adjusted and  maladjusted developmental processes. The DSL projects include:

•The long-term physical and mental sequelae of adverse childhood experiences.
•The relation between adverse childhood experiences and sexual self-esteem.
•Mindfulness and resilience as protective factors for individuals with childhood trauma.
•Social stigma (explicit and implicit) towards individuals with developmental disabilities/LGBTQ populations.
•Perceived parental behaviors, relational identity, and internal working models.
•The development of empathy and understanding of theory of mind.
•Using simulation paradigms to observe emotional responses and physiological arousal.
•Interpersonal problems, emotional regulation, and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Lin said to ULL News, “No words can express how rewarding and fulfilling it is to grow along  with my research children academically, professionally, and personally,” Lin said. “I’m grateful to play a role in these students’ lives as they pursue their academic and personal development.

“As a mentor, I constantly question and examine my preconceived assumptions and beliefs  about mentees and strive for bias-free mentoring. By actively listening and discerning, I convey  my unconditional respect and emphatic care with affirmation, understanding, and acceptance.”

What does she believe are the most important characteristics that have supported her in being  such a successful mentor?

“Being grateful to play a role in these students’ lives as they pursue their academic and  personal development,” said Dr. Lin. “Being unconditionally respectful to individual differences  in students’ competencies, learning styles, communication patterns, and personality qualities. Being clear when setting goals and expectations for their works while maintaining flexibility to tackle with unexpected events.”

What are some of the most enjoyable experiences she has had as a mentor to her students? “To grow academically and personally together with them,” Lin said.

Dr. Lin sets out her methods and philosophy in her Mentorship Statement, including:

“Unconditional respect for individual differences. Mentees come from various racial/ethnic and sociocultural backgrounds. Every one of them displays distinctive approaches to learning and  dispositional characteristics when tackling challenges or stressful situations. As a mentor, I constantly question and examine my preconceived assumptions and beliefs about mentees and strive for bias-free mentoring. By actively listening and discerning, I convey my unconditional  respect and empathic care with affirmation, understanding, and acceptance. At the core, each  mentee is a unique individual; thus, my mentoring is tailored to the uniqueness of the  individual’s needs to maximize the mentee’s academic progress and personal growth.

“Mentoring is like parenting. It was at the end of a departmental award ceremony a couple of  years ago when one of my mentees (who was recognized as the outstanding graduate for that  academic term) introduced me to her mother, ‘Mom, I’d like you to meet my research momma!’  Feeling tremendously touched and proud, I regarded this title of research momma beautifully  represented my relationships with my mentees.”

UUL News reported that Madeline Jones, master’s candidate in psychology, describes Dr. Lin as  “an amazing mentor” who “has given me strength and confidence throughout my time in this  program. I would describe my relationship with Dr. Lin as one filled with mutual respect,  kindness, communication, support, and positivity. I attribute my success as a graduate student to her qualities as a mentor, especially her resourcefulness, efficiency, and determination.”

Five of Dr. Lin’s researchers have been accepted to various doctoral programs around the  country. Madison Holmes has been accepted to the PsyD program at Mercer University.  Maddison Knott has been accepted to the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Southern  Mississippi University. Lindsey Held has been accepted to the doctoral program in experimental psychology with a concentration on developmental psychology at the University of Alabama.  Kylie Garger has been accepted to the doctoral program in developmental psychology at the  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Michelle Grisham has been accepted to the doctoral  program in developmental psychology at the Northern Illinois University.

Reviewed publications with student coauthors include:

Lin, H.-C., & Janice, J. (2020). Disengagement is as revealing as prosocial action for young children’s responding to strangers in distress: How personal distress and empathic concern come into play. International Journal of Behavioral Development;

Flynn, N. S., Harrington, J. H., Knott, K. M., & Lin, H.-C. (2020). Job satisfaction in direct support professionals: Associations with self-efficacy and perspective-taking. Societies;

Lin, H.-C., Bourque, J., Zeanah, P., & McFatter, R. (2018). Perceptions of stress and enrichment in  caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for community support. Societies.;

Conference Presentations with Student Coauthors (All Peer Reviewed) include:

Lin, H.-C., Held, L., & Malley, K. The Associations between adverse childhood experiences,  emotion regulation, and adult distress symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to be presented at  the 2019 International Convention of Psychological Science, March, 7-9, 2019, Paris, France.

Lin, H.-C., McDermott, M., Zeanah, P., & Held, L. (2019, March). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the association between childhood trauma and somatic symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to
be presented at the 2019 SRCD Biennial Meeting, March 21-23, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland,  USA.

Lin, H.-C., Knott, M., LaHaye, L., Flynn, S., Stringfellow, S. Latiolais, B., & Holmes, M. (2019, May).  Difficulty in emotion regulation exacerbates the association of adverse childhood experiences with depressive symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to the 31st Convention of the Association  for Psychological Science, May 23-26, 2019, Washington D.C., USA.

Lin, H.-C., Hughes, A., Held, L., Malley, K., Kinsland, M., & Barker, N. (2019, May). The role of  difficulty in emotion regulation in the association of adverse childhood experiences with  attachment insecurity. Poster proposal accepted to the 31st Convention of the Association for  Psychological Science, May 23-26, 2019, Washington D.C., USA.

How did she make the shift from dentistry to psychology?

“Indeed, I have a degree in Doctor of Dental science (DDS). My certified specialty is Pediatric  Dentistry. I had worked at the National Taiwan University Hospital for 10 years,” Dr. Lin said. “A  large part of my work as a pediatric dentist involved behavioral management to help my child  patients comply to and gain positive experiences from dental procedures. I also observed many teenagers suffering from myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome. I became increasingly  interested in behavioral sciences and the intricate connections between mind and body to an  extent that I made a big career change and came to the US to study developmental psychology.  I miss practicing in dentistry (I enjoyed it so much), but I also have been extremely happy with  what I am doing now as a researcher and a teacher. Psychology is such an exciting field that  keeps amazing me,” Dr. Lin said.