Category Archives: Front Page Story

Effort to Ban Medical Procedures for Trans Minors Rebounds, then Vetoed


In a clash of ideologies, and after going through several gyrations to resurrect HB 648, Rep. Gabe Firment’s effort to ban surgery and hormone blockers for trans minors was vetoed by Gov. Edwards on June 30.

The measure was presumed dead after the Senate Health and Welfare Committee tabled it in a May, tie-breaker vote. The committee chair, Senator Fred Mills, who is a Republican, broke the tie and voted with the Democrat opposition to defer the bill.

But then on June 1, the Senate voted to suspend its rules and recalled the bill from committee, a rare, technical maneuver used when bills have been assigned to the wrong committee. The measure was reassigned to Senate Judiciary A, and a special review of the bill was scheduled for June 2.

The committee for Judiciary A approved the bill and the Senate passed it with amendments by a vote of 29 to 10. It was then returned to the House and the amended version passed 75 to 25. It was sent to the Governor on June 8 for executive approval.

However, in a long and detailed critique, Gov. Edwards vetoed the measure, writing, “This bill is entitled the ‘Stop Harming Our Kids Act,’ which is ironic because that is precisely what it does. This bill denies healthcare to a very small, unique, and vulnerable group of children. It forces children currently stabilized on medication to treat a legitimate healthcare diagnosis to stop taking it. It threatens the professional licensure of the limited number of specialists who treat the healthcare needs of these children. It takes away parental rights to work with a physician to make important healthcare decisions for children experiencing a gender crisis that could quite literally save their lives. And, without doubt, it is part of a targeted assault on children that the bill itself deems not ‘normal,’ “[…]

“According to the March 2023 Louisiana Department of Health’s Study on Gender Reassignment Procedures on Minors, from 2017 – 2021 there were zero gender reassignment surgical procedures performed on children in Louisiana, zero. The proponents
of this bill suggest that it is necessary to stop physicians from mutilating our children by
performing gruesome sex change surgeries. This is simply not happening in Louisiana,” he

“The Gender Reassignment report further showed that the entire issue of gender reassignment impacts a very small subset of the population. In 2021, of 794,779 children enrolled in Medicaid only 465 were diagnosed by a healthcare provider with gender dysphoria, and of those only 57 were ultimately considered candidates for puberty blockers or hormone replacements,” the Gov. wrote.

During the Senate Health and Welfare Committee hearing, Clinical psychologist, Dr. Clifton
Mixon, was among those who testified in opposition to HB 648.

“I work in a gender clinic that prescribes hormone therapies to youth,” he said. “At the heart of this debate is mistrust in our medical and mental health providers to provide ethical, individualized care without prejudice and based on best practices and established research,” Mixon said. “I’m here to address these concerns in opposition to a mean-spirited bill that defies science and humanity.

“The evidence is clear––gender affirming medical interventions are safe and effective treatment for gender dysphoria and resulting mental health problems for many trans youth. Unfortunately, you’ve been exposed to false information that misrepresents the established research and practice guidelines on gender health care medicine. I am here with actual studies that can help you understand the actual facts. I have a doctoral degree with training in how to conduct and interpret research,” he said.

Psychologist, Dr. Jesse Lambert, also testified in opposition, representing the Louisiana
Psychological Association.

The clashing world views of the individuals supporting and those opposing the bill included both sides claiming that they had the more valid research and that the other side’s research was flawed.

Dr. Quenton Vanmeter, a pediatric endocrinologist from Atlanta, Georgia, cited evidence from European countries that suggests that there is no benefit in transgender surgery or hormonal treatment and that the suicide rate is not impacted.

Dr. Stephen Félix, a pediatrician, said, “The problem with the studies that the AEP reports and others, they do not have significant randomized control trials. They have small sample sizes, they have poor follow up, they have a lot of people lost to follow up, they have individuals who they have a very short period of time that they follow them,…” he said.

In concluding his veto letter, Gov. Edwards wrote, “I believe that this bill violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because it targets and limits healthcare to transgender children that remain available to “normal” children. And finally, I believe that time will show that this veto was not just an exercise in compassion and respect for transgender children and their parents, but it was also the only legally responsible action to take because it is what is constitutionally required of me to do to uphold my oath of office as governor.”



Dr. Paula Zeanah Named 2023 Distinguished Psychologist by LPA


Dr. Paula Zeanah, who has worked as a pediatric nurse and clinical psychologist in
a variety of settings, serving children and their families for more than 40 years, has been named the 2023 Distinguished Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association (LPA).

Spokesperson for the LPA Awards Committee, Dr. Amanda Raines said, “Dr. Zeanah is the Lafayette General Medical Center/Our Lady of Lourdes Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Nursing and Professor of Nursing at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. She has over 200 peerreviewed publications and presentations and has served as the PI on over a dozen grant-funded projects,” Raines said.

“Dr. Zeanah has a long-standing role as a teacher, trainer, and supervisor at various academic institutions and medical centers and frequently serves as an advisor and consultant on numerous state, national, and international partnerships. Further, she frequently gives back to the field by serving as a committee member of various university and department organization and, most recently, as our esteemed president of LPA,” said Raines.

Dr. Zeanah serves as the Research Director at the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development & Lifelong Learning at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her expertise includes physical and mental health; perinatal, infant, and early childhood mental health; adolescent and early adulthood sexuality; and chronic illness in children and adolescents.

She has served as Associate and Full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and  Behavioral Sciences at Tulane School of Medicine from 1998 to 2015. Before becoming a psychologist, Dr. Zeanah worked in a variety of primary care and tertiary health care settings as a pediatric nurse, educator, and administrator.

“I am deeply honored and proud to be identified as a distinguished psychologist, Dr. Zeanah told the Times. “And, given that Louisiana benefits from the contributions of many deserving psychologists, I am also quite humbled,” she added.

“As a young professional, my work/career was important to me,” Dr. Zeanah said. “But other than 11 years of pursuing education in nursing and psychology, I did not envision a specific endpoint. I have had opportunities that enabled me to integrate nursing and psychology in ways that have been gratifying and are still interesting to me!” she said.

“For example, my dissertation, the development of a measure of sexual self-esteem for women, evolved from my experiences working as a pediatric nurse practitioner with vulnerable teenagers for whom sexuality was insufficiently addressed. The measure has been used in studies examining various aspects of sexuality in many countries around the world—that’s cool! I believe being a nurse and a clinical psychologist has given me a certain credibility when focusing on the interface of health and mental health,” Dr. Zeanah said.

She has held many positions over the years, including:

Advisory Committee, New Families: Innovation and Development of the Child Health Services in Oslo, Norway; a collaborative project, City of Oslo and University of Oslo, 2021- 2022;

Consultant, Development of Culture of Wellness Framework for Nurse Family Partnership, National Service Office, Denver, CO, 2021;

Consultant, Supporting the Child to Thrive course development, Nurse Family Partnership, National Service Office, 2020-2021;

Advisory Group, Promoting Mental Health in NFP Educational Development (PI: L. Beeber, UNC). A project of the national NFP/University of Colorado Prevention Research Center for
Family and Child Health, under the direction of D. Olds, 2012-2021; and

Innovations Advisory Committee, Mental Health Subcommittee Nurse Family Partnership, Denver, Colorado, 2017-2019.

Dr. Zeanah went on to say, “Today, that’s a huge focus of psychology, but it was not always so. I’ve been lucky to hold positions that allowed me to work ‘inter-professionally’ in
nursing, psychology, and public health, which has been exciting, fun, and enabled the development of innovative strategies to address the mental health needs of vulnerable populations including pregnant women, infants, young children, and chronically ill children and families. Currently, I am collaborating with colleagues to increase attention to ethical dilemmas in the multidisciplinary field of infant mental health.”

Dr. Zeanah further explained, “Compelling research on the importance of early experience for brain development and later health and social functioning means the needs of infants are better recognized and prioritized-yet sometimes what is beneficial to the infant may be harmful or hurtful to the parent/caregiver, and vice-versa. Figuring out how to make
appropriate clinical decisions, within the contexts of limited resources, social and cultural pressures, and personal and professional values is the challenge. Any achievements have
not occurred in a vacuum—I’ve greatly benefitted from working in some of the country’s best medical centers and universities, having inspiring and encouraging colleagues, and of course, the unwavering support of my husband, family, and friends.”

Her numerous publications include:

Zeanah, P., Korfmacher, J., Lim, I. & Zeanah, C. (in press). Introduction to special section: Doing the ‘right’ thing: Ethical issues in infant and early childhood mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal;

Zeanah, P., Steier, A., Lim, I., Korfmacher, J., & Zeanah, C. (in press). Current approaches and future directions for addressing ethics in infant and early childhood mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal;

Lim, I., Korfmacher, J. Steier, A., Zeanah, C. & Zeanah, P. (2023). The ethics of infant and early childhood mental health practice. Infant Mental Health Journal;

Zeanah, C.H., Korfmacher, J., Lim, I., Steier, A., & Zeanah, P. (2023). Ethical dilemmas in infant mental health: Examples from child protection, home visiting, and medical contexts. Infant Mental Health Journal; and

Beeber, L., Gasbarro, M., Knudtson, M., Ledford, A., Sprinkle, S., Leeman, J., McMichael, G., Zeanah, P., Mosqueda, A. (under review). A mental health innovation for nurse home
visiting program shows effectiveness in reducing depressive symptoms, Prevention Science.

The American Academy of Nursing added her to its 2021 Class of Fellows. Dr. Zeanah was the only Fellow from Louisiana selected for the 2021 class. “The Academy’s Fellows embody our values of equity, diversity and inclusivity, inquiry, integrity, and courage, which enable us to achieve new heights of impact that advance health policy across the globe,” noted Dr. Eileen Sullivan-Marx, the organization’s president. Dr. Zeanah joins an elite group that now comprises more than 2,900 experts in policy, research, administration, practice, and academia who champion health and wellness.

“Nursing is a profession that values and relies upon research to inform practice,” Dr. Zeanah explained. “There’s never been more expertise in the field, or as comprehensive a commitment to health and wellness, which makes it an exceptionally good time to be a nurse.”

Dr. Zeanah’s grants, contracts, and development activities include:

Zeanah, P. (PI; Co-PI’s L. Asare, C. Suire). Clinical Decision-Making in Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting: Does implicit Bias Play a Role? New Horizons Grant, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, $18,690 February 2023-January 2024;

Zeanah, P. (PI). The Culture of Nurse Wellness in the Nurse-Family Partnership, Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office, $7840.00, March –September 2021. The purpose of this contract was to develop wellness education and resources for the national Nurse-Family Partnership program; and

Zeanah, P. (Local PI, Co-Investigator; L. Beeber, UNC, PI). Mental Health Integration to Nurse- Family Partnership, Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation, $74,188, January 2018-July 2021. Supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of the maternal mental health educational program for the national Nurse Family Partnership program.

Dr. Zeanah told the Times, “I truly appreciate the opportunities I’ve had through the years as a member of LPA to meet and work with so many strong psychologists, and to learn and grow professionally. This past year, I had the honor to serve as LPA’s President. More than ever, I am impressed by the myriad ways Louisiana psychologists are ‘advancing psychology as a science, as a profession, and as means of promoting human welfare.’ ”

What does she hope to accomplish in the future? “Sometimes I laugh about wanting to be a People’s Health Champion,” Dr. Zeanah said. “I’ve always been so impressed and energized by the accomplishments of those over 65! But truthfully, I do not have a list of specific things I want to accomplish. I do want to stay involved and to be useful—by that I mean I want to continue to contribute in meaningful ways to our profession through clinical service, scholarly activities, and involvement in professional activities,” she said.

“With a healthy balance of spending more time with my most important accomplishments—my children and grandchildren!” 

Ψ We Remember Dr. John Bolter

Dr. John F. Bolter died May 10, 2023, at the age of 72. He suffered
from Alzheimer’s disease.

A respected Clinical Neuropsychologist and Medical Psychologist, Dr. Bolter served as the Director of the Department of Clinical Neuropsychology at The NeuroMedical Center in Baton Rouge. He was one of the leaders of the movement to provide specially trained psychologists with “prescriptive authority” also called RxP. In 2004, he helped accomplish what many believed was an almost impossible achievement––the political maneuvering that gave Louisiana medical psychologists the right to prescribe medication, and the state psychology board the right to regulate that authority.

Dr. Bolter earned the distinction of being the first civilian psychologist in the United States to write a prescription for medication to treat emotional and behavioral health disorders. He was also a key figure in the education efforts of medical psychologists having developed a psychopharmacology education program for postdoctoral psychologists in 1998. He served as Senior Lecturer for the International Psychopharmacology Program, Alliant University, College of Professional Psychology, San Francisco, California.

Fellow medical and neuropsychologist, Dr. Darlyne Nemeth wrote, “Dr. John Bolter was a kind, loving, and multi-talented pioneer who changed the course of psychology forever. Along with Dr. James Quillin and their amazing colleagues, this small group of individuals sought to obtain prescription privileges for Louisiana Psychologists. Over many years, political forays, and monetary efforts, John, “Q,” and company prevailed. I was privileged to play a small part. John orchestrated that process,” she said, and “wrote the first prescription. Throughout, John remained a humble, soft-spoken man who never lost sight of the goal.”

In 2009, Dr. Bolter was part of a second and successful effort to give medical psychologists more autonomy by moving them under the medical board, known as Act 251. While controversial, the move was praised by many as a way of accelerating medical psychologists’ independent practice.

Dr. Warren Lowe, a colleague and also a leader in the medical psychologist community, wrote, “Medical psychologists stand on the shoulders of giants, none greater in stature than John Bolter and Jim Quillin. John was a visionary. His curriculum for post doctoral training in psychopharmacology has become the standard for universities across the country,” he said.

“John was intelligent, kind, and considerate, always willing to help a colleague. It was not his style to place himself in the limelight. What a privilege it has been for us to know him and to benefit from his counsel, wisdom, encouragement and determination. What a gift he has left us. God bless him,” Dr. Lowe said.

Dr. Bolter received multiple awards for his service to the field. In 2004 he and colleagues were named with the Karl F. Heiser APA Presidential Award for Advocacy, an award honoring those psychologists who have given voluntarily of their time to define the discipline of psychology statutorily by state and federal laws through advocacy.

His efforts were also recognized by the American Psychological Association Division 55’s Leadership Award and the Special Recognition Award in Leadership by Louisiana Academy of Medical Psychologists.

During his extensive career he served as Consulting Neuropsychologist at the Sage Rehabilitation Hospital, the NeuroMedical Center Surgical Hospital, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, the Medical Center of Baton Rouge, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, and the South Louisiana Rehabilitation Hospital and Outpatient Center.

He was a Medical Expert Witness for the Office of Hearing and Approvals, Department of Health and Human Services, and Social Security Administration. He was Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Family Medicine, Louisiana State University Medical Center, in Baton Rouge,

Dr. Joseph Comaty, colleague and medical psychologist, wrote for the Tributes Page, “I have so many memories of John there is too little space to share them. My memories of John are as a dynamic individual who was thoroughly engaged with his patients, his profession, his family, and his colleagues. You could not help feeling energized anytime you were in his company,” he said.

“I was fortunate to be in the first cohort of psychologists who trained to be prescribing psychologists in Louisiana and had the opportunity to observe first-hand John’s brilliance in the areas of clinical psychopharmacology, politics, academics, professional regulation, and organization. I remember our first class of instruction enroute to our MSCP degree. It was Neuroscience taught by John and two other colleagues. John was clearly one of the most intellectual thinkers I have known,” he said. “His service to his country and his profession will be honored continuously.”

Dr. Bolter was a member of the International Neuropsychology Society, National Academy of Neuropsychology American Psychological Association, APA Divisions 55 (Psychopharmacology), 40 (Neuropsychology), and 42 (Independent Practice). He was also a member of the Louisiana Psychological Association, the Southeastern Psychological Association, the Louisiana Academy of Medical Psychologists, and the Academy of Medical Psychology.

He served as President of Louisiana Psychological Association and as Treasurer of Louisiana Academy of Medical Psychologists. He served on the Advisory Council of Spinal Cord and Head Injury Trust Fund of  Louisiana, on the APA Psychopharmacology Task Force, and on the APA Model Practice Act Committee.

He served twice on the Board of Examiners of Psychologists, in 1995 as well as in 2007. 

Mr. Lloyd Lunceford, posting a Tribute, wrote, “As legal counsel for the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychology for twenty years, I had many occasions to work with dozens of outstanding board members — and John stood out as the best of the best. He was wise, kind, conscientious, hardworking, articulate, gracious, and humble. He was  devoted to his profession and to protecting the public health, a trusted leader who had the respect of his peers. I was blessed to know him, and will miss him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Throughout his long career Dr. Bolter assessed and treated thousands of people and published widely in the areas of brain trauma, seizure disorder, and dementia.

Just a few examples include: “The Relationship Between an Alternative Scoring System for the Halstead Category Test and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test,” in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology; “Item Error Frequencies for the Halstead Category Test: A Cross Validation Study for a Performance Validity Check,” in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology; “Frequency of occurrence of WAIS dementia profile in head trauma patient,” in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology; “Epilepsy in Children:  Neuropsychological Effects,” in J. E. Orbzut & G. W. Hynd (Eds.), Child  Neuropsychology Vol. II. Clinical Practice; and “Lateralized Cerebral Dysfunction in Early and Late Stage Alcoholics,” in Journal of Studies on Alcohol, and he published the “Multidigit Memory Test,” through Wang Neuropsychological Laboratories.

“We all knew Dr. Bolter as a pioneer in many areas of Psychology/Neuropsychology/Medical Psychology,” wrote a fellow  Neuropsychologist, “but I also wanted to share his pioneering efforts in the nascent development of embedded validity indicators in the 1980s (way before this was a regular thing in forensic neuropsychology).” Dr. Bolter and colleagues made use of embedded validity indicators to identify 18 items rarely missed by neurological patients, resulting in the “Bolter items.”

Dr. John Bolter made it a practice to train and share his information with others. He presented over 75 professional workshops, seminars and talks. Examples include: “PEP Review Course, Neurology and Neuroscience, Differential Diagnosis, and Integrating Psychopharmacology into Clinical Practice,” for The American Society for the Advancement of  Pharmacotherapy Mid-Winter Meeting, San Diego, California; “Workshop: Essential Laboratory Tests with Psychotropic Medications.,” for the Louisiana Academy of Medical Psychologists Semi-Annual Meeting, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Symposium Chair: “From Law to Practice, Prescription Privileges in Louisiana,” for American Psychological Association Annual  Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana; “Rosecrans SEPA Invited Address:  Prescribing Activities of A Medical Psychologist,” for South Eastern  Psychological Association Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana; and “Workshop: A Review of Antidepressant Psychopharmacology,” for the Mississippi Psychological Annual Meeting, Biloxi, Mississippi.

A native of San Francisco, and longtime resident of Baton Rouge, he was born in 1950 in San Francisco, California, to Oila Larsen Bolter and Bernard John Bolter. He was a Vietnam era veteran, serving as a corpsman for the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1974, at Balboa Hospital in San Diego, California and on the USS Ticonderoga. He served in the Army Reserves until 2001, at the rank of Major.

He attended the University of California, Berkeley where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with a BA degree in psychology. He obtained a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of the Pacific, and his PhD in clinical and neuropsychology from University of Memphis in 1983. He reentered the military for his clinical neuropsychology internship at Walter Reed Army Hospital in 1983. He obtained a postdoctoral Master’s degree in psychopharmacology in 1999.

His family noted that his “side gig” was as a drummer for the classic rock band Blu Rouge. He is survived by his wife Dr. Brenda L. Dawson, also a psychologist, currently in Wilmington, NC, his son Brian John Bolter (Lisa) and grandchildren Bailey and Barrett Bolter, Annapolis, MD, and his daughter Caroline Janice Bolter, Culver City, CA. Also surviving him are his brothers George B. Bolter (Barbara) in Janesville, WI, Bernard J. Bolter (Kay) in San Francisco, CA and James A. Bolter (Susan) also in San Francisco, CA. He was preceded in death by his infant son Patrick John Bolter, his parents and his stepparents.







Effort to Ban Medical Procedures for Trans Minors Fails in Committee

In an exciting tie-breaker vote, the Senate Health and Welfare Committe tabled a bill which would have prohibited surgical and hormonal sex change procedures for miners. The committee chair, Senator Fred Mills, broke the tie and voted with the opposition to defer the bill.

Authored by Representative Michael Firment, the measure had passed the House, 71 to 24, after being heavily amended and substituted in committee. The Senate Committee vote was a tie at 4 to 4, splitting down party lines. The chair, a Republican, Senator Mills acknowledged his vote would break the tie.

He said, “It comes down to me. I’m going to make a statement then. I guess I’ve always in my heart of hearts, I believe that a decision should be made by a patient and a physician. I believe in the physicians in Louisiana. I believe the people that are licensed by the Board of Medical Examiners are well regulated. I believe in the scope of practice. I believe in the standard of care.” […] “So because of that, I do believe in opposition, and I believe in the right of a family to choose what’s best for them. I vote yes.”

During the hearing, Clinical psychologist, Dr. Clifton Mixson, was among those who testified in opposition to HB 648.

“I work in a gender clinic that prescribes hormone therapies to youth,” he said. “At the heart of this debate is mistrust in our medical and mental health providers to provide ethical, individualized care without prejudice and based on best practices and established research,” Mixon said. “I’m here to address these concerns in opposition to a mean-spirited bill that defies science and humanity.

“The evidence is clear––gender affirming medical interventions are safe and effective treatment for gender dysphoria and resulting mental health problems for many trans youth. Unfortunately, you’ve been exposed to false information that misrepresents the established research and practice guidelines on gender health care medicine. I am here with actual studies that can help you understand the actual facts. I have a doctoral degree with training in how to conduct and interpret research,” he said.

“These medical interventions reduce risk for suicide and improve overall mental health functioning and quality of life. We are not providing access to youth for whom it is not appropriate.”

He noted the success rate is high; high rates of treatment satisfaction and low rates of regret less than 1%. And he pointed out 20 position statements for major medical and mental health organizations across the country.

He explained that when he and his team suggest hormone therapy to these children, it is because they have exhausted all other options and when this happens they get better, he said.

“I’m here to tell you we know what we are doing. We are following established research, Best practice guidelines and our ethical codes and we are doing so with an awareness of our role and supporting safe exploration and decision-making. We are doing so with the best interest of every child and family member.”

Psychologist, Dr. Jesse Lambert, also testified in opposition, representing the Louisiana Psychological Association.

“A lot of research has been discussed today scientifically sound research that indicates that this is a true phenomena and that individuals who are trans have suffered greatly.

“Citing from the American Psychological Association, we have data that indicates that individuals who are trans experience more victimization, be that bullying, be that acts of violence occurring in school. They feel more ostracized, more isolated and this generalizes into relationships including close family relationships.

“I echo the data that indicates the greater likelihood of psychological morbidity including self-mutilation, suicide and also note research again endorsed by the American Psychological Association that shows greater degrees of satisfaction and resolution of these issues and that this isn’t immediately about going to a biological treatment modality.”

He explained that a model of triage issues with different intensities and that practitioners don’t automatically jump to biological modalities.

“If this bill should pass, psychologist would not be able to take part in a team-based approach, involving endocrinologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians and contribute to an individual’s care from a holistic standpoint.”

Speaking in favor of his measure, Rep. Firment said, “Perhaps the most compelling scientific evidence to consider today is the fact that several progressive European nations who pioneered chemical and surgical sex change procedures like England, Sweden, and Finland have completely reversed course on this issue and they are now recommending counseling and watchful waiting as opposed to the use of dangerous and experimental drugs and invasive and irreversible surgeries,” he said.

“We know that for 85% of the kids experiencing gender dysphoria, the confusion will resolve itself with time in counseling. We also know that despite claims to the contrary rates of suicides are not decreased and health outcomes are not improved with so-called gender affirming care. Where children are self diagnosing, decisions can lead to permanent damage including sterilization and loss of sexual function.”

Dr, Quenton Vanmeter, a pediatric endocrinologist from Atlanta, Georgia, cited evidence from European countries that suggests that there is no benefit in transgender surgery or hormonal treatment and that the suicide rate is not impacted.

Dr. Evelyn Griffin from Baton Rouge testified as a certified OB/GYN that puberty blockers are not approved for adolescents and are dangerous.

The clashing world views of the individuals supporting and those opposing the bill included both sides claiming that they had the more valid research and that the other side’s research was flawed. Sen. Mills asked why so many differences in the evidence.

Dr. Stephen Félix, a pediatrician, said, “The problem with the studies that the AEP reports and others, they do not have significant randomized control trials. They have small sample sizes, they have poor follow up, they have a lot of people lost to follow up, they have individuals who they have a very short period of time that they follow them. That’s why,” he said.

“The studies that are coming out of Sweden, Finland or long-term studies where they looked extensively and they said, ‘wait, this is all wrong.’ The quality of evidence that supports this transition therapy is poor. The level of evidence that we’re presenting is strong.”

Sen. Mills said that he just needed them to understand that there are a lot of organizations that have the other side.

Dr. Griffin said, “Policies are created by organizations, a small group of individuals in organizations. That is then broadcast out and physicians like ourselves, in the trenches, […] It does become increasingly difficult to practice medicine when you’re told by your employer that these are the benchmarks that you have to check off. So that’s actually the reality of what’s happening nowadays and that’s why you see a contradiction and what is perhaps shown in mainstream media or by organizations and why you see front line doctors like ourselves saying something different.”

During the two-hour hearing, some degenerated into mudslinging. Dr. Mixson remarked that Dr. Vanmeter’s views had been compared to a hollow chocolate Easter Bunny, and Rep. Firment returned that Dr. Mixson was a “radical activist who works for Ochsner’s Hospital.”

The hearing is available on the Senate archives.








Dr. Newman Wins Sweetgrass Award

Division 35 of the American Psychological Association (APA) has named Dr. Denise Newman, PhD, recipient of the 2023 Sweetgrass Award. The award
honors the Indigenous psychology professional who epitomizes values and virtues through the dedication of outstanding professionalism in service. For Native peoples, sweetgrass is a sacred plant that attracts positive energy, beauty, and sweetness.

Dr. Newman served as President for the Society for Indian Psychologists, whose stated mission is to provide an organization for Native American indigenous people to advocate for the mental well-being of Native peoples by increasing the knowledge and awareness of issues impacting Native mental health.

One of the main focuses for the Society is for Native psychologists to support professionals, researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students who are aspiring for careers in any area of psychology and match them with Native mentors, to share ideas, spread knowledge, and provide new information that is relevant to Native People who are united by a common set of core values.

At the 2021 Society for Indian Psychologists (SIP) Convention, Dr. Newman was a co-collaborator for the SIP Mentorship Program: “The Native-to-Native way.” The Mentorship Program is an online mentoring community of American Indian/Alaska Native and Pacific Islander scholars in psychology and allied health professions. The SIP pair Native students and early career professionals with experienced and elder Native psychologists from all around the country and overseas. The program offers mentoring training and online webinars, CE offerings, on topics in Indigenous psychology, personal, and career development.

According to the APA Sweetgrass program, Dr. Newman is honored for actions including mentoring and support of Indigenous women, development or adaptation of research methods or models for treatment and intervention that are ethnical, cultural and gender appropriate for Indigenous women. Also included are activities such as advancing the understanding of the psychology of Indigenous women; the scientific understanding of features of ethnicity, culture and class among Indigenous women which pertain to the psychology of women. Advocating on behalf of Indigenous women in policy, clinical and research findings in the area of services to AN/AI and other Indigenous women, children, youth, and families, is also included.

Dr. Newman notes that her training and background as an analyst help her to be particularly sensitive to multicultural concerns and to the importance of knowing oneself in depth and in the context of relationships with others. She combines her scientific background in development and neuroscience with her interests in psychoanalysis and culture. Her psychotherapy style is depth and insight oriented, and she also has over 25 years’ experience in academic research, university teaching, graduate training, and clinical specialty practices background as a university professor.

Her specific areas of expertise include developmental psychopathology during adolescence, identity, and personality  development – including racial and ethnic identity, culture and neuroscience, diverse topics in American Indian mental health, and developmental topics in psychoanalysis. She especially enjoys working with culturally diverse populations and with pre/post-partum mothers. She is active in service with various international, national, and local professional organizations in
psychology, psychoanalysis, child development, American Indian affairs, and mental health.

She has published and presented scholarly research on topics in developmental psychopathology, psychiatric epidemiology, ethnic minority children’s development, and on Native American mental health and personality development. She has lectured nationally on topics related to the development of depression, anxiety, substance use, attention problems, dissociative or disruptive behavior, personality and identity development, stress and trauma in preschool, adolescence, and during the transition to young adulthood.








Dyslexia Screening Bill Goes Forward with Amendments

HB 69 by Rep. Marino revises laws relative to screening for dyslexia. The measure was voted out of the Senate Education Committee favorably after being amended by Sen. Jackson and testimony from Dr. Jesse Lambert of the Louisiana Psychological Association. The amendments changed the word “diagnosis” to “identification” and the word “psychometric” to “academic.”

The measure is pending Legislative Bureau as of May 31.

The measure Was voted out of the Education Committee of the House
favorably at 11 to 0. It was voted on by the House on April 25 and passed 105 to 0.

According to the digest, the Committee Amendments Proposed by Senate Committee on Education to the engrossed bill are as follows: 
1. Require the state Department of Education to select a dyslexia screener that meets certain criteria and to provide the screener, at no cost, to each public school.
2. Change the word “diagnosis” to “identification”.
3. Change the word “psychometric” to “academic”.
4. Require the core assessment for the identification of dyslexia to include a brief standardized screening tool of intellectual ability.

According to the current digest, the proposed law requires the state Department of Education to select a dyslexia screener with an area under the curve of 0.80 or above and provide the screener, at no cost, to each public school. Further requires the dyslexia screener to be administered to each student by a classroom teacher in the second half of kindergarten or at any time it is requested by a teacher or a parent or guardian. Prohibits the screener from being a progress monitoring tool and requires that it be developed solely for dyslexia; be evidence-based with proven, published academic validity; and be used for the purpose of determining whether a student is at-risk for dyslexia.

Regarding Identification, the digest says that the proposed law, relative to diagnosis, provides the following:
(1) Provides that if screening results indicate that a student is at risk for dyslexia, the school, in order to determine whether he has dyslexia, shall determine through history, observation, and academic assessment if there are unexpected difficulties in reading and associated linguistic problems at the level of phonological processing that are unrelated to the student’s intelligence, age, and grade level. (2) Provides that the core assessment for the identification of dyslexia shall not be based on a single test score or specific number of characteristics and shall include the following: (a) Tests of language, particularly phonemic assessment, real words and pseudowords, oral reading fluency, and a brief standardized screening tool of intellectual ability. (b) An academic performance review. (c) A parental interview.







Legislature Churning Away; Gov. Makes Remarks and Presents His Bill Package

On April 10 Gov. Edwards made remarks to open the 2023 Regular Session. As prepared for delivery, he noted that in this final year of his second term, the work is far from over. “When I took office in 2016, the state had a $1 billion dollar budget deficit to close out that fiscal year and a $2 billion deficit for the following year,” said the Gov. “It took numerous special sessions
and a lot of bipartisanship, but we were able to navigate a balanced approach with no gimmicks and no one-time money spent on recurring expenditures. […]

“Ever since my administration was fully responsible for the budget, FY 17, we’ve run surpluses. Because of those surpluses, the state’s rainy day fund will be the healthiest it has ever been.
Added to the revenue stabilization fund created in my first year as governor, we will start next fiscal year with more than $2 billion available for future shortfalls and emergencies. […]

“We’ve gone from a state that was disinvesting in higher education more than anywhere else in the country to a state making historic investments in higher education,” he said. “We are fully funding TOPS and have increased GO Grant dollars. We are dedicating money this year to address deferred maintenance and important safety enhancements on our campuses. Every student should have the opportunity to receive a high quality degree or credential right here in Louisiana and they deserve to feel safe when they are on campus. Through increased formula funding and new initiatives targeting critical workforce shortages and opportunities, we are  creating a world class workforce. […]

‘As you know, my first act as governor was to expand Medicaid to the working poor. […] Now, more than 500,000 working Louisianans have access to healthcare who otherwise wouldn’t. In 2015, 22.7% of working age adults in Louisiana did not have health insurance. As a result of
Medicaid Expansion, in 2022, the uninsured rate among adults fell to 9.4%, below the national average of 10.2%.”

In an April 18 press release, Governor Edwards reviewed the bills in his 2023 legislative package.

“This package of bipartisan legislation aims for a Louisiana that lives our pro-life values,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “To truly be pro-life in my estimation, we must make it easier for parents to feed, educate and house their children. We need to raise the minimum wage, close our gender pay gap, and offer our people paid family and medical leave. We must also find empathy for victims of rape and incest who become pregnant. And I am calling on the legislature to abolish the death penalty, which promotes a culture of death and has proven to be expensive and ineffective at deterring crime.”

The governor’s priority bills are in addition to his state budget request, unveiled earlier this year, which calls for a $3,000 teacher pay raise, the largest-ever state general fund investment in early childhood education, a permanent increase of $100 per month (a 20% increase) in 
supplemental pay, and historic funding for higher education, according to the announcement.



Dr. Phillips Resigns as Head of La Department of Health

Last month Gov. Edwards announced that Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Secretary, Dr.  Courtney N. Phillips, had submitted her resignation, effective April 6, 2023.

LDH Director of Legal, Audit and Regulatory Affairs, Stephen Russo, who has served LDH for 27 years and as executive counsel since 2008, will serve as secretary upon Sec. Phillips’ resignation, according to the announcement.

“Secretary Phillips is one of the hardest working, most capable, and most accomplished people I’ve ever met,” said Gov. Edwards. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, her decisive and thoughtful leadership saved lives. She spearheaded our response as we established an unprecedented mass testing program and innovative vaccine rollout and distribution program. Remarkably, she didn’t let the response to the COVID-19 emergency stop LDH from making progress on other important initiatives, like our work to improve health equity, address maternal mortality, and expand access to critical health services. I have no doubt she will continue her dedication to service in this next chapter for her and her family,” said Gov. Edwards.

“I’m a big believer in public service,” Sec. Phillips said, “so the opportunity to return to my home state and give back in such a meaningful way at such a critical time is something that will stay with me for the rest of my career,” said Sec. Phillips. “There’s a great deal to be proud of as the head of LDH, but the intentional effort that went into equitably rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines and ultimately saving thousands of lives ranks among my top accomplishments. I want to thank Governor Edwards for his leadership and all LDH team members, the Louisiana  Legislature and the entire healthcare system of Louisiana for their support and partnership over the past three years.”

According to the announcement, Phillips, who had previously led two state health and human services agencies in Nebraska and Texas, was named LDH secretary in April 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She guided the agency through unprecedented challenge, overseeing LDH’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Laura and Ida, but also led proactive efforts to strengthen the pipeline for a more diverse healthcare workforce; expand access to critical health services, including a suite of additional behavioral health services, the extension of dental benefits to adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, the expansion of postpartum Medicaid coverage from six weeks to one year, and a focus on preventative screenings and services; and develop and implement a new, more sustainable payment model for hospitals, dental providers and ambulance providers.

Also according to the announcement, Phillips led the successful development and implementation of LDH Business Plans in FY22 and FY23 and the Department’s commitments, priorities and measurable goals on a range of health issues, including maternal health, behavioral health and chronic diseases. 


Board Publishes New Rules

After dismissing any significant changes suggested by the community members given at the December 16, 2022 public feedback meeting, the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists has gone forward and finalized almost 19,000 words of new regulations published in the April Louisiana Register.

The most dramatic change may be the creation of a new registration category for assistants to psychologists, including new rules and regulations on how these assistants must be supervised.

In Chapter 11, Supervision of Assistants to Psychologists, the new rules note: “An assistant registered under the provisions of this Chapter shall utilize the title ‘assistant to a psychologist’ also referred to as ‘ATAP’ only within the context of their employment with a licensed psychologist or their employment within an agency or hospital while under the direct supervision of a licensed psychologist; […]

“An ATAP providing psychological services must be under the general and continuing professional supervision of a licensed psychologist. In order to maintain ultimate legal and professional responsibility for the welfare of every client, the supervisor must be vested with functional authority over the psychological services provided by an ATAP.

“Upon, or pending, employment of an ATAP, but prior to assisting in psychological duties, the Supervising Psychologist shall submit a complete application for initial registration, required registration fee, and documentation on such form and in such manner as may be prescribed by the board to demonstrate that the registrant meets all of the following criteria:

[…]”In §1103, Responsibilities of Supervisors, the new rule requires that the psychologist, “provides general professional supervision of the ATAP that shall include one cumulative hour per week as a minimum for direct supervisory contact,” and that “exceptions to this  requirement must have prior approval of the board;”

The board points out that, ” Neglect in maintaining the above standards of practice may result in disciplinary action against the supervisor’s license to practice, including suspension or revocation.”

The new rules also include changes in roles, for examples the inclusion of an advisory workgroup and a position, licensing examiner. Changes to the definition of an applicant include the criminal history background check. There are also changes in the definition of and requirements relating to the Provisional Licensed Psychologist and the applicant phase of the provisional license.

Chapter 3, training and credentials in the doctoral programs of psychology, includes changes. Qualifications for doctoral programs that are not accredited by the American Psychological Association are specified as having to meet several detailed standards.

In a section regarding specialty areas, the new rules outline definitions for Health Service Psychology and General Applied Psychology.

“The provision of direct health and/or behavioral health services requires training in an applied health service area such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, clinical neuropsychology,
school psychology, or other developed health service areas that are offered under training programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) in a health service area. […]

And, “General Applied Psychology. The provision of psychological services in applied non-healthcare areas include services outside health and behavioral health fields; direct services to individuals and/or groups for assessment and/or evaluation of personal abilities and characteristics for individual development, behavior change, and/or for making decisions about the individual; and may also include services to organizations that are provided for the benefit of the organization. […]

The new rules also define clinical neuropsychology and add to the description, “[…] specialty internship in clinical neuropsychology (one year minimum), followed by the completion of one year of post-doctoral supervised experience in clinical neuropsychology; or, the equivalent of two full years (4,000 hours) of post-doctoral experience in clinical neuropsychology under the
supervision of a qualified clinical neuropsychologist […]”

For Chapter 7, supervised practice leading toward licensure, the new rule adds the following: “supervised practice and establishes that the legal, administrative and professional responsibility of supervision rests with the licensed psychologist or medical psychologist licensed in accordance with R.S. 27:1360.51 et seq., designated as supervisor.”

The text for §705, qualifications of supervisors, includes: “Responsibility for the overall supervision of the supervisee’s professional growth resides in the licensed psychologist or medical psychologist. Supervising psychologists shall be licensed to practice psychology at the doctoral level by the regulatory body that is vested with jurisdictional authority over the practice of psychology in the respective jurisdiction.”

Also, “The supervisor may not supervise any more than two candidates for licensure at the same time.”

New information on telepsychology and telesupervision is included in the new rules. Examples are: “The use of telecommunications is not appropriate for all problems. The specific process of providing professional services varies across situation, setting and time, and decisions  regarding the appropriate delivery of telepsychology services are made on a case-by-case basis.
The rules instruct psychologists to, “reflect on multicultural issues when delivering telepsychology services to diverse clients; obtain the necessary professional and technical training, experience, and skills to adequately conduct the telepsychology services that they provide;” and “have an Emergency Management plan.”

n §1702, Definition of Psychological Testing, Evaluation and Assessment, the rules note: “The Board of Examiners of Psychologists finds it necessary to formally define psychological testing in order to protect the people of this state from the unlawful, unqualified and improper use of
psychological tests. The intent of this rule is to provide a definition of psychological testing sufficient to allow this board to effectively regulate this aspect of psychological practice. […]

In §803, Requirements, the Board is adding: “Within each reporting period, two of the required hours or credits of continuing professional development must be within the area of multiculturalism or diversity in accordance with the limitations specified in §807.

In §805, Acceptable Sponsorship, Offerings and Activities, the board is making changes and clarifications to who may offer continuing education.

“A. Any individual or entity may apply for board approval of a proposed CPD offering or activity as follows. 1. The individual or entity providing the proposed CPD offering or activity files a completed CPD Approval Application on the form provide by the board. 2. The individual or entity providing the proposed CPD offering or activity provides information sufficient to the board that the CPD meets requirements set forth under §801; […]”

For Chapter 9, Licensees, the board is establishing §905. Psychologists Emerit: Retired.

“A. A psychologist emeritus: retired is eligible to renew their emerit status license provided they submit such renewal application along with the annual renewal fee at the reduced rate established under Chapter 6 of this Part; and are fully retired from the practice of psychology, not rendering psychological services in any form, and are not engaging in any activity that might be construed as the practice of psychology within the state of Louisiana.”The retired individual is not required to complete continuing professional development.

Also included was an extensive code of ethics for the License School Specialist in Psychology.
The complete rules maybe found in the Louisiana Register, April edition, pages 657-679, at



La Behavioral Health Notes Emergency in Children’s MH Needs


According to a March press release, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Office of Behavioral Health, is introducing five new initiatives focused on the behavioral health of children and adolescents and their families. These initiatives focus on improved access to early childhood, adolescent, and family behavioral health services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the challenges facing adolescents’ and children’s mental health, said officials, causing altered experiences at home, school, and during in-person social interactions. The pandemic also highlighted the need for increased access to healthcare and social services as an alarming number of young people struggle with feelings of helplessness, depression, and thoughts of suicide.

According to the announcement, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association have declared a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health.

Improving and expanding mental health services for Louisianans of all ages is the culmination of years of deliberate planning and focus, and I’m proud my administration has taken on this task in a thoughtful and targeted way,” said Governor Edwards. “The Louisiana Department of Health’s work to expand crisis services, add capacity for substance use treatment, and use evidence-based treatment for other behavioral health needs will help us address the trauma and other challenges brought on by the pandemic and the many disasters Louisianans have become so accustomed to.”

LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips said, “It has been our top priority over the past few years to confront the crises Louisiana residents have been facing with behavioral health strategies that improve the quality of life for our residents and hold the promise of a brighter future for Louisiana’s children. The five initiatives we are announcing today are critical new additions to the current array of specialized behavioral health services, and I am confident that our behavioral health partners will be able to use them to increase access to services and ultimately improve health outcomes.”

According to the announcement, OBH is building upon services currently available to Medicaid eligible children and adolescents through five additional initiatives currently under development through Fiscal Year 2024.

Initiative 1: Expanding substance use residential treatment facilities for women and dependent children – Pregnant women, and women with dependent children, are among the most vulnerable of all populations in need of stable residential services for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Louisiana currently has 3 statewide providers. However, in order to geographically diversify and expand capacity of treatment programs that allow children up to
12 years old to accompany their mothers, OBH will identify additional providers to fill statewide gaps in services to establish additional treatment beds.

Initiative 2: Implementing Early Childhood Supports and Services (ECSS) – ECSS will provide screening, evaluation, and referral services and treatment for children from birth through age 5 and their families through evidence-based behavioral health treatment. This includes support for enhancing positive caregiving relationships and comprehensive care coordination addressing family needs, including families’ environmental risks and social determinants of health. OBH intends to pilot ECSS with an early adopting entity, while pursuing a contractor for long-term management of the statewide program through a request for proposal (RFP), which is expected to be released in calendar year 2023.

Initiative 3: Building the foundation for statewide youth crisis services – Expanding upon the Medicaid adult crisis services continuum introduced in LDH’s Fiscal Year 2022 business plan, LDH is committed to extending Mobile Crisis Response (MCR) and Community Brief Crisis Support (CBCS) services to youth. With an anticipated launch in spring 2024, MCR is an initial
intervention for individuals in a self-identified crisis; while CBCS is a face-to-face ongoing 
crisis intervention response, designed to provide stabilization and support. LDH has identified start-up funding for providers and the budget proposal includes funding for Medicaid coverage of these services in late fiscal year 2024, said officials.

Initiative 4: Treating trauma through the implementation for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy –(DBT) programs DBT is an evidence-based, comprehensive intervention designed to treat adults and adolescents with severe mental disorders and out-of-control cognitive, emotional, and behavioral patterns that often result from early and/or chronic experiences of trauma, neglect, and abandonment. LDH will begin provider DBT training in the fall with initial implementation of service delivery expected in late calendar year 2023.

Initiative 5: Cultivating Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) services to treat youth with co-occurring developmental disabilities PRTFs are non-hospital facilities offering intensive inpatient and educational services to individuals younger than age 21 who have various behavioral health issues. OBH is currently developing this programming for a highly specialized PRTF with up to 25 beds, with treatment focusing on co-occurring mental health and developmental disabilities. This population will achieve better outcomes in a highly specialized setting tailored to their needs, said the officials.







Dr. Susan Tucker Returns to Shreveport

After a year in Mississippi as Mental Health Director for Mississippi Department of 
Corrections, Dr. Susan Tucker, innovative program designer, has returned to Louisiana to serve as Chief Operating Officer at Whole Health Treatment Center in Shreveport.

Dr. Tucker has been at the forefront of innovations for Louisiana for over two decades decades. She has earned state and national recognition for these achievements, including from the Vera Institute of Justice. She was also commended by Louisiana legislators for her work and the related cost savings of $15 million by earned “good time credits” through participation in the psychological programs designed by Tucker.

“I am so happy to announce I am the COO for Whole Health Treatment Center in Shreveport, Louisiana,” said Dr. Tucker. “It is a part of Intensive Specialty Hospital. I am so thrilled about this IOP/OP program for offering offenders re-entering the community, substance use disorders, and dual diagnosis, and alternatives to prison programs.”

North Louisiana Whole Health Treatment Center is committed to holistic care brings together an experienced multidisciplinary team to offer the most innovative and impactful treatment options possible.

Dr. Susan Tucker was the Assistant Warden at Forcht Wade Correctional Center-Clinical Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Keithville, Louisiana, near Shreveport. She also served as clinical psychologist and the Assistant Warden at the Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility. 

She and her team used innovative approaches, modern communication technology, community coordination, and a keen awareness for doing what works, to improve lives, families, and
community safety.

Having worked in Mississippi this past year, Dr. Tucker said, “I am extremely proud of Louisiana as I see them as successfully being on cutting edge of prison reform.”

In late 2022, the Governor’s office pointed to a Pew news report highlighting the positive impacts of criminal justice reforms have had on Louisiana. Reporting for PEW, Michelle Russell wrote, “The state’s prison population has fallen 24%, driven entirely by a decline in people convicted of nonviolent offenses. Louisiana’s reforms sought to steer people convicted of less serious crimes away from prison and shorten the time incarcerated for those who could be safely supervised in the community. In the summer of 2017, before the new laws took effect, there were about 35,500 people under the Louisiana Department of Corrections’ jurisdiction held in prisons or local jails throughout the state. By the summer of 2022, that number had fallen nearly a quarter to about 27,000.”

Dr. Tucker has focused on treatment and research innovations that reduce recidivism. Her work is based in the fact that most inmates have a substance abuse problem, and few get the right kind of treatment. Due to her continuous efforts to work with inmates and provide services, and overall reforms, Louisiana no longer holds the title as “Incarceration Capital of Nation.”

The Times asked Dr. Tucker to tell us what her thoughts about the improvements.

“So, to a large degree,” Dr. Tucker said, “I believe the Louisiana Justice Reform Package is a broad move in the right direction. The legislation is reducing prison populations in the state and developing community partnerships to reduce recidivism. It is a logical and effective way to address an all-time high incarceration rate that was costly and offered little benefit. This bi-partisan reform package has seen a reduction in property and violent crimes. The reform of sentencing laws was long overdue for 1st or 2nd time drug offenses with no violent or sex crimes. This allowed shorter sentences and early release of thousands of offenders,” she said.

“The pandemic offered some additional challenges which slowed, if not impeded some of the progress of this reform movement,” Dr. Tucker explained. “With the decrease in community Mental Health centers and outpatient substance abuse treatment subsequently in our communities due to the pandemic, community resources were limited and sometimes void.
Probation and Parole offices had an increase in their caseloads of early releases and increase in probation cases as opposed to Innovator and Program Designer, Dr. Susan Tucker, incarceration. With the pandemic, the supervision of the probation and parole cases and the lack of community resources created a lag in our initial goal of justice reform,” Dr. Tucker explained.

“However,” she said, “the legislation for reform is in place, new P/P officers are being hired to manage new community supervision cases and resources have increased in the communities. If, in fact, the pandemic has helped our goal, it is the increase in telehealth. We are now able to reach those offenders in rural areas and those low-income communities that often did not receive services.”

“As so many agencies struggled through the pandemic, “Dr. Tucker said, “so did Louisiana Department of Corrections. We are now seeing a ‘return to our new normal’. We have ‘regrouped’ and are headed in the right direction again.”

How does this relate to the programs that she initiated and promoted in Louisiana?

“As you might guess, it’s hard to just walk away from the rehabilitation program I developed and ran for 23 years in LADOC. Rather than simply ‘warehousing offenders’ who will eventually be released into our communities,” Dr. Tucker said. “We are focusing on offering intensive treatment, skill development, and educational opportunities, as well as post release support and care.”

Dr. Tucker explained, “The philosophical approach to our treatment includes focusing on the thinking patterns, emotional reactions, and behavioral events that often lead to self-defeating patterns and eventually to criminal activity. We utilize psychological assessment instruments to illuminate areas of concern, including low cognitive ability, personality disorders or features, mood disorders, and thought disorders. We individualize a treatment program for that offender, and he works closely with his assigned counselor to meet the goals that treatment plan.”

Dr. Tucker said she is thrilled to be part of the reform here in Louisiana, as the COO for Whole Health Treatment Center in Shreveport, part of Intensive Specialty Hospital system. “The continuum of care is as ‘whole’ as it can get,” she said. “We can take a homeless person, male or female, directly off the street and treat them medically, physically, mentally, substance use, detox, and we can get them on Medicaid, Disability, or in Vocational Training through LRS.”

“We also provide transportation and housing! We treat substance use disorders with CBT, Risk Management, and Medication Assisted Treatment. This hospital has spared no expense in allowing us to develop a full continuum of care in a beautiful setting with professional counselors and an effective administrator,” Dr. Tucker said.

“The Clinical Director is Karen Baird, a well-established clinician and administrator. We are lucky to have such a dedicated and knowledgeable director. The entire group is enthusiastic, creative, and on the cutting edge of effective treatment. I am proud to be affiliated with such a treatment-oriented agency.”

What are her current major goals and programs?

“My goal for the rest of my public service life will focus on pre-trial alternative programs and re-entry programs exactly like what Whole Health Treatment center is doing,” she said. “It is imperative to continue to help the justice reform movement of removing the punitive aspect of incarceration and offer solutions for change in the pursuit of justice.

“There is a need for the implementation of fitness for duty assessments for correctional officers and police officers. To ensure the capability of new hires is reflective of a solid officer with the ability to stay calm and manage a difficult situation successfully with the least amount of force,” Dr. Tucker said.

“In addition, reaching mentally ill and substance users in rural areas is an important piece of this where minimal to no treatment access is available,” she said. “Obviously, more resources are needed in our schools for training on mental health, violence, and substance use disorders. The increase in the Seriously Mental Ill in prisons and jails is a direct reflection of our lack of community access to appropriate care.”

From her perspective, in terms of public health, what are the most important things that psychologists should be aware?

“Much work is needed from psychologists regarding how the mentally ill are managed with regard to the criminal justice system. We need more training of police/correctional staff about how to engage with mentally ill on the streets or while in custody.”

In 2015, Harvard honored Dr. Tucker’s Work the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University named Dr. Tucker and her treatment programs as one of this year’s recipients of the prestigious Bright Ideas awards for innovation. In the article, Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in
American Government Program at the Ash Center said, “The Bright Ideas program  demonstrates that often seemingly intractable problems can be creatively and capably tackled by small groups of dedicated, civic-minded individuals.”

Dr. Tucker’s programs have earned state and national recognition for results. The group received The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment grant for eight years. In 2010 they
were awarded the governor’s grant for prevention. Also, in 2010 the Vera Institute of Justice, an organization dedicated to improving justice systems through research and innovation, noted that Forcht Wade Correctional Center’s family program, should be a model for the nation.








Bills Flowing in for April 10 Start of 2023 Legislative Regular Session

The 2023 Regular Legislative Session is booming already with hundreds of bills being filed and the kickoff day set for April 10. New measures are being introduced and some familiar themes are reappearing in the Legislators’ efforts.

Rep. Green is introducing HB 226 which eliminates the death penalty. Rep. Travis Johnson is seeking Medicaid coverage for mental health and substance-abuse services via the Psychiatric Collaborative Care Model. SB 34, authored by Sen. Bernard, requires that the state add “Suicide Lifeline dial 988” to on the driver’s license, and Representative Larvadain aims to add firefighters to his previous effort that created peer support training methods for those in law enforcement. Rep. Hilferty is introducing HB 242 which would prohibit corporal punishment in elementary and secondary schools unless authorized by a parent.

See pages 5–6 for a number of other bills that are being introduced this year.








Ψ We Remember Dr. Ron Boudreaux

Dr. Ronald F. Boudreaux died February 4, 2023, at the age of 79. He had struggled with complications of Parkinson’s for two decades. Over his 40-year career, Dr. Boudreaux lead the state in establishing a comprehensive system of public health services for children and youth who suffered from severe emotional problems. Dedicated to the practice of public mental health, he built coalitions to integrate services across the state for serving children and their families, created advocacy groups such as the Federation of Families, and spear-headed innovative programs which embraced the scientific evaluation of effectiveness for the benefit of the citizens. Dr. Boudreaux created the standards of child and adolescent care for Louisiana  and wiith excellence, integrity, and humility. He was a joyful and positive influence on all those he encountered along the way.

In 2020 the Louisiana Psychological Association, state affiliate of the American Psychological Association, honored Dr. Boudreaux with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“In honor of Dr. Boudreaux’s dedicated service and pioneering career in establishing a comprehension system of public mental health services for children, youth and families in Louisiana, and as the Chief Psychologist for the state Office of Mental Health (OMH). Dr.  Boudreaux’s professional career is truly exemplary of the dedicated public service of a psychologist who has significantly advanced the state of the art of public mental health for children, youth and families in Louisiana. And yet, he has remained a very humble man of character. The Louisiana Psychological Association wishes to acknowledge Dr. Boudreaux’s pioneering professional contributions and to wish him well in his retirement.”

Close friend and work associate, Dr. Randall Lemoine, said, “I was blessed to have been a colleague of Ron’s during most of my 30+ year tenure as a psychologist at the State Office of Mental Health. During that time, I personally witnessed and admired Ron’s leadership, his professionalism, and his passion for service to those most in need. Ron’s contributions to public mental health programs for children and youth were unsurpassed––he literally put child/youth mental health services ‘on the map.’

Dr. Lemoine, now in private practice and also retired from the state, was Director, Division of Business Intelligence and Information Management for the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health.

“Also, to my knowledge, Ron was the first statewide Chief Psychologist,” said Dr. Lemoine, “a trail blazer raising the stature of psychologists in pubic service. After he retired from state service, Ron’s dedication, compassion and skill as a clinical child psychologist in private practice were renowned in our Baton Rouge community. I am grateful to have had opportunities to visit with Ron during his final years at Saint James Place, during which time we got to reminisce about his remarkable career and the ‘good ole days’ of public mental health,” said Dr. Lemoine.

Current President of the Louisiana Psychological Association and professor at University of Louisiana Lafayette, Dr. Paula Zeanah, noted that Dr. Boudreaux “… held leadership positions in the Office of Behavioral Health. Notably, he ushered in an important era in mental health services by leading the development of services for infants and young children, Early Childhood Supports and Services. Prior to ECSS, young children were not served in community mental health clinics,” Dr. Zeanah said. “I had great respect and admiration for his deep commitment to children’s mental health in Louisiana. He was friendly and professional, had a calm yet strong presence, and was a pleasure to work with.”

Dr. Boudreaux’s distinguished public mental health career began in 1970’s as a staff psychologist and program grant lead on the adolescent unit at Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville. He then served as the Chief Executive Officer of Green Well Springs Adolescent Hospital in Baton Rouge.

In the 1980s, Dr. Boudreaux became the director of children’s services for the state Office of Mental Health. He served as the Program Director for CASSP – the Child and Adolescent Service System Program, a federal grant-funded program to transform the then traditional community mental health clinic-based service system to what is now recognized as the standard of care; i.e., child and family community-based services and supports offered throughout community settings, including homes and schools.

The Child and Adolescent Service System Program increased the availability of community-based, comprehensive, coordinated systems of care for seriously emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. State-level activities included needs assessment and planning, modification of the state mental health system, interagency collaboration, constituency building, technical assistance and training, and local system development.

Dr. Boudreaux spearheaded development of innovative services such as child and family intervention teams, home-based crisis intervention programs, care management, and parent respite programs. He worked closely with judges to establish juvenile justice programs and reforms. And, he facilitated the development of a standard definition for the educational exceptionality of Emotional/Behavioral Disorder for use by the State Department of Education Bulletin 1508 to promote services and supports in schools.

In the 1990s, Dr. Boudreaux’s work to establish a comprehensive system of care for children, youth and families continued under the Federal Block Grant State Mental Health Plan. He continued to build coalitions to integrate services across the state child-serving agencies, and through advocacy groups, such as the Federation of Families and the State Mental Health
Planning Council. He spearheaded a novel program evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of services (LaFete) through teams of parents trained to interview family service recipients and to report their findings in a service report card with quality improvement recommendations.

Dr. Boudreaux was very active in developing and implementing policies and procedures to divert children from hospitalization to less restrictive, more effective community-based care.

During this time, Dr. Boudreaux was also promoted to the Chief Psychologist for state mental health system, and in this capacity provided policy/procedure development and operational command for psychological services across the state, including internship programs.

Dr. Boudreaux retired from the Office of Mental Health after 40 years of public service. During his career, he also completed a fellowship through Tulane University’s School of Medicine in
infant mental health, with a concentration in attachment theory research in infant-parent bonding. His research and clinical training programs created widespread access to critical support for underprivileged families in crisis.

In addition to his public sector career, he counseled thousands of Baton Rouge area children and families through his private practice. He concluded his career – post retirement from the
State – working with Dr. Donna Farguson at Family Focus, a multidisciplinary mental health practice, in the early childhood assessment and treatment office.

According to family and friends from his obituary in the Advocate, Dr. Boudreaux was affectionately known as “Boud-dha” and “Paw Paw” to his family.

The family notes that he was a native of Lafayette, and from ninth grade until undergraduate graduation from Catholic University, Washington DC, was enrolled in the seminary to become a priest. Upon graduation, he became determined to be a psychologist instead. He earned a PhD in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University in 1971.

“Ron had a way of making everyone feel heard, seen, loved and appreciated. To his children, he was their “rock,” and to his friends and family he was an incredibly warm, caring, kind and compassionate man. He could also make you cry laughing with his Cajun “Boudreaux” jokes and stories, hearkening back to his beloved Lafayette roots. Every Christmas Eve, he would light up children’s faces when he told ‘The Cajun Night Before Christmas’ in his jolly Cajun accent as thick as his mama’s roux,” noted the family.

“He built furniture, fences and barns with his own hands, was an excellent photographer, loved watercolor, and thoroughly enjoyed sports, especially playing tennis. Ron loved his family, hisprofession, reading, travel, music of all sorts-from Cajun to classical, cooking, good food, and good friends. He couldn’t begin the day without a mug of black coffee, loved the sound of the gulf surf, a good glass of red wine or single malt scotch.

“During the last twenty-five years of his life, he took up pilates, boxing, Tai Chi and indulged his love for travel, visiting Vietnam, Republic of Georgia, Egypt, eastern Europe, Chile, Tuscany,
Provence, and Spain, and many parts of the United States with his longtime ‘lady friend’ (his description) Mary Ann Sternberg.”

Dr. Boudreaux was preceded in death by his parents Florence (Daigle) and Felix Boudreaux of Lafayette. He is survived by his son Jonathan Michael Boudreaux and grandchildren Aaron and Araya; daughter Nicole Boudreaux Kleinpeter and grandchildren Camille and Thomas (Baton Rouge); his brother Kurt Boudreaux and wife Sherry and family (Lafayette); and longtime friend Mary Ann Sternberg (Baton Rouge).

Friend and colleague, Dr. W. Alan Coulter, organizational school psychologist, said, “Ron was a very effective, positive voice for children’s mental health. He significantly advanced awareness for infant mental health in Louisiana. Ron was wisely skeptical and abhorred organizational politics, although he practiced those politics very well. Personally, Ron was the gentlest Cajun bear who gave great hugs and free wisdom.”

Dr. Tony Speier, who served in the state mental health organization with Dr. Boudreaux for many years, wrote, “A grand and kind person who opened doorways every day for many in lifeand as joyful as any man and friend. Thanks Ron for being ever–blessed and thanks for your blessings.”

Dr. Kelley Pears, PTSD psychologist with the Alexandria VA Healthcare System, said, “Ron was an inspiration to my generation of psychologists. He was welcoming, friendly, bright and funny. Blessings to his family & friends.”







Dr. Ledet’s Innovations Aim to Reach Women Experiencing Stress

Dr. Sumer Ledet, licensed clinical and medical psychologist, and expert in anxiety disorders, is using innovative, psycho-educational methods to reach women who struggle with being overwhelmed due to their responsibilities as mothers, partners, and breadwinners.

Dr. Ledet’s education and experience has provided her with extensive evidence-based training  in a variety of anxiety disorders including PTSD, OCD, Panic Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety  Disorder. She has depth training in Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy. Following years of training and experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy methods she has immersed herself in the theory and practice of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Dr. Sumer Ledet’s psycho-educational training is a comprehensive, multi–method program for women stressed by their responsibilities as mothers, partners, and breadwinners. Her “Get  Present System,” a virtual group program for overwhelmed working mothers, helps with psychological issues and at the same time is reducing stigma associated with reaching out for  help, making psychology more accessible to more people.

Dr. Ledet has focused on treating anxiety disorders in private practice since 2012 and has  directed her efforts more specifically toward women, including women who do not meet full  criteria for any diagnosable condition.

“Many women feel tired, drained, invisible, anxious, and generally unhealthy,” said Ledet. “Many women are distracted and struggling with insomnia. Many women feel guilty and irritable. Most  of the same women are highly educated, successful in their chosen career, have healthy well  cared for children and happy partners, but they are ––often privately–– suffering and struggling,” she said.

“The culture demands so much of working mothers and the pressure is immense. Women feel  like they aren’t measuring up, and then label themselves failures. This is extremely common  and frankly heart-wrenching,” she said.

Her class includes five pillars that Dr. Ledet teaches to increase the individual’s ability to remain  in the present moment and to focus attention on valued actions. “The pillars also cover self-care and self-compassion,” she said, “as many overwhelmed women that I have worked with tend to overlook their own basic needs and to treat themselves harshly when they make mistakes.”

“I transitioned my business 100% online since COVID and plan to stay the course,” she said,  continuing to share high-quality, evidence-based, and often free content. “In my opinion, my strength is simplifying the ‘psychobabble’ so it is easily understandable and usable for real  women living busy lives,” she said.

Get Present, her eight-week independent study class, is a comprehensive, deep dive into  fostering self-care, self-compassion, and values-based action.

Dr. Ledet’s Innovations Aim to Reach Women Experiencing Stress and Anxiety, continued Dr. Ledet began teaching overwhelmed women online and began making educational Facebook videos on her Dr. Sumer Ledet Psychological Services Facebook page [@drsumerledet]. Then, toward the end of 2020, she started an ‘Insiders Community’ where she sends free weekly exclusive email content to this same group of women.

“I really want to reach a broader audience and teach the skills that have helped hundreds of my  clients, without the high price tag,” she said. “I no longer take insurance and it would cost  thousands in individual therapy to acquire this skill set…”

Back in 2012, Dr. Ledet started listening to a podcast all about holistic nutrition called Balanced  Bites. “I got really into it, learned a ton, and began to wonder how the two young women  hosting the podcast had grown such a large audience and successful business online,” she said. “Several years later, I found free education from successful online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Jenna Kutcher. Their work set a fire inside me to impact a larger audience, not  restricted to the closed doors of a therapy room.”

By 2019, she purchased an inexpensive microphone and started recording educational videos  for Facebook. “I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to create, but I knew I wanted to begin to build  an audience for spreading education about managing and healing from anxiety,” she said.

“Because I had run a private practice since 2012 as an anxiety disorder expert, I knew there were tons of women who didn’t necessarily meet criteria for an anxiety disorder, but were nonetheless wracked by overwhelm, confusion, and dysphoria about how to manage all of the  demands of life,” she said. “I desperately wanted to normalize this phenomena and provide resources to find a path toward peace and fulfillment. Having become a busy mom of two  myself by 2019, I felt a deep compassion for the ever-present but under-discussed struggles of these women.”

She kept creating videos and learning about how to improve the quality and clarity of her message online. “In September 2020, I made my first investment into my online business and  purchased Digital Course Academy, which taught me the process for how to create and market  my first digital course. I followed the steps, and it was so much more work that I had bargained  for. It was really draining, and by the time I launched the program, I was exhausted,” she said.

“Even still, it was a successful first launch. I enrolled 37 women into my digital course, The Get Present System (GPS), by early 2021. Originally, GPS was an 8-week program for busy moms who were struggling with overwhelm and anxiety but wanted a step-by-step path toward peace and fulfillment.”

She continued to spread the message with free content via email and social media marketing. “But,” she explained, “I knew I would need a slightly different approach to make the online course world a sustainable part of my business.” That was around the time she made a second investment into online course business, purchasing a program by @katieandfloyd about creating an automated system to market and sell online courses and programs.

“At the end of 2021, I experienced a significant spiritual transformation in my own life,” she said, “and I felt called to incorporate a Christian, faith-based aspect to my online programs. I followed the steps I had learned with @katieandfloyd, and the process was, once again, much more tedious and time-consuming than anticipated

In early 2022, I launched my second program, created specifically for Catholic moms desiring more peace and fulfillment, called the Break Free Blueprint (BFB). It was similar to GPS, but BFB had a strong faith component that shaped the evidence-based frameworks. It paired Catholic wisdom and tools with science-backed strategies to help Catholic moms break free from anxiety,” Dr. Ledet said.

For this launch, she increased the price, the length of the program, and the intimacy of the experience using question & answer sessions, audits of the work participants completed, prizes in the mail as they made their way through the program, and a community forum for support. The women had great results, and it was a truly enriching experience for all of us,” she said.

“I have continued to share free education with my online community, and it has been such a fulfilling and rewarding experience for me. I get messages all the time from people who feel inspired by the free education I provide. I love to learn, love to write, and love to share content to encourage and inspire others. It is definitely a calling and a passion project,” Dr. Ledet said.

This year, as a next step, she plans to update her website to create a “store-front” where moms can purchase self-study versions of the programs. “I am considering options such as sponsored social media ads and podcasting for continued marketing. I have created several free resources to help overwhelmed moms get connected to my content,” she said.

“So, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I am continuing to learn and explore strategies for how to impact more overwhelmed Catholic moms without the intimidating and often cost and time prohibitive experience of private therapy.

“As you can imagine, there are so many ethical and legal questions to consider. I’ve consulted with many colleagues as I navigate these murky waters. I have also become part of a small group of psychologists with online businesses, and we meet, ‘mastermind style,’ to problem solve dilemmas unique to psychologists in the online business world,” Dr. Ledet said.

She warns anyone considering this path that it is more work that the gurus make it out to be, but if you can align the work to what you deeply value, it will be worth it, she explained. “I am learning to ride the wave of trial-and-error without getting discouraged. My predictable income comes from other sources so that I don’t feel a large degree of pressure around this work.  When I do make money with my content, it feels like such a gift.”

She still does not feel like she has found a complete system that is sustainable for her business and health. “I prioritize practicing what I preach, and with two little kids at home, this continues to be tricky. In addition, I have struggled with my own health and chronic pain condition for many years. In a way, this is a gift because I can truly empathize with my students and share what is working in my own life,” she said.

“I’m happy to share my wins and lessons learned so far on this journey with you,” said Dr. Ledet. “I’m also happy to share details about the ethical and legal aspects that I’ve considered and addressed through informed consent, LLC creation, documentation, and consultation.”

Those interested in starting an online component of their business can reach out to her at







Medical Psych Advisory Committee Discusses Supervision Dilemmas

The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, convened a Regular Call meeting of the Medical Psychology Advisory Committee on January 27, 2023. The Medical Psychology
Advisory Committee met via live-streaming video and teleconference for the public session. New Business included: “1. LSBEP – Supervision of psychology licensure candidates.”

According to the medical board, members of the Medical Psychology Advisory Committee include Glenn Ally PhD MP – Secretary Treasurer, James Blackburn MD, Darla M. R. Burnett, Ph.D., M.P., Vincent Culotta, Jr. MD, ex officio, Warren C Lowe PhD MP, and K. Chris Rachal PhD MP.

The press release included the agenda as follows:

INTRODUCTIONS – Identification of participants and audibility per La. R.S. 42:17.1(C)(3). Finding that Agenda meets criteria under La. R.S. 42:17.1(A)(2)(d).

PUBLIC COMMENTS, pursuant to La. R.S. 42:17(C)(1).

OLD BUSINESS – Approval of Minutes from meeting on August 16, 2022

NEW BUSINESS                                                                                                                                1. LSBEP – Supervision of psychology licensure candidates
2. Replacement of MPAC physician member

Dr. Ally called the meeting to order and reviewed the agenda. He brought to the 
floor new business involving the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists [LSBEP] and supervision of psychology licensure candidates.

Dr. Ally said, “As some of you may know LSBEP has attempted to suggest that medical psychologists cannot supervise potential licensees. And, suggests that the only way that medical psychologists should be able to supervise potential licensees is by being licensed also by LSBEP.

“We’ve kind of disputed that. It’s been a long-standing practice that that medical
psychologists have been able to supervise provisional licenses and potential licensees. I’m not talking about individuals already licensed but those that are provisional and those that are potential licenses.

“We’ve had meetings with LSBEP, LSBME, LAMP, a number of folks, attorneys were involved with this. The bottom line is the LSBEP backed off of that policy they were attempting to put forward. 

“However, Warren indicated to me that a supervisee had his provisional status sort of, wasn’t turned down, but they said they could not approve his provisional  proposal because he was being supervised are because he intended to be supervised by a medical psychologist. They are not saying that they will not approve him but they are not approving the pre-proposal. So they are not getting into the game of saying they are not going to approve you, if you have been supervised by medical psychologist, but we can’t approve the proposal. So that is where we’re getting stuck with this.

“The LSBEP attempted to pass a lengthy set of rules along with many other professional associations. In doing that they had attempted to suggest that only a psychologist licensed under their statute could supervise. We were able to insert into that, that medical psychologists could supervise.

Dr. Ally read from Revised Statute 37:2356.2, section D:

D. A provisional licensed psychologist shall maintain a relationship with a licensed psychologist or a medical psychologist licensed in accordance with R.S. 37:1360.51 et seq. for the purposes of clinical supervision. The supervising psychologist or medical psychologist shall have legal functioning authority over the professional activities of the provisional licensed psychologist.

“So I think that’s pretty clear that we are able to supervise but again LSBEP is raising this issue one more time. I don’t know how LAMP wants to address this but I think we’ll need to address it one more time.”

Committee members discussed the confusion between the rules and the statute.

Dr. Ally said, “I do know that LSBEP has been for quite a long time now wanting to get medical psychologist licensed under their board once again. It doesn’t behoove us to do that at this point in time, risking two licensures, risking two exposures of liability. It just doesn’t make sense for us. However, having said that, some medical psychologist do maintain two licenses under both boards.”

Dr. Lowe read a portion of a letter that the supervisee received from the LSBEP.

“LSBEP has reviewed your supervised practice plan with a medical psychologist, which unfortunately was not approved. Dr. so-and-so, the MP, is not a licensed psychologist under the jurisdiction of LSBEP thus you are not eligible for a provisional license. The board does not pre-approve supervision and relationships between an applicant supervisee and the supervisor if the supervisor is not licensed under the jurisdiction of this board.

“However the board will review and consider the acceptability of any supervised experience that is conducted under the licensing jurisdiction such as the LSBME on completion of the supervision provided the supervision meets the requirements of the Louisiana  Administrative Code. The supervisor will need to submit the post-doctoral supervision documentation upon completion of the supervision.”

Dr. Lowe said, “They are not denying that MPs can be supervisors of LSBEP potential licensees but what they’re saying is we’re not going to approve it ahead of time, we’re not going to give you a provisional license and we may not approve it after the fact, which is the only place we’re going to review it.

“I’m only putting this on the agenda because I want everyone to be aware of this, the way they have gotten around or made it difficult for MPs to supervise.

“You have to be, I think, risk inclined to have an MP supervise you not knowing ahead of time that it’s going to be approved and it might not be approved plus you interrupt your opportunity to be a provisional licensee.

The members discussed whether this is against the current statutes and provisional license. Dr. Lowe said, “This will eventually fall to LAMP and LAMP will have to decide what and if they want to try to remedy this someway.”

Dr. Ally said, “From my perspective I hesitate at this point in time to open up our statute for any revisions but at some point in time we may have to do that and try and make some clarification. We can’t undo their statute or we can wait for an opportunity if they try to revise their statute to amend their statute or rules which we have done in the past. I’m speaking for LAMP now.

“That something that LAMP will have to consider and look and address. As MPAC our responsibility is to enforce the statutes, the laws, and interpret them as they are on the books now.

The meeting can be viewed via YouTube. Go to the website at, and from the home page, click on “Advisory Committees” and then “Medical Psychology” where a YouTube link to the meeting will be posted at the appointed time of the meeting.

During the meetings of this type, according to the notice, Individuals who wish to make a public comment before or during the meeting may do so by emailing: