Category Archives: News Stories

Dr. Amy Mikolajewski Honored as 2021 Early Career Psychologist by Louisiana Psych Assn

Amy Mikolajewski, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Medicine was recently named the 2021 Early Career Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association.

“Amy is a first rate clinician and scholar,” said Dr. Laurel Franklin, awards chair for the  Association, “which is best evidenced by her ability to secure funding at such an early stage of  her career. As a postdoctoral research fellow at Tulane she secured a prestigious NIH K award-  the first to be awarded at her facility since prior to hurricane Katrina.”

Paul Frick, PhD, the Roy Crumpler Memorial Chair in the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University, said, “Amy is an extremely well deserving recipient of this award. Her research  on the temperamental and parental influences on childhood behavior problems is extremely  important and earned her a prestigious K-award from the National Institute of Mental Health.  The state of Louisiana is lucky to have her in the state and her work will greatly advance both  science and the potential well-being of Louisiana families.”

Dr. Mikolajewski’s research focuses on externalizing disorders over the lifespan, with a  particular interest in biological, dispositional, and environmental correlates. She is the recipient  and PI of the NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human  Development grant for her project, “Psychophysiology and Social Processes in Very Young  Children with Externalizing Problems.”

“My current research is focused on understanding the biological and social processes  underlying early childhood disruptive behaviors,” she said. “I hope to build upon this work to  examine the stability and predictive ability of these factors over time. In other words, are the  biological and social processes that we’re identifying useful for predicting later behavior? And  how can we use that information to tailor treatment for young children with disruptive  behaviors and prevent negative outcomes?

“In the meantime, I will continue to use our best empirically supported treatments to treat  children with disruptive behaviors. I know my clinical work informs my research and hopefully,  down the road, my research will also provide insights into ways to further strengthen our  empirically based treatment approaches.”

Examples of Dr. Mikolajewski’s publications include:

“Employing the Risk-Need-Responsivity  (RNR) Model and predicting successful completion in an alternative drug court program:  Preliminary findings from the Orleans Parish Drug Court.” In Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, with Allan, N., Merrill, L., Carter, M., Manguno-Mire, G.;

“An epidemiologic study of  COVID-19 patients in a state psychiatric hospital: High penetrance rate despite following initial  CDC guidelines.” In Psychiatric Services, with Thompson, J.W., Kissinger, P., McCrossen, P.,  Smither, A., Chamarthi, G. D., Lin, Z., Tian, D.;

“Psychometric properties of a semi-structured interview to assess limited prosocial emotions.” In Assessment, with Walker, T. M., Frick, P. J.,  Matlasz, T., Robertson, E. L., Mitchell, C, Lopez-Duran, N., Monk, C., Hyde, L. W.;

“The  Developmental Propensity Model extends to oppositional defiant disorder: A twin study.” In Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, with Hart, S. A., & Taylor, J.; and

“Examining the  Prospective relationship between pre-disaster respiratory sinus arrhythmia and post-disaster  posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in children.” In Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,  with Scheeringa, M.

Dr. Mikolajewski’s work also includes book chapters on “Antisocial  Personality Disorder” in Encyclopedia of Adolescence, and numerous presentations including,  “Trauma type, baseline respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and oppositional defiant disorder dimensions,” presented at the Society for Research in Child Development; “Risk assessment in  the context of conditional release decision-making: Outcomes and future directions,” presented at the American Psychology and Law Society; and “Pre-disaster salivary cortisol prospectively  predicts post-disaster posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in children,” presented at the Society for Research in Child Development.

Included in her poster presentations are topics such as, “Differences in substance use trajectories across treatment tracks in the Orleans Parish Drug Court,” presented at the American Psychology and Law Society, and “The developmental propensity model extends to oppositional defiant disorder,” presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

She is the recipient and PI of the NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health  Human Development grant for her project, “Psychophysiology and Social Processes in Very Young Children with Externalizing Problems.”

How does she feel about this award? “To receive recognition for my work in this group is such  an honor,” she said. “I am so grateful for the encouragement and support,” said Dr.  Mikolajewski.

“For me, all the steps along the way to becoming a clinical psychologist have been meaningful  accomplishments, from getting into grad school, to publishing articles, to getting licensed, to  getting hired as faculty. You have to celebrate all the good stuff! The accomplishment I am most  proud of is being awarded an NIH Career Development Award. It is very rewarding to  work hard on a grant application and have experts in your field see the value in your plans and  ideas. That said, I could not have done it alone. My mentors, Dr. Michael Scheeringa and Dr.  Paul Frick, as well as numerous other consultants and colleagues have been incredibly helpful and generous with their time. Building an amazing network and being surrounded by brilliant scholars has been one of the best parts of the job.”







Dr. Rizzuto Named Interim Director of the LSU School of Leadership & HRD

Dr. Tracey Rizzuto, expert in industrial–organizational psychology, has been appointed the  interim director of the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development by the Louisiana State University College of Human Sciences & Education.

Dr. Rizzuto is the associate director of the School of Leadership & Human Resource  Development at LSU. She is the Mary Ethel Baxter Lipscomb Memorial Endowed Professor of Human Resource, Leadership, and Organizational Development.

“Rizzuto has taken an active role in research that benefits local and state interests, such as  workplace disaster recovery through the Katrina Aid and Relief Effort (KARE), the Baton Rouge  Choice Initiative, and smart policing and prosecution initiatives like the Baton Rouge Area  Violence Elimination (BRAVE) program and Crime Strategies Unit (CSU),” noted officials.

Dr. Rizzuto is associated with over $9M in grant from state and federal sources including NSF,  the U.S. Department of Interior, and Department of Education and Department of Justice, said  the officials. “Her research is published in journals across disciplines including psychology,  management, information systems, sociology, and education, and has been featured in popular media outlets such as The New York Times, National Public Radio’s Market Place and American Public Radio Works. She was also a 2015 TEDxLSU speaker.”

Dr. Rizzuto received her PhD from Pennsylvania State University in industrial and organizational psychology, with a minor concentration in information systems and technology. The over-arching focus of her research program is on developing human capital and organizational  capacity through technology-mediated processes, with the goal of increasing access to the knowledge, expertise, and resources needed to manage change in the modern workplace. Her  secondary research interests include workforce aging issues and understanding change  reactions to workplace disasters.

“The School of Leadership & Human Resource Development is critical in achieving the college  mission to improve quality of life across the lifespan, and I am confident that our students,  programs, and faculty research will thrive under her leadership during this time of transition,”  said Dean Roland Mitchell.

In her current role, Dr. Rizzuto is hoping to recruit additional professionals to help her with growing research responsibilities. According to the job announcement, she is recruiting a social  science researcher as a project coordinator/post doc for several NSF-funded, multi-year, multi-institutional projects that study and enhance the diversity of graduate students and  professionals across a variety of workplace settings.








Veto Override Fails by Two Votes – Women’s Sports at Center of Political Clash in SB 156

In a clash of ideologies and efforts to discern whether the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”  would promote discrimination or protect against reverse discrimination, the Louisiana House of Representatives failed to override the Governor’s veto, sending SB 156 to the dust bin.

The measure, authored by Senator Beth Mizell, would have had the effect of prohibiting  transgender females, those assigned as male at birth, from competing in traditional women’s  sports.

In the 2021 regular legislative session, SB 156 easily passed both the Senate (29–6–4) and the House (78–19–8).

But on June 22, Gov. Edwards announced he had vetoed the bill, stating “… discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana.” And, “Further, it would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health.”

On July 20 the Legislature convened a veto override session for the first time since the 1974  constitution. Sources report a primarily reason for the session was to override the veto on Mizell’s SB 156.

The Senate narrowly overcame the veto with a 26–12–1vote. However, the House vote, 68–30-6,  fell two votes short of the super majority needed to override the Governor’s veto.

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

The conflict is likely in response to the national level legislation, H.R. 5, “Equality Act,” submitted  in the US Congress and passed at the federal level by the House. The Equality Act would allow  those assigned at birth as males to compete as females following gender reassignment. H.R. 5  is waiting a vote in the US Senate.

Idaho was the first state to react, passing a “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” in 2020, which  requires transgender student-athletes to compete based on their gender assigned at birth. The  American Civil Liberties Union has sued to block the law’s enforcement, but a number of states  have followed Idaho’s example. These include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, and West Virginia. According to the data from the Progressive Action Fund, 25  similar bills have been introduced at last count.

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

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

The two sides presented their ideas in the committee. In the original Senate Committee  hearing, during the spring legislative session, Senator Mizell opened her arguments by highlighting the advancements made by female athletes since Title IX and the 70s.

“The strides that have been made for women athletes to reach the pinnacle of where they are  now is something that we should not take for granted and allow that to be lost.”

Mizell gave the example of Chelsea Mitchell from Connecticut, where transgender athletes  have  captured 15 titles that previously belonged to nine different girls. Chelsea Mitchell  reported it to be a “devastating experience” that impacted her college scholarship opportunities.

Sheila Thompson Johnson, high school and college player, coach and Athletic Director at  Louisiana College said she was a product of Title IX and would never have gone to college  without her scholarship. She said there are very few spots for girls at the top and she wants to
“…preserve the fair and equal opportunities guaranteed to them by federal law…”

Glason Bernard, LSU graduate and track and field athlete also spoke. Both he and Johnson said  they feel strongly that there are biological differences between men and women that cannot be dismissed.

Also speaking in support of Mizell’s bill was a representative from Louisiana Association of Superintendents, and a football coach and member of Louisiana High School Athletic  Association (LHSAA).

The Executive Director for the LHSAA spoke and stated that the Association has a policy and  position paper regarding this situation and the association is in support of the bill.

Senator Katrina Jackson asked if the policy includes those males who go through gender  therapy and become trans females. “Can they then qualify to compete in the females group?”

He answered yes, “That’s in the position paper.” Jackson pointed out that LHSAA has a  conflicting statement between the bylaws and the policy and Sen. Mizell’s bill would clear that up. He agreed.

Sen. Jackson referenced a study noting that the transgender individual still has a  9% advantage over their biological female counterparts. “I’ve looked for studies, talked to physicians, and when I looked at this bill. I looked at affirming hormone therapy and would that  change the athletic ability, […] to basically level out the playing field. And what the journals are telling me is–no. That’s where I get a concern.”

Testifying in opposition to the bill was Dr. Clifton Mixon, member of the Louisiana Psychological  Association’s legislative committee, Sarah Jane Guidry, executive director of Forum for Equality,  Dr. Melissa Flournoy, chair of Louisiana Progress Action, Dylan Wagues back from True Colors  United, Alexis Canfield from STAR, and Chris Kaiser from the ACLU of Louisiana.

Dr. Mixon said, “I want to clarify some of the misstatements. First of all, this bill is about  discrimination. It is about something that is not a problem currently. And I want to highlight a  couple of statements I heard that evidences what underlies this bill. ‘You don’t get to play God.’ I think is a direct attack against transgender persons,” he said.

“Also, calling people biological males instead of identifying them as females inherently identifies your opposition and the authenticity of them being who they are.” Dr. Mixon talked about the  impact that this bill will have on the psychological development of all girls, not just transgender girls. He indicated that he worked closely with endocrinologists and encouraged Senator Mizel  and others to “… continue to listen and learn.”

Sarah Jane Guidry, Executive Director for Forum for Equality, Louisiana’s LGBTQ human rights  organization, also spoke in opposition. She cited statistics on how difficult and how much harassment transgender individuals experience in school. 

Dr. Melissa Flournoy, chair of the Louisiana Progress Action, said that she does not feel that the legislation is necessary, that there has been no issues in Louisiana.

Dylan Waguespack, Director at Cindy Lauper‘s nonprofit True Colors United, said the bill goes too far on these issues and needs further work.

Alexis Canfield, from STAR, discussed the psychological impact on transgender individuals and  Chris Kaiser, with the ACLU of Louisiana, spoke on the potential for discrimination against  transgender individuals.

During the testimony, Sen. Katrina Jackson suggested that Dr. Mixon had inferred that anyone who votes for this bill was “transphobic.” Jackson said she did not want anyone thinking she was transphobic, that this was about protecting women’s athletics, and that people of certain faiths  may see the issue differently.

Ultimately Jackson voted against overriding the Governor’s veto. In a July 21 press release, she  explained that she and others voted to sustain the governors veto “… based on a technicality  that undermined the existing policy from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. In the  announcement, Senators Barrow and Jackson, and Representatives Johnson, Brown, Cormier,  and Moore, jointly stated that, “The current LHSAA policy is more restrictive and allowing this  bill to move forward would have undermined the current rules.”







Governor Urges Precautions as Louisiana Hits Record Covid Cases

On July 27, the Governor said that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Louisiana both hit records, and urged individuals to take immediate precautions for their own and others’ safety.

The Louisiana Department of Health announced 6,797 new COVID-19 cases reported to the state since July 26, 2021, the second highest single-day case count reported since January 6, 2021 (6,882 cases reported that day). Also, 1,390 people have been hospitalized, the largest single-day increase since March 2020.

“To see this current rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is becoming increasingly scary,”  said Gov. Edwards. “We reported nearly 6,800 cases today in addition to the nearly 8,000 that  were reported from the weekend. And today, there are close to 1,400 COVID patients hospitalized statewide …approximately 90 percent of whom are unvaccinated. This is the largest single daily increase since March of last year.

“As I said recently, this surge is on us, and that means it is up to each of us to do our part to bring it to an end. It’s within our power. Getting vaccinated is the best way to stay safe and healthy during this pandemic. It is the best way to put it behind us. In addition, I am  recommending that everyone, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks while indoors if six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.”

“COVID is surging in Louisiana and it is not slowing down. As the dangerous and dominant Delta  variant continues to spread and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to skyrocket, we urge all individuals in Louisiana to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr.  Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer.

“Mask while indoors and get tested if you suspect you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. These are  public health emergency measures that will limit death and suffering during this fourth surge.”

In a press release on July 16, officials said:

•The number of new cases diagnosed each day in Louisiana has been increasing since June 16  and is now increasing in all nine regions of the state; 

• The settings with the greatest outbreak increases included camps, child day cares, religious services and restaurants;

• In addition to the widespread circulation of the more transmissible Delta variant, insufficient  masking and distancing, especially among unvaccinated individuals, are also contributing to the  spread of COVID-19 in these settings.

On July 30, the Governor’s office disclosed that two members of Gov. Edwards’ team have  tested positive for COVID-19, according to the press release.

Both are at home in isolation, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health, according to the press release.+

The Governor’s office has a high rate of fully vaccinated staff, including these staffers who were  vaccinated against COVID earlier this year, according to the press release.

While breakthrough cases such as these do happen, they typically do not result in serious  illness.

The Governor’s Office practices all CDC and LDH recommended COVID mitigation measures,  including indoor masking, quarantine and isolation, and COVID testing after exposure, according to the press release.







Gov. Signs Budget Bill, Investing in Higher Education

In June, Gov. Edwards signed the budget bill, announcing that the measure invests in many of  the Governor’s key priorities, including increased funding for education, promoting continued  economic recovery from the pandemic, and creating substantial new investments in  infrastructure. 

“In terms of higher education,” said the Governor, “the budget supports a $19.8 million faculty  pay raise, and additional $14.5 million in the funding formula for both four and two year  institutions, fully funds TOPS as well as a historic $11.1 million increase in GO Grant funding. All of this is critical to supporting our educational systems as we come out of a challenging year  and creating first class learning environments in Louisiana,” the Governor said.

According to the press release, Louisiana’s budget uses federal coronavirus recovery dollars in the state’s ongoing response and long-term resurgence following the pandemic, without  creating structural budget issues in the future. Because of these increased revenues, teachers  will receive an $800 pay raise and school support workers will receive a $400 pay raise. These raises are not enough, said the Governor, but they are another critical step forward in reaching our goal of getting teacher pay back to the Southern regional average.

“The budget I signed today is a far cry from past years, thanks to increased revenues and additional federal funding to support the state’s recovery from the pandemic,” Gov. Edwards said. “It makes significant investments in education at every level, provides support for families  on Medicaid, those living with disabilities, foster families and adoptive parents working with the  Department of Children and Family Services, and promotes access to important services for the  elderly. It invests in infrastructure, economic development, public safety and our continued  efforts to reform Louisiana’s criminal justice system.

“Thanks to bipartisan cooperation and a commitment to responsible budgeting, Louisiana  enters the next fiscal year more resilient and ready to resume robust economic growth.”

In related news, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) pointed out its list of  bills passed by the legislature that LABI leaders said can change the Louisiana business climate  for the better.

“This has been an extremely collaborative session where legislators worked together to develop innovative solutions for the good of the people of Louisiana,” said Stephen Waguespack,  resident of LABI.

The association pointed out positive legislation for tax reform, transportation infrastructure funding, school choice appeals process, school funding transparency, paycheck protection, and  a ban on deceptive attorney advertising. 

“The bills passed this session— with great bi-partisan support— will untangle Louisiana’s confusing tax code and improve the business climate for those in our state as well as those looking to invest here. While tax reform and infrastructure funding were front-and-center in the public’s eye this session, we can’t overlook some of these long-sought solutions to problems  plaguing our business community. These are major milestones on the path toward economic  opportunity in Louisiana,” said Waguespack.








Gov. Edwards Vetoes Sen. Mizell’s Bill on Women’s Sports

On June 22, Gov. Edwards announced he had vetoed Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session. The bill, known as the Fairness in Women’s  Sports Act, sought to prevent transgender girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and  postsecondary schools. Gov. Edwards issued the following statement:

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value,  and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even  the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single  case where this was an issue.

Further, it would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health. We should be looking for  more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens. And while there is no issue to be solved by  this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional  championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill.”

Senator Beth Mizell’s controversial SB 156, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”, passed both  chambers. The final passage in the House on May 27 was 78 yeas, 19 nays, and 8 absent. The Senate vote was 29 yeas, 6 nays, and 4 absent. It has been sent to the Governor.

During the process numerous co-authors signed onto the measure.

The measure would have required an athletic team or sporting event sponsored by an  elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational institution to be designated, based upon  the biological sex of team members, as only one of the following:

(1) A males’, boys’, or men’s team;
(2) A females’, girls’, or women’s team;
(3) A coeducational or mixed team or event for students who are biological males or biological  females.

SB 156 would have prohibited a team designated for females, girls, or women from being open  to students who are not biologically female.

LSBEP Legislation Passes Senate with Some “Work”

House Bill 477, the legislation put forth by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, passed out of the Senate committee after amendments were agreed on and several Senators had their questions answered. The measure passed the Senate floor on May  26 with a vote of 37 to 0.

The measure, authored by Representative Joe Stagni, was a compromise measure following the  downsizing of a 23-page bill introduced by the psychology board in 2020 and then again this  year. Under pressure from opponents, the board agreed to substitute a fee bill, telling sources  that without the increased fees the board would not be able to operate in the future. This  message resonated with the majority of those attending a special meeting of the Louisiana Psychological Association called for by petition of those opposing the measure.

On the Senate floor, an amendment was attached to the bill by Alexandria Sen. Jay Luneau to  rename the 2009 Act 251. Luneau’s amendment names Act No. 251 of the 2009 Regular Session  “The Dr. James W. Quillin, MP, Medical Psychology Practice Act.” This came after the unexpected passing of Dr. Quillin, also from the Alexandria Pineville area, on May 25. The  amendment appeared to prompt numerous additional authors to sign on to the measure.

The digest of the bill as finally passed by the Senate includes the following:

• adds that the board shall charge an application fee for each assistant to a psychologist that  shall not exceed $50;

• adds that the board shall set a renewal fee not to exceed $50 for every assistant to a  psychologist which shall be paid in accordance with present law;

• provides that the board shall assess an application and renewal fee to an individual who sponsors a continuing professional development course or activity and who wishes for the board to review and pre-approve the course or activity. Further provides the application and renewal fee shall not exceed $250;

• provides that the board shall assess an application fee to a licensee who seeks renewal and pre-approval of a continuing professional development course or activity and shall not exceed $25. The application fee shall only apply if a licensee intends to earn a credit for a course or activity in which the sponsor has not sought review or obtained approval by the board;

• stipulates that the board may collect reasonable admission fees from a licensee who attends  a continuing professional development course or activity. Such fee may be collected for any course or activity that is offered, sponsored, or co-sponsored by the board. Proposed law  further provides that the board shall not require attendance for a course or activity which may  be offered, sponsored, or co-sponsored. Such activity shall be an elective for a licensee who  chooses to attends;

• proposed law provides that the board may assess fees not to exceed $200 for the following special services identified by the board: (1) Application for authority to conduct telesupervision.  (2) Application for an inactive license or renewal license status. (3) Application for emeritus  status and renewal. (4) Any written or computer-generated license verification. (5) Any written  or computer-generated disciplinary report. (6) To obtain a duplicate license. (7) To obtain a  duplicate renewal certificate. (8) To obtain a mail list.

The Legislative Fiscal Office note indicates that the changes should total to $78,750 per year.  The office estimates that $50,000 of this amount will come from continuing professional development preapproval applications. The estimate includes 200 annual applications multiplied by $250 each. The Office also estimates initial registration of unlicensed assistants  will grow to 420 and produce revenue of $21,000. The report says this is based on a survey by  the board finding that one sixth of licensees report the use of assistants.

At the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on May 20, Senator Stagni introduced the bill  saying that the psychology board was important and it was having financial problems.

LSBEP Executive Director, Jaime Monic, and Dr. Erin Reuther, current President of the Louisiana Psychological Association, testified in favor of the bill.

Reuther said that “Our membership did hold a meeting last week and it was specifically to discuss this bill and we had record attendance at that meeting and over 72% of the members present at that meeting voted to support this legislation.“

Sen. Mills asked how many license holders in Louisiana and how many of those were  represented in the association. Dr. Reuther answered that there were about 800 licensees and
about a little over 200 represented in the association.

Sen. Barrow asked about the composition of the board. She also asked if the bill was something  the board came up with and then submitted to the membership and then the
membership voted on it.

Dr. Reuther said, “So actually this was a collaborative process, over the last 18 months with all  the major stakeholders in the state including the state board of examiners, the Louisiana Psychological Association, and Louisiana School Psychological Association.”

Sen. McMath asked, “How much money do you think you need?“

Ms. Monic answered, “Most boards that are fully operational and fully funded or able to have
enough in reserves have up to $500-$1 million.“

Sen. McMath asked, “What else do you spend it on other than legal fees?” 

Ms. Monic replied that legal and employees are the major expenses other than office space.

Sen. Stagni said that the psychology board is one of the few professions he knows of that does not fine their doctors and recover their costs. “They have a real crisis,” Sen. Stagni said.

Sen. Mills asked about the definition of the assistant. And also said that he intends to ask the  committee for some clarity. He asked for Ms. Brandi Cannon, Senior Attorney with the Committee, to testify or ask questions in order to “… see if there are pitfalls in moving without more clarification.”

Ms. Cannon said, “So the concern would be that where the law doesn’t currently provide for assistants, this would simply create a new registration class.

“So our concern would be there, that it is fine to put a fee there, but you also need a  substantive provision for this to put the parameters…

“The legislature can tell the board to go and further refine it but we need to create it first. This is a fee bill so you are really trying to avoid substantive provisions potentially.”

Sen. Stagni said he thought the provisions for assistants already existed and Ms. Monic agreed, commenting that supervisory personnel already exist in the statute.

Ms. Cannon asked, “Does it provide for the registration?” and Sen. Stagni said no. Then Cannon said, “So what you’re doing is creating a new registration class.” She said that there must be  clear legislative direction or it “will be open to challenge.”

“We need sign posts, so we have Legislative direction, otherwise it is open to challenge that y’all, the board, would be creating law in affect with your rules. But we can work with you.”

Senator Mills said that there was some “work between here and the floor” to get those issues clarified.

He then asked about fees, saying “Up to $200 for things that are just easy to get  that information, is everyone on the same page? Because there’s some things that are on the Internet that are just click a button and also free services by the board … as where you do certain license verification and I know some boards are almost free on that and here’s a pretty hefty fee. Everybody’s okay with that?”

Ms. Monic said, “A lot of these fees are already in rulemaking yet we are requesting that they be clearly established in statute…








Sen. Mizell’s Bill on Women’s Sports Gains Wide Margin of Votes

Senator Beth Mizell’s controversial SB 156, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”, passed both chambers.

The final passage in the House on May 27 was 78 yeas, 19 nays, and 8 absent. The Senate vote was 29 yeas, 6 nays, and 4 absent. It has been sent to the Governor.

During the process  numerous co-authors signed onto the measure.

The measure requires an athletic team or sporting event sponsored by an elementary,  secondary, or postsecondary educational institution to be designated, based upon the  biological sex of team members, as only one of the following:

(1) A males’, boys’, or men’s team or event only for students who are biological males.

(2) A females’, girls’, or women’s team or event only for students who are biological females.

(3) A coeducational or mixed team or event for students who are biological males or biological females.

SB 156 prohibits a team designated for females, girls, or women from being open to students  who are not biologically female.

It provides that, nothing in proposed law will be construed to restrict the eligibility of any  student to participate in any intercollegiate, interscholastic, or intramural athletic teams or  sports designated as “males”, “men”, or “boys” or designated as “coed” or “mixed”.

Nothing in proposed law is intended to prevent any school from implementing or maintaining a coed athletic team or sporting event which is open to both biological males and biological  females so long as a female athletic team or sporting event is not disbanded for the purpose of  creating a coed team or event which would thereby result to the detriment of biological female students.








Dr. Jim Quillin Dies May 25

Dr. James Quillin passed  away May 25 after a short battle with cancer. He died peacefully at his home surrounded by his loved ones, according to the authors of the online obituary.

Dr. Quillin was the undisputed leader of the movement to provide specially trained  psychologists with “prescriptive authority” or RxP. In 2004, many viewed him as the mastermind that behind an almost impossible achievement––the political maneuvering that gave Louisiana  medical psychologists, and the state psychology board, the right to prescribe medication.

The achievement of Louisiana becoming the second state for psychologists to prescribe was  applauded by national groups including the American Psychological Association.

In 2009 Dr. Quillin led a second and successful effort to give medical psychologists more  autonomy by moving them under the medical board, known as Act 251. This Act is being  renamed in honor of Dr. Quillin in the current 2021 legislative session.

Dr. Quillin was the leader of the Louisiana Academy of Medical Psychologists, commonly  referred to as LAMP, and had also served as president of the Louisiana Psychological  Association and as the legislative chair for that organization for many years.

Dr. Quillin was a resident of Pineville Louisiana and attended Louisiana College and  Northwestern State University. He earned his doctoral degree from the University of Southern  Mississippi and was a member of the first class of graduates to obtain advanced training in  psychopharmacology.

Memorial article is to follow next month.








Gov. Edwards Signs Ex. Order for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Task Force

Last month, as the nation recognized May 5, 2021 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women  and Girls Awareness Day, Gov Edwards signed a proclamation declaring the same in Louisiana as well as an executive order creating the Governor’s Task Force on Murdered and  Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

The Task Force will proactively address the myriad causes of MMIWG and recommend  solutions  that can be implemented to protect Indigenous women and girls. Indigenous women suffer murder rates ten-times the national average, one in three will be raped in their lifetimes,  and some 84 percent will be the victims of violence.

This task force seeks to raise public awareness about the ongoing crisis of violence against  indigenous women, said the announcement.

“We must remember that each victim is much more than a number but a loved one, whose  family and friends are searching for answers,” said Gov. Edwards.

“There is a need for urgent action in order to combat this tragedy. Louisiana has a rich  Indigenous heritage with four federally recognized Indian tribes and 11 state recognized tribes. I am grateful that this issue has been brought to the forefront. Louisiana is committed to  partnering with federal, state, interstate, and intertribal efforts to address the injustice and  violence done to indigenous women residing within our nation and our state.”

“This is such a serious issue, and I’m grateful to Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Chairman David  Sickey and others leaders who have been working tirelessly to bring attention to this injustice,”  said First Lady Donna Edwards. “We are committed to doing all we can to help fight this  heartbreaking crime.”








COVID-19 Hospitalizations Drop to their Lowest Point Gov. Edwards Signs Updated Public Health Emergency Order Ending Most Restrictions


Following months of improvement in COVID-19 hospitalizations and with nearly three million  vaccine doses administered, Gov. Edwards signed an updated public health emergency order
last week that removes all remaining business capacity restrictions and the vast majority of masking requirements. The announcement said Louisiana hit its lowest level of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the very early days of the pandemic.”

For nearly 15 months, Louisiana has operated under necessary public health restrictions designed to save lives by slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Edwards said. “Thanks to the wide availability of vaccines and the 1.4 million Louisianans who already have gone sleeves up and after hitting a new low in hospitalizations, the order I have signed today contains the fewest  state-mandated restrictions ever, though local governments and businesses may still  and should feel empowered to take precautions that they see as necessary and prudent,  including mandating masks. To be clear: COVID-19 is not over for our state or for our country.  Anyone who has gotten the vaccine is now fully protected and can enter summer with  confidence.”

According to the newest order, masks will be required in educational settings until the end of  the current academic semester at which time state and local oversight boards will set their own  masking policies. The Louisiana Department of Health will continue to revise guidance and  masking recommendations for summer camps, following CDC guidance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it was safe for vaccinated people to not wear masks in most settings.

Under order of the State Health Officer, masks continue to be required in healthcare settings, which is a federal mandate. In addition, masks are required on public transportation and in jails
and prisons, as per federal guidance.

Local governments and businesses may choose to have stronger restrictions than the state does and the Governor encourages Louisianans to respect all local or business mandates,  especially when it comes to masking.

The Governor, the Louisiana Department of Health, the CDC and numerous public health officials recommend that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear a face mask in public and  when they are with people outside of their households to reduce their likelihood of contracting  COVID19.

Right now, there are three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines widely available in nearly 1,500  locations across Louisiana. All Louisianans 18 and older are eligible for any of the approved  vaccines. Louisianans between the ages of 12 and 17 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only.

According to the CDC, more than 1.4 million Louisianans are fully vaccinated, around 30.5 percent of the population. The most vaccinated population, by age, is people 65 and older. Nearly 72 percent of people 65 and older in Louisiana are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

On May 14, Gov. Edwards announced that those who are fully vaccinated no longer have to  wear masks indoors except in certain situations including: educational facilities, public transit,  correctional settings, and health care facilities as regulated by LDH. The Gov noted that a  growing number of studies on the COVID vaccines have shown the following: More than 90% effective in real-world settings at preventing mild and severe disease, hospitalization, and death; Effective against the variants currently circulating in the country and state; Those who  are vaccinated are less likely to spread the virus.

There are currently about 1,500 locations in Louisiana that offer the COVID-19 vaccine. For  questions, find a provider or event call the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 855-453-0774.







Researchers from Across Louisiana Present Their Work

Regional groups of the American Psychological Association––the Southwestern and the Southeastern Psychological Associations–– held their conferences in March and April.

Psychological scientists, psychologists, and student researchers from across Louisiana presented their work with a host of interesting research projects, some completed and some in
progress. We review the topics and presenters for this issue.

Southwestern Psychological Association

Lake Charles Research Consortium

The Lake Charles research consortium includes scientists from Lake Charles, McNeese,
University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM), and others. For this conference, those in the group included Lawrence S. Dilks, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist from Rehabilitation  Neuro-psychology, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, PhD, also from Rehabilitation Neuro-psychology, Charles Short, B.A., also from Rehabilitation Neuropsychology.

Also in the group are Burton J. Ashworth, PhD, from University of Louisiana at Monroe, Larry Wayne Mize, graduate student, Lacy Davis Hitt and Reshmi M. Maharjan Dena Matzenbacher, Department Head at McNeese State University, Kevin L. Yaudes, Assistant Professor at McNeese State University, Logan Guillory, Logan Guillory, Kyle Trenton Godeaux Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, and Mika Danielle Eidson, all from McNeese, are part of this group.

And also Billie Clare Myers, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches Louisiana, is included.

The members presented a SWPA Symposium, “How to Gain Admission to a Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology,” was presented by Dr. Burton Ashworth, Dr. Kimberly Hutchinson; Dr.  Lawrence Dilks; Dr. Billie Myers; and Logan Guillory. They covered, “Upcoming changes in internship and licensing requirements imposed by APA and APPIC will make entry into an approved doctoral program much more complicated and difficult. With so many applicants,  your training, practicum experiences, research, and application must be carefully crafted. “

A Symposium, “10 Things Every Practicum Student Needs to Know About Privacy and HIPPA, was presented by Billie Myers, Burton Ashworth, Kimberly Hutchinson, Lawrence Dilks and Logan Guillory.

Lawrence S. Dilks also presented a Symposium: “How to Start a Private Practice with Your Master’s Degree.” Presenters included Burton Ashworth, Kimberly Hutchinson, Billie Myers, and Logan Guillory.

The topic covered was, “APA’s endorsement of licensing masters level providers will change the clinical environment in ways we cannot yet appreciate. In the next decade hundreds of individuals will acquire their masters, complete the supervision period, and pass the EPPP.  These professionals will then endeavor to open private practices and offer psychological  services to the general public. In a number of places, especially Texas, the regulations are already in place.”

In poster presentations, “Gottschalk-Gleser Content Analysis Scales of Prominent Leaders in History,” was authored by  Burton J. Ashworth, Larry Wayne Mize, Kimberly S.  Hutchinson,and Lawrence S. Dilks.

According to the abstract, researchers chose to investigate both the manifest and latent content of the words spoken by a few of the world’s historically prominent people. Mother Theresa’s  content analysis suggested she experienced moderately high guilt anxiety. Jesus of Nazareth’s beatitudes suggest this man had moderately elevated levels (2 standard deviations above  norm) of achievement motivation and very high levels of hope (above 3 SDs), having the highest  score among the six at 4.014 followed by Ronald Reagan with a 3.304 level and the lowest hope score by Adolph Hitler at 0.116. Martin Luther King presented with significantly elevated levels of death anxiety, which proved to be appropriate, and which was comparable to Jesus’ death anxiety. The data suggest both men knew they were candidates for assassination.

“Salivary Cortisol Levels During I-Leap Testing,” was presented and authored by Burton J.  Ashworth, Larry Wayne Mize, Lacy Davis Hitt, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, and  Charles Short.

“Associating Brodmann Areas and Neuropsychological Tests to Facilitate Understanding of Deficits,” was authored by Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Burton J. Ashworth, Dena Matzenbacher, Kevin L. Yaudes, Logan Guillory, anCharles Short.

For “Significance of Perceived Parental Warmth in Early Childhood Educational Development,”  authors include Burton J. Ashworth and Eshmi M. Maharjan, also Larry Wayne Mize, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Logan Guillory, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, and Mika Danielle Eidson. The results suggest that the adolescents who grow up in a  demanding but unresponsive type of family adopt the visual strategy of learning. These people learn best through description and prefer use of figures, pictures, and symbols such as graphs, flow charts or models.

For “Identifying the Demographic Factors of Elderly Adults Receiving Social Security Disability”  and Part 1 & 2, authors are Logan Guillory from McNeese State University, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Reshmi M. Maharjan n, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Mika Danielle Eidson, and Larry Wayne Mize. The  results showed multiple variables without any one factor being a specific precursor that  someone would be diagnosed with a disorder resulting in disability.

In “Identifying Seizures and Hypertension as Predictors for Bipolar I Disorder,” authors are Logan Guillory, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Reshmi M. Maharjan, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Mika Danielle Eidson, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost,   Larry Wayne Mize.

“Emotional Regulation: Self Esteem Impact on Anger in College Age Students,” is by Burton J.  Ashworth, Reshmi M. Maharjan, Larry Wayne Mize, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Lawrence S. Dilks, Logan Guillory, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, and Mika Danielle Eidson. The  results of this study suggests that higher levels of selfesteem significantly decrease manifestation of anger. 

“Associating Brodmann Areas and Neuropsychological Tests to Facilitate Understanding of Deficits,” was presented by Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Burton J. Ashworth, Dena Matzenbacher, Kevin L. Yaudes, Logan Guillory, and Charles Short. According to the abstract, “The final product is a chart depicting the interrelationship of each Brodmann area, listing of its  neurological functions, related functional deficits and neuropsychological tests that best assess these functions. Five Broadman areas do not correlate with known human neuroanatomy and  therefore were not addressed.”

“Traumatic Brain Injury: Analyzing the Different Degrees of Impairment after Injury,” was  presented. Authors are Logan Guillory, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Mika Danielle Eidson,  Reshmi M. Maharjan and Larry Wayne Mize. This experiment seeks to look at the varying degrees of brain functioning among those who have suffered a TBI.”

The same authors presented, “The Relationship between Traumatic Brain Injuries and Onset of PTSD.” This experiment seeks to look at the different rates of brain functioning among those who have suffered a TBI as well as the likelihood of developing PTSD. Researcher seed to help  explain who is more likely to make a full recovery.

“A Case Presentation of Dandy-Walker Syndrome,” was presented and authored by Kimberly S.  Hutchinson, Lawrence S. Dilks, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Logan Guillory, Larry Wayne Mize, Reshmi M. Maharjan, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost and Mika  Danielle Eidson.

Louisiana Tech

Matthew Young from Louisiana Tech University and faculty sponsor Tilman Sheets presented, “Examining Expressive and Instrumental Traits as Predictors  of Emotional Empathy,” as part of the SWPA Undergraduate Student Competition.

From the abstract, “Over the past three decades, empathy has been decreasing in young adults.  Along with generational changes to empathy, society’s understanding of gender has been changing.” Conclusions included, “Expressivity as a predictor indicates that the empathy  difference may be due to the influence of gender stereotypes and norms. Other important factors may be biology and empathy aversion.”

“Does Generativity Explain Conservatives’ Environmental Attitudes?” was presented by Christina  Cantu, Graduate Assistant at LaTech, along with other numerous researchers from University of Texas and University of North Texas.

McNeese State

“Students’ Perceptions of Factors That Influence Academic Success,” was presented by Linda  Loraine Brannon, Ph.D. from McNeese State University, along with Dena Matzenbacher,  Department Head at McNeese State University, and Haden Paul Cooley, also representing   McNeese State University. “Our research will provide such information about a more extensive  list of factors contributing to college success and also allow for identification of external factors  not included in previous research.”


Researchers at Southeastern Louisiana University, under the guidance and direction of Dr.  Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, presented numerous research articles in projects at the Southwestern  Psychological Association convention. Dr. Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan leads The  Research Incubator for Psychology Students (RIPS) “The Impact of Life Events on Body Image,”  was authored by Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S., Christian Olivia Ledet, Savannah Hays, Jade Renee Horton, and Katherine A. Hernandez, Southeastern Louisiana University.

“Preliminary results indicate that females experience higher levels of body image  concern, lower body appreciation and lower self-esteem than male participants, but males  experience more concerns about muscularity. Males reported more dissatisfaction with their  exercise habits than their eating habits or weight. Females were dissatisfied with their eating,  exercise and weight.”

“Political Attitudes of Neutral Party Affiliation and Non-Voters,” was presented by authors Paula  J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., Danielle Eliser, B.A. and Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S.

According to  the abstract, the study was to examine the opinions and attitudes of no affiliation or non- voters. Data collection has just begun––to date, 122 participants have completed the survey.  Across all affiliations, time was indicated as the biggest impediment to voting. No  differences were found for political orientation and the Dark Triad characteristics. Results are preliminary and data collection is ongoing.”

For, “Political Attitudes of Neutral Party Affiliation and NonVoters (Part 2): The Impact of an Impending Election,” authors are Danielle Eliser, B.A., Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., and Cherie Nicole Arthur, B.A.

“Is Stigmatization of Anorexia Nervosa Impacted by Degree of Weight Loss or the Visual Depiction of Weight Status?” was presented by authors Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S., Christian Olivia Ledet, Peter Brent Schneckenburger, and Garrett Voison.

“Impact of Social Support on Academic Success,” was presented by authors Danielle Eliser, B.A.,  Elise Laurent, Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., and Cherie Nicole Arthur, B.A.

“Does Drug Type Impact the Stigmatization of Substance Use Disorder? was presnted by  authors Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S., Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., and Danielle Eliser, B.A.

University of Louisiana– Lafayette

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette had several research labs presenting their findings and their projects at this year’s convention. Brooke Ozenne Breaux, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette presented, “Searching for truth: Truth decay, epistemic  beliefs, and individual differences.” Authors included Ariel Ruiz and Trey M. Delcambre.

“We found some evidence to suggest that authority but not tenacity is likely to be a factor that  college students use as evidence of truth. As for the role of individual differences, we found that responses to individual items did not differ significantly based on age, race/ethnicity, college  major, or political affiliation.”

For, “Factors that influence the production of death-related language,” authors are Brooke Ozenne Breaux, Marissa Claire Pitt, Marissa Pitt, Peyton Delaney Corwin, Tayla Patrice Weary, Brionne Wright, and Krystal Ariana Dean. “…we argue that spirituality is useful for predicting the type of language that people will produce when they are put into situations where talking about death cannot be avoided; […]”

“Is ‘fake news’ just a new name for propaganda?” was part of the Online Cognitive Psychology  Talk Session 1. Authors are Brooke Ozenne Breaux, Natalie Ann Dauphinet, and Robert B. Michael.

“We conclude that even though there is evidence of significant overlap between the two terms in the minds of speakers, the terms ‘fake news’ and “propaganda” are not typically viewed as synonymous. Adding complexity to this finding is that the way people define these terms can  differ based on their political affiliation, with liberals more likely to view the terms as distinct  and to view propaganda as less negative than fake news.”

Dr. Amy Brown’s research team also presented numerous studies. “The Theory of Planned Behavior: Predicting Bystanders’ Intention to Intervene,” was presented and authors are Haley N. Dunagin, Dylan Anthony John, Kade Theriot, and Amy Lynn Brown. “Our findings support the applicability of the TPB for predicting bystander intention to prevent SA.”

“Alcohol’s Role in the Association between Hooking up and Psychological Well-Being,” is authored by Dylan Anthony John, Gabriel Paul Hunter and Amy Lynn Brown.

Renee Fontenot, Lauren Neumeyer, Fatema Chowdhury Progga presented “Using measures of perceived social support to predict psychological distress.” Dr. Amy Brown was the faculty  sponsor. “The significant correlations found in this study were in line with previous research:  people with more support report less psychological distress.”

Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, and her team from University of Louisiana at Lafayette presented several  projects.

“Same Amount of Childhood Adversity but Different Health Symptoms: Two-Generation  Comparisons,” was presented by authors Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, Whitney Storey, Michelle Jeanis, PhD, Maddison Knott and Kathie Li.

“An emerging line of research has pointed to the continuity of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) across generations. […] The results indicated that the average ACE score of college  students did not differ from that of their caregivers. Moreover, ACES of the two generations were significantly correlated with each other.”

“How Stress Relates to Somatic Symptoms Varies by Attachment Anxiety,” is authored by Hung-Chu Lin, PhD, Madeline M. Jones, B.S., Maddison Knott, Whitney Storey, M. S., and Michelle  Jeanis, PhD.

“Stress and attachment anxiety were positively correlated with physical symptoms, […] The  results revealed the moderation role of attachment anxiety in the relation between stress and somatic symptoms. Considering the robust link between stress and somatic symptoms reliably reported in the literature, attachment security (low on attachment anxiety) appeared to act as a buffer against the negative impacts on somatic functioning.”

For the SWPA Graduate Student Competition, Madeline M. Jones, B.S. and Maddison Knott  authored, ” Specific ACEs items relate to mental and physical symptoms and attachment  insecurity.” Faculty Sponsors were Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, Ms. Whitney Storey, Dr. Michelle Jeanis. “These findings indicate that specific ACEs items relate to mental and physical outcomes  differently than others.”

“Differences in men’s perceived acceptability and non-conforming gender expression based on  depiction,” was presented by authors Madeline M. Jones, B.S and Hung-Chu Lin, PhD.

“Non-Judging Inner Experiences Buffer the Impact of Childhood Adversity on Somatic  Symptoms,” was presented and authored by Kathie Li, Hung-Chu Lin, PhD, and Margot Hasha, PhD, MSW.

“Results demonstrated that a higher level ACEs experienced during childhood was positively  associated with a higher level of somatic symptoms in emerging adulthood, and aspects of  mindfulness, specifically non-judging of inner experiences, served as a buffer for the negative impacts of somatic symptoms.”

Faculty member Dr. Manyu Li and her team presented several projects. “Impact of self-affirmation and perception of history on acceptance of privilege,” was presented and authored by Melanie Rochelle Cohen and Manyu Li. It is expected that participants in the self-affirmation condition will score the highest on the White Privilege Scale, those in the threat condition will score the lowest, and the relationship will be moderated by perception of history.

Authors Cheyane Mitchell and faculty sponsor Manyu Li presented, “The Impact of Race and  Gender on Sources of Belonging and Desire to Succeed.”

For “Social stigma towards people with Borderline Personality Disorder: An experimental  study,” authors are Karina Santiago, Assistant Professor University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Manyu Li.

“It is expected that the results of this randomized experimental study will allow us to see how  the label of BPD, paired with a description of varying severity of behaviors will affect people’s  perception of a person with BPD. “

Valanne L. MacGyvers, Ph.D. leads an active research group at Lafayette and presented  numerous papers at the convention.

MacGyvers and her team presented a SWPA Symposium, “Incorporating research projects into  a graduate course: Presenting the process and projects.” Authors and presenters were Valanne L. MacGyvers, Taylor Gage, MaKensey Sanders, Samantha R. Shurden, Madison N. Istre, Marissa Claire Pitt, Allison Liberto, anf Kristin TellezMonnery (Independent). The discussant, former  SWPA president, was Theresa Wozencraft.

Authors William Raymond Curth, Jr. and Valanne L. MacGyvers presented two projects on Harry Potter.

One was, “Harry Potter Fanship and Identity Development” was reviewed and explained.

“Fans of fictional works may incorporate aspects of those works into their identity through  identification with the characters and themes of a series. This study examines how the identities of Harry Potter fans may be associated with the series.”

For “Pilot Measure of Thematic and Fantastical Elements in the Harry Potter Series,” authors  noted, “After running the results through five levels of factor analysis, the researchers found  two distinct factors that represent Thematic and Fantastical elements.”

Authors Taylor Gage and Valanne L. MacGyvers, presented two studies on Active shooter  training. The first was, “Active Shooter Trainings: An Effectiveness Study.” According to the  abstract, this study is ongoing. “This study examined different methods of training to find the effectiveness of different trainings for college students on variables such as knowledge of  training, safety, self-efficacy, and perceived probability.”

For, “The Components of Active Shooter Training: A Content Analysis,” the researchers will “…  evaluate about 50 different ASRTP for ease of learning for children and for adults.

“Does Mental Health Trump Beauty?” was presented by authors Allison Liberto and Valanne L.  MacGyvers. The expected findings are that when participants believed the subject had a  psychopathology, they gave lower attractiveness ratings.

Authors Valanne L. MacGyvers, and Audra P. Jensen, M.S. (University of Northern Illinois) along  with Krista R. Malley and Christopher Veal of University of Louisiana at Lafayette, presented,  “Leadership and Followership: Beyond Mindset.”

According to the abstract, “It is the effective followers who actually contribute the most to  creating successful outcomes. Understanding the differences in what makes a good leader or a  good follower is an important research activity. The purpose of this research was to examine various factors of incoming college freshmen, to see which of them were associated with  leadership and followership. […] Feeling properly prepared for college, having a good work ethic  and emotional maturity are all related to both leadership and followership…”.

Authors MacGyvers, Jensen, and Veal also presented, “Mindset and parenting as predictors of  leadership and followership.”

According to the abstract, regression analyses revealed that mindset is significant in predicting  both leadership, and followership, such that the fixed mindset was associated with lower scores  on both leadership and followership. Further, maternal and paternal permissiveness significantly predicted the fixed mindset.

Valanne L. MacGyvers and David Richard Perkins, Associate Professor of Psychology, ULL,  presented, “Empathizing and systemizing as an advising tool: A pilot study.”

Authors David Richard Perkins, Mateo Chavez, and Valanne L. MacGyvers, presented, “Music  and math: The effects of key and tempo on mathematics anxiety.”

Brittany R. Milton and David Richard Perkins presented, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of an  Alcohol Education Program at UL-Lafayette.”

“Analysis of high risk groups showed that fraternity and sorority members demonstrated levels  of drinking-related behaviors at rates much higher than students not in fraternities and  sororities. […] This study offers data contributing to the larger discussion of factors influencing drinking and how to promote decreases in problematic drinking.”

Theresa Wozencraft, Ph.D., Associate Professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, joined  with her students and colleagues also to present research.

“Loss and Well-Being in Gulf Coast Natural Disaster Victims,” was authored and presented by  Alexandra Grantadam Nordman, Theresa A. Wozencraft and Manyu Li. Researchers explored  the relationship between levels of loss in a natural disaster and well-being, in a sample of  natural disaster victims residing in Louisiana or Texas. As predicted, peri-disaster WB scores were lower than current WB scores.


LSBEP Legislation Passes H&W Committee with Reservations

House Bill 477, the legislative effort put forth by the Louisiana State Board of examiners of
psychologists (LSBEP), advanced out of the House Health and Welfare Committee with a favorable vote on May 4, but with the author agreeing to make changes later as matters could continue to unfold.

Testimony was provided by LSBEP members, members of the Executive Council of the Louisiana Psychological Association (LPA), and a community member representing those in opposition to the measure.

Board Executive Director, Ms. Jaime Monic, testified to the various financial difficulties the board was experiencing and offered comparisons to other agencies.

Current board chair Dr. Amy Henke testified to the beneficial reasons for registration of assistants and commented about best practices across other states as well as other common practices contained in the measure.

LPA President Dr. Erin Reuther and Dr. Matt Holcomb also testified in favor of the
legislation. Dr. Reuther said that she and others have worked for months on collaborative solutions with the board members.

 Dr. Alan Taylor testified in opposition to the measure, commenting that there was no disagreement about the financial need, only about the best solutions. He said more communication was needed in the community.

Representative Stagni, the author of the bill, said, “Mr. Chairman you’ve heard the urgency and the need, the board is vital to the profession.

They’ve come to us and asked us for help. I would ask that you move this along. I think two days from now you’ll have an official vote by the association.

“If there is a change as to where the finances are coming from, I will do that and I commit to do  that.

“But I think this is vital. You’ve heard testimony that for 18 months that there have been members of the association and members of the board working collaboratively that would be beneficial to the profession and to the citizens so I would ask that you move this favorably and I’ll work on it as need be going to the floor.”

Sources indicate that members of the Louisiana Psychological Association petitioned their Executive Council so as to call a special meeting of the membership about the legislation.

HB 477 began as HB 458. In February 2020, a memo circulated from the Board of Examiners of Psychologists on “Possible Housekeeping Legislation.” The memo, obtained from an undisclosed source, included substantialchanges to areas of the psychology law, said the source.

A 23–page document, Senate Bill 458, outlining an ambitious set of changes to the psychology practice law was introduced on March 31, 2020.

SB 458 set out sweeping changes to the psychology law including a new set of regulations for assistants, additions to the charter of the board, changing qualifications for serving, authorizing the board to conduct continuing education, exempting the board from Open Meetings Law for investigatory meetings, and formally establishing the position and duties of the Executive Director.

However, the 2020 legislative agenda was swallowed up by the pandemic.

In the meantime, due to opposition to the original SB 458, Dr. Greg Gormanous, Chair of Legislative Affairs for LSBEP, put forth a motion in April 2020 to establish an Ad Hoc Legislative Collaborative Committee. This would include community members and have the objective seek to reach consensus about the board’s legislative goals.

The AdHoc Legislative Collaborative Committee met dozens of times, worked on numerous changes, and agreed on much of what was in the legislation, but not all, according to

The Board voted unanimously on January 28, to begin the search for a legislator to sponsor their changes to the psychology law for the 2021 legislative session.

In February LPA voiced opposition to moving the legislation ahead in 2021.

At their regular monthly meeting, March 26, the LSBEP passed a motion to proceed to file a reduced version of their legislation. Members of the LPA Council supported this step but opposition was still present elsewhere.







APA “Stress in America” Report Identifies Impacts of Pandemic

In a new “Stress in America” report, researchers for the American Psychological Association (APA) have found that the pandemic and the lockdowns are causing  with impacts to individuals’ physical and mental health. Researchers say that the impacts will persist past the physical threat of the virus.

High levels of stress reported by Americans is seriously affecting mental and physical health,
including weight gain, sleep issues and alcohol use, noted the report authors.

Adults affected most seriously included 18 to 24-yearolds, essential workers, people of color, and parents.

According to the report, Generation Z adults were the most likely group to say that their mental health has worsened compared with before the pandemic, with 46% of this group endorsing
items showing that they felt the stress.

This age group was followed by Generation Xers at 33%, and the Millennials at 31%. The  Baby Boomers fell at 28%.

Older adults, over age 76, were the least affected with only 9% declaring a stress-related problem due to the pandemic. Ironically, this group is the group that is most at risk for direct danger from the virus.

The report’s authors said that these conditions are likely to “lead to significant, long-term individual and societal consequences, including chronic illness and additional strain on the nation’s health care system.”

One major finding was weight gain. A majority of adults, 61%, reported experiencing unwanted weight changes since the start of the pandemic, with 42% saying they gained more weight than they intended. Of this group, individuals reported gaining an average of 29 pounds. The typical
gain was 15 pounds, which is the median, according to the researchers.

Another finding pointed to sleep problems. According to researchers, “Two in 3 Americans (67%) said they are sleeping more or less than they wanted to since the pandemic started. similar proportions reported less (35%) and more (31%) sleep than desired.”

Almost one fourth, 23%, of those surveyed reported that they were drinking more alcohol to cope with their stress during the pandemic.

And almost half of Americans, 47%, said that they had postponed or ignored otherwise scheduled health care services because of  the the pandemic.

Parents have been hit particularly hard. “Nearly half of parents (48%) said the level of stress in their life has increased compared with before the pandemic. More than 3 in 5 parents with children who are still home for remote learning (62%) said the same.”

“Essential workers were more than twice as likely as those who are not to have received treatment from a mental health professional (34% vs. 12%) and to have been diagnosed
with a mental health disorder since the coronavirus pandemic started (25% vs. 9%).

“Black Americans were most likely to report feelings of concern about the future. More
than half said they feel uneasy about adjusting to in-person interaction once the pandemic ends (57% vs. 51% Asian, 50%  Hispanic and 47% white).

Parents have been hit particularly hard. Reporting stress at 62% or the parents with children who are still at home for virtual education. Nearly half of all parents, 48%, said the level of stress in their life has increased compared with before the pandemic.

Researchers also identified essential workers as being at the ground zero of stress. “More than half of essential workers (54%) said they relied on a lot of unhealthy habits to get through the pandemic. Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) said their mental health has worsened. When asked about emotional support, 3 in 4 essential workers (75%) said they could have used more than they
received since the pandemic started. Essential workers were more than twice as likely as those who are not to have received treatment from a mental health professional (34% vs. 12%) and to have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder since the coronavirus pandemic started (25% vs. 9%).”

In a related report of research conducted by Sapien Labs, reported by Batya Swift Yasgur, in “New Data on Worldwide Mental Health Impact of COVID-19,” (Medscape -Mar 15, 2021), researchers studied eight English-speaking countries and 49,000 adults.

Results indicated that 57% of respondents said they have experienced some COVID19-related adversity or trauma. Researchers found that one quarter of those responding showed clinical signs of, or were at risk for a mood disorder. On the other hand, 40% described themselves as
“succeeding or thriving.”

“Those who reported the poorest mental health were young adults and individuals who experienced financial adversity or were unable to receive care for other medical conditions. Nonbinary gender and not getting enough sleep, exercise, or face-to-face socialization also increased the risk for poorer mental well-being.”

“The data suggest that there will be longterm fallout from the pandemic on the mental health front,” Tara Thiagarajan, PhD, Sapien Labs founder and chief scientist, said in a press release.

The survey, which is part of the company’s Mental Health Million project, is an ongoing research initiative that makes data freely available to other researchers. The investigators developed a “free and anonymous assessment tool,” the Mental Health Quotient.

The overall mental well-being score for 2020 was 8% lower than the score obtained in 2019 from the same countries, said the researchers. And, the percentage of respondents who fell into the “clinical” category increased from 14% in 2009 to 26% in 2020.

Residents of Singapore had the highest, most positive MHQ score, followed by residents of the United States. At the other end of the scale, respondents from the United Kingdom and South Africa had the poorest MHQ scores.

The decline in mental well-being was “most pronounced” in persons of the youngest age category (18 – 24 years), whose average MHQ score was 29% lower than those those aged ≥65 years.

Worldwide, 70% of respondents aged ≥65 years fell into the categories of “succeeding” or “thriving,” compared with just 17% of those aged 18 to 24 years. “We saw a massive trend of diminishing mental well-being in younger individuals, suggesting that some societal force is at
play that we need to get to the bottom of,” said Thiagarajan.

“Young people are still learning how to calibrate themselves in the world, and with age comes maturity, leading to a difference in emotional resilience,” she said.

The highest risk group was the nonbinary/third-gender respondents. Among those persons, more than 50% were classified as being at clinical risk. Nonbinary individuals “are universally
doing very poorly, relative to males or females,” said Thiagarajan. “This is s a demographic at very high risk with a lot of suicidal thoughts.”







Legislature to Convene April 12 LSBEP Pares Down its Legislation

At their regular monthly meeting, held online, Friday, March 26, the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists passed a motion to proceed to file a reduced version of their legislation.

Discussion by board member Chance McNeely indicated that the board is reducing it’s 29-page bill and submitting a smaller, four to six-page document, with Senator Luneau.

The reduction in bulk of items included in the originally proposed legislation may have been due to opposition voiced by the Louisiana Psychological Association.

Dr. Greg Gormanous put forth a motion that Mr. McNeely work on the bill with Executive Director Jaime Monic and the chair, Dr. Amy Henke, and then submit the legislation to be filed.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. McNeely, is the consumer member of the board and also a political consultant. Mr. McNeely said to those attending that the legislation was a fiscal bill and not a policy bill. He indicated that the bill would be immune to amendments, which has been a concern to many in the psychology community.

The language, presented by Ms. Monic on her screen, includes the registration of assistants.

“…the board shall charge an application fee for initial registration of each assistant to a psychologist not to exceed $50. The board shall adopt rules conformity with the provisions of the administrative procedure act, R.S. 49:950 et seq to implement the Provisions of this paragraph.”

The board, through their newest draft legislation, also appears to seek to place into the statutes a right for the board to provide commercial continuing education.

“The board may collect reasonable admission fees from any person or licensee who elects to attend a continuing professional development activity offered, sponsored or cosponsored by the board. Activities offered, sponsored or cosponsored by the board shall be elective for a licensee, and the board shall be prohibited from requiring attendance for any activity that is
offered, sponsored or cosponsored by the board.”

The new legislation also includes a provision so that, “The board shall assess an application and renewal fee to a sponsor of a continuing education activity who seeks review and preapproval of a continuing education course her activity. Such application and renewal fees shall not exceed $250.

“The board shall assess an application fee to an individual license he who seeks review and Preapproval of a course or activity of continuing education in an amount not to exceed twenty-five dollars.”

The legislation also provides for fees to be assessed and collected by the board such as fees for applications for the authority to conduct telesupervision, applications for inactive status or renewal, applications for Emeritus status, and fees for other special services.

Fees for other special services authorized by rulemaking appear to be included, such as fees for computer generated license verification, certified board actions, a duplicate license, a duplicate renewal certificate, mailing lists, and so forth.

The draft bill may have been provided to the Executive Council of the Louisiana Psychological Association (LPA), this based on a comment made by Dr. Michelle Moore, posting in her role as an LSBEP board member on the communications list for LPA. However, regular members of LPA have not received a copy of the draft nor has the State Board distributed IT on their email list of

The Times requested the current version of the bill and was instructed to file a formal public records request to the official office address of the Board at S. Sherwood Forest Boulevard, in Baton Rouge, and include payment.