Category Archives: News Stories

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
licensees.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Expert in Circadian Rhythms, Dr. Roberto Refinetti, takes Psychology Chair at University of New Orleans

Dr. Roberto Refinetti, biological and comparative psychologist, and international expert in circadian rhythms, is the new Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of New Orleans. Dr. Refinetti is author of Circadian Physiology, currently in its third edition, and has
published more than 200 articles in professional journals. His scientific reputation is at the top 3% of professors at research universities, and his h index = 32.

Dr. Refinetti came on board in the fall, joining UNO after many years as as a faculty member at the College of William and Mary, the University of South Carolina, and Boise State University.

He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Circadian Rhythms and of the social science journal Sexuality & Culture. And this month he also becomes the Editor-in-Chief of the biological
journal Chronobiology International. He is a Fellow of the American Physiological Society and a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, and other professional associations.

“UNO is a great university in a great location,” Dr. Refinetti said. “It is not common that a department chair can say, as I can, that he likes the university’s president, the provost, and
the dean of his college. The department of psychology has a strong biological orientation, which is something I like very much because I have always been a biological psychologist.”

Examples of his work as a biological and comparative psychologist include: “The circadian rhythm of body temperature,” in Physiology & Behavior, “Non-stationary time series and the robustness of circadian rhythms,” in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, “Relationship between the daily rhythms of locomotor activity and body temperature in eight mammalian species,” in American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, “Temporal relationships of 21 physiological variables in horse and sheep,” in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, “Variability of diurnality in laboratory rodents,” in the Journal of Comparative Physiology, “Entrainment of circadian rhythm by ambient temperature cycles in mice,” in the Journal of Biological Rhythms, and “Amplitude of the daily rhythm of body temperature in eleven mammalian species,” in Journal of Thermal Biology.

Dr. Refinetti is also a favorite with the popular media, having been interviewed by BBC Website, Stossel TV, CBC Radio-Canada, Nature, KTVB NBC News, The Register, Quanta Magazine, Men’s Fitness Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Newsweek Special Editions, Parents Magazine, Parents Magazine, Veterinary Technician, Discovery News, and many others.

Dr. Refinetti has served as a consultant for numerous newspaper and television reporters preparing articles or shows such as the following:

An article on circadian rhythms for Newsweek Special Editions
An article on jet-lag prevention for Atlantic Media’s Quartz
An article on why humans have sex at night for Gizmodo
An article on best time of day for working for Wired Magazine
A documentary on circadian rhythms and hypothetical cataclysmic events for the
Science Channel

His plans for the psychology department at UNO are ongoing. “The department is
relatively small, with eight full-time faculty members, but most faculty members are in
the early stages of their careers, which means that I can make a big difference in their professional lives, and that’s a satisfying feeling,” Dr. Refinetti said.

“My immediate plans are to provide strong support for the faculty, so that they can succeed in their teaching and research, and to make necessary adjustments in the curriculum to ensure that both the undergraduate and the graduate programs are effective and up to date,” he said.

“In the longer term, I would like to recruit more faculty members, to increase research collaborations with other departments at UNO and at other universities, and to augment the
extramural funding of research in the department. Developing an undergraduate program in behavioral neuroscience is also an idea in the backburner.”

How did he come to choose our community and New Orleans, Louisiana?

“It is common for people in academia to move around,” he said. “My first job as a university professor was in Virginia. Things didn’t work very well there, and I moved to South Carolina. I was in South Carolina for 16 years. The weather and culture there were similar to Louisiana’s,
and I liked it there,” he said. “I was on a small campus of the University of South Carolina, however, and didn’t have a real opportunity for advancement. So, I moved to Idaho to become the chair of the department of psychology at Boise State University. They had a good football team (and the famous blue turf), but I didn’t go there for the football team. So, six years later, when I learned that UNO was looking for an experienced scholar to chair its department of psychology, I applied and was lucky to get the job.”

At UNO, Dr. Refinetti will continue to head up his Circadian Rhythm Laboratory, which he established in 1986.

“We have been in South America and in the West Coast, East Coast, and Midwest of the United States. Often, but not always, we have been associated with universities,” according to the Lab website website.

“Biological processes that cycle in 24-hour intervals are called daily rhythms (or, less often, nycthemeral rhythms). When a daily rhythm is endogenously generated, but still susceptible to modulation by 24-hour environmental cycles, it is called a circadian rhythm. Many behavioral processes of individual organisms exhibit daily and/or circadian rhythmicity, including locomotor activity, feeding, excretion, sensory processing, and learning capability. Rhythms of locomotor activity have been the most thoroughly-studied behavioral rhythms.

“Many autonomic processes of individual organisms exhibit daily and/or circadian rhythmicity, including the control of body temperature, cardiovascular function, melatonin secretion, cortisol secretion, metabolism, and sleep. Rhythms of body temperature have been the most thoroughly-studied autonomic rhythms.”

The homeostasis of body temperature is a central feature of the physiology of mammals and birds, including humans. Body temperature is one of many physiological variables that have been found to express circadian rhythmicity. The study of the regulation of body temperature is a traditional subfield of physiology called Thermal Physiology.”

Dr. Refinetti has been teaching at the university level since 1986. He has taught undergraduate courses on Introductory Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Philosophy of Psychology, History and Systems of Psychology, Physiological Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods, Sensation and Perception, Human Sexuality, and Biological Rhythms. He has taught graduate courses on Physiological Psychology and on Sensation and Perception. He prides himself on delivering well-researched and well-organized lectures (making use of multimedia resources and computer technology) and on encouraging critical thinking by stimulating classroom discussions and by assigning home work with broader implications.

How does he like New Orleans so far?

“I arrived in New Orleans this past summer,” Dr. Refinetti said, “just in time to experience the most active tropical storm year in history, which did cause damage to my house facing Lake Catherine. In the winter, the two-night freeze caused several pipes outside my house to burst. And, of course, the covid pandemic greatly limited my ability to interact with students on campus and to experience the food and music of New Orleans. Yet, I love it here. I love the
weather (when there isn’t a hurricane or a freeze), I love the scenery, I love the people. I’ll have much more to enjoy as New Orleans reopens after the pandemic.”

While Dr. Refinetti spends most of his time at the lab or at the office, he has dedicated some time to artistic activities, especially in the past, his efforts including music, poetry, photography, and painting. He has even composed original pieces. (To listen to some of his compositions, visit the “Music” section of his website.)

“When I am not working (which is rare), I play the piano,” he said.

Dr. Refinetti is married, and his wife, who is not in New Orleans yet, will be joining him in the summer.

He can be reached at the address below and more about his work is available at these sites:

Professor, University of New Orleans, https://www.uno.edu
Head, Circadian Rhythm Laboratory, https://www.circadian.org
Fellow, American Physiological Society, https://www.physiology.org
Author, Circadian Physiology, https://www.crcpress.com/9781466514973
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Circadian Rhythms, https://jcircadianrhythms.com
Editor-in-Chief, Sexuality & Culture, https://www.springer.com/12119

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana Launches Grassroots COVID Vaccine Campaign to Make Sure that No Community in La Gets Left Behind

On March 18, the Louisiana Department of Health and 20 initial partners kicked off
Bring Back Louisiana #SleevesUp, a grassroots campaign to bring COVID-19 vaccines to communities of concern through community events and targeted outreach. The campaign will begin with 9 pilots … one in each public health region of the state … with community vaccination events taking place the second and third weekends of April.

“This is a massive undertaking, and we as the state cannot do it alone,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “We need strong, diverse, trusted community partners to help us meet people where they are, identify their needs, and remove whatever barriers may exist so that our residents can make informed decisions when it comes to the COVID vaccines.”

“For a job as big and necessary as equitable vaccine distribution in a once-in-a-century pandemic, we have to be creative, collaborative, and even a little unconventional,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, Secretary of LDH. “We have been building this for several weeks now, and we are excited to get going.”

Partners Joining the state in this statewide effort are the following partners:

AARP Louisiana
AFL-CIO Louisiana
COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force
Hispanic Health Equity Task Force
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI)
Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA)
Louisiana Independent Pharmacy Association (LIPA)
Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus
Louisiana Legislative Rural Caucus
Louisiana Primary Care Association (LPCA)
Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI)
Louisiana Rural Health Association (LRHA)
LSU Ag Center
NAACP Louisiana
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice
Together Louisiana
Urban League
Viet
Baton Rouge Vaccine Task Force
Nola Ready

Several of these partners have been doing this type of grassroots work on the COVID-19 vaccines at the local level, and the state will continue to learn from them as it leverages resources to scale and coordinate these efforts.

Partner organizations will play different roles, ranging from phone banking and door-knocking to data evaluation. LPHI will coordinate efforts of community partners and will provide rapid evaluation of this grassroots model for COVID vaccine allocation and outreach.

“Like any true campaign, we are announcing this effort as we continue to build,” said Gov. Edwards. “This is just the start. We welcome other organizations, businesses, faith-based leaders and the public to join us in this exciting mission to ensure no community is left behind as we work to end this pandemic. These vaccines are our best chance at restoring normalcy,
getting our economy back on track, and bringing back the Louisiana we know and love.”

“As a public health organization, LPHI is honored to participate in this creative and proactive program which is the embodiment of our health and racial equity work to increase our state’s capacity to ensure all of us (Louisianans) have just and fair opportunities to be healthy and well,” said Shelina Davis, CEO of LPHI.

“The Black Caucus is excited to participate in this campaign. Equity in the vaccination process is critical and we are committed to reaching citizens in Louisiana’s vulnerable communities,” said State Representative Edward “Ted” James, Chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. “Get Out The Vote efforts, which this campaign is modeled after, is a proven method to reach those areas and citizens with limited access, transportation and information about the vaccine. We are happy to join the trusted voices in our state.”

“Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component for Louisiana as we work to reopen our businesses and rebuild our economy,” said Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of LABI. “We stand ready to work with our members, the Louisiana Department of Health and other stakeholders to ensure that this mission is a success.”

“AARP Louisiana is excited to be a part of this new campaign and join the effort to help more Louisianans get vaccinated. The mission statement is: The charge of this campaign is to follow the data and work with local partners to meet people where they are, especially in our underserved, on-the-fence and hard-to-reach communities, to listen to their needs and remove barriers so that every Louisianan has the opportunity to get the COVID vaccine.

Goals: Louisiana’s ground game for the COVID-19 vaccines will meet people where they are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rep. Mandie Landry’s HB 66 Limits Solitary Confinement Measures for Mentally Disabled

If passed into law, HB 68 by Rep. Mandie Landry expands present law restrictions on the use of solitary confinement to include that persons with the following conditions shall not be placed in solitary confinement.

(1) Persons who have been diagnosed by a healthcare provider at intake or in the previous five years, or at any time during incarceration, with a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 mental health classification as provided for in the policies, rules, and regulations promulgated by the department.

(2) Persons who have, or had a record of, mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12102).

The proposed law requires the department to ensure that the curriculum for new corrections officers, other new department staff, or staff of any facility who contracts with the department and regularly works in programs providing mental health treatment for prisoners shall include at least eight hours of training regarding mental illness and mental illness with regard to the prisoners.

The proposed law further requires that all department staff and the staff of any facility who contracts with the department who has direct prisoner contact shall receive annual training regarding mental illness.

HB 68 defines “healthcare provider” as having the same meaning as defined in R.S. 22:1831 and that healthcare provider shall not include any physician or other healthcare practitioner who has a restricted, suspended, or revoked license as described in R.S. 37:1285.

HB 68 defines “solitary confinement” as any form of housing, segregation, or both that limits meaningful access to social interaction, counseling, medical care, visitation, outdoor recreation, or other therapeutic programming in a manner more restrictive than for the general population and includes but is not limited to disciplinary, preventative, and administrative housing, segregation, or both.

The proposed law makes present law applicable to private correctional institutions as well as facilities owned by the department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Barbier Denies Hesson §2255 Appeal

On February 24, United States District Judge Carl J. Barbier denied Dr. Rodney Hesson’s
§2255 request to vacate his sentence in the high profile 2015 Medicare fraud case. The
§2255 appeal is based on the right to have adequate representation.

Mr. William Kent, Federal Criminal Appeal Lawyer from Florida, who has argued before the US Supreme Court, filed a response on behalf of Dr. Rodney Hesson, and his mother, Gertrude Parker, in the US District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, on February 16.

Kent said that Hesson’s conduct could not be considered criminal because he made a “reasonable interpretation” of Medicare statutes. Kent demonstrated that charts produced by the government at the trial were false and highly misleading to the jury but were not challenged by the defense attorneys.

Judge Barbier found that the arguments did not matter, writing, “… the Court is convinced that no jury would find Defendant’s conduct complied with any reasonable interpretation of the statute. Further, Defendant merely speculates that there is a qualified expert that would have testified to the effect that his conduct was a reasonable interpretation of Medicare. Given the egregious conduct of Defendant, the Court has serious doubts as to whether such a qualified expert exists.”

In the appeal, Kent argued that the two main charts used by the government were inaccurate, but the defendants’ attorneys did not question or contradict these errors. “The Government throughout the trial implied that billing of units under Medicare code 96101 equated to face-to-face hours spent by the psychologist with the patient. This was false,” argued Kent.

Hesson, who is from Mississippi, and his mother, Ms. Parker, owned and operated two regional companies, and marketed to nursing homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

A respected member of the Louisiana psychology community and past member of the state psychology board, Dr. Beverly Stubblefield, had worked at the firm and was pulled into the legal problems. Unable to mount a defense she entered a plea agreement of guilty. Dr. John Teal, a Louisiana medical psychologist, was also charged and pleaded guilty.

In this latest response, Mr. Kent writes: “The law is well settled in this and other circuits, that in a criminal fraud case based on legally false statements, such as that charged in this indictment, the Government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’ s interpretation of the governing regulation was not simply wrong, but entirely unreasonable.”

It was incumbent on the defense, wrote Kent, to brief the Court on the Government’s burden to show that Hessen was unreasonable in his interpretation. “That was not done. Instead, the Government closed the case with no argument to the jury that Dr. Hesson’s and Parker’s interpretations of the governing regulations were unreasonable, simply that they were wrong.

“The Government throughout the trial implied that billing of units under Medicare code 96101 equated to face-to-face hours spent by the psychologist with the patient. This was false.” The the chart’s numbers and totals “… are meaningless and the implications that they conveyed to the jury significantly prejudiced Hesson and Parker when their attorneys failed to object to the chart or bring out its failings on cross-examination.”

Ψ We Remember Dr. Tom Hannie

Thomas Joseph Hannie Jr., PhD, passed away unexpectedly on February 13, 2021. He had been dealing with a heart condition over the last year. Dr. Hannie was 83.

Dr. Hannie had a profound influence on the psychology profession in Louisiana and over the last half century was a cornerstone of change for many pivotal milestones in the profession.

He was a forensic psychologist and a true applied scientist who was also a fascinating person. He possessed a depth of experience that, coupled with his exceptional analytical thinking, gave him a keen ability to critique any point of law, psychology, or philosophy.

Tom’s abilities were complemented by his sense of humor and a contagious enjoyment of life and living. He was just as likely to invite you over for an LSU football party as to
correct your flawed logic on some matter, and his colleagues counted themselves lucky either way.

“Very few psychologists have ever had anything close to the impact he had on psychology in our state, and over a very long time period,” said colleague Dr. John Fanning.

Dr. Kim VanGeffen said, “Tom was a powerful figure in the history of psychology in Louisiana. We owe a lot to him.

As an LSU psychology undergraduate in the 1960s, Tom helped in the successful effort to pass the original Louisiana licensing law. In 1978, he served as president of the Louisiana Psychological Association and was proud that his year saw the start of the successful drive to remove, from the licensing law, the clause requiring psychologists to diagnose and treat only “…in consultation and collaboration with a physician.”

Gregarious and energetic, he engaged in many professional organizations and activities
throughout his lengthy career. Tom served on the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and was Chair in 1982. Along with serving as president of the Louisiana
Psychological Association, he also served as the president of the Orleans Psychological Society and as president of the New Orleans Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

Over the years, Tom was a clinical fellow in the Behavior Therapy & Research Society, and a member of many organizations, including the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, the New Orleans Behavior Therapy Society, the Southeastern Association for Behavior Therapy, and the American Institute of Stress.

He was also a member of the American Psychology-Law Society, the International
Association for the Study of Pain, and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.

He was a member of the American Psychological Association, the Southeastern Psychological Association, and the Southwestern Psychological Association. He was also a member of Psi Chi Honorary Society in Psychology.

Before retiring he was licensed/certified in Louisiana and Texas, and held the Diplomat
from the American Board of Vocational Experts. He was a certified School Psychologist from the Louisiana State Department of Education.

Dr. Hannie was known for his analytical accuracy and precision. “Tom’s advice was
always the best,” said Dr. Susan Andrews. “He forgot more psychology than most of us ever knew.”

Dr. Bill McCown first met Tom Hannie at the 1978 state convention, where Hans Eysenck presented, “While most of us were thunderstruck with Eysenck’s legitimate genius, Tom, always interested in professional issues, took the opportunity to grill Eysenck on why the status of British psychologists was ‘not equivalent to their
IQs,’ ” said McCown.

“Tom knew his literature well. Eysenck had been responsible for setting up the clinical psychology profession in Britain in 1950. Tom wanted to know why so many years later most very bright British psychologists were getting paid very little and whether we in Louisiana could learn anything from this.”

Dr. Tom Hannie’s career path was that of an applied psychological scientist and he developed expertise and excellence in many areas. These included evaluation and treatment of victims of psychological and physical trauma, evaluation and treatment of chronic pain patients, including vocational aspects, and evaluation and intervention of children with school, behavior and emotion problems.

He also worked in pre-employment assessments, vocational evaluations and counseling, disability determination evaluations, labor market surveys, and neuropsychological evaluations.\

I wanted to see some of everything before I went into private practice,” Tom told the Times in 2010. Coming out of the comprehensive doctoral training program at the University of Georgia with a degree in clinical psychology, a minor in industrial-organizational, a minor in sociology, and a sub-specialty in behavior therapy, Tom
began his career by gaining experience in a variety of settings and with a variety of clients.

He explained that he originally worked with executives, with school systems, with preschool children, with alcohol and drug cases, with inpatients, and with outpatient clinical cases. He performed a variety of assessments and also worked as an instructor, trainer, and supervisor in a wide range of settings.

His primary professional position was as a consulting psychologist in private practice, in
Metairie from 1973 to 2005 and in Baton Rouge from 1989 to 2007.

But over time Tom found that he was very well suited to, and took real pleasure in, the work of the forensic psychologist––forensic evaluation and testimony. This role became the “most enjoyable” aspect of his long and distinguished career.

“Every case is like going back to graduate school,” Tom said. “You have to be up on the
latest research. You have to prepare as if they can bring in the top expert in the nation. It’s having to be at the top of what you do,” he said. “You’re investigating and working the puzzle. The basis of the work is that you don’t rely on what you’re told–you dig it out for yourself. You have to find the inconsistencies in the data.”

During his long career, Tom consulted in over 2000 criminal cases, and several thousand civil/worker’s compensation cases. “Nothing will make you learn how to express yourself like forensics,” he said. “If you get out of line, you can get hit—hard.” He explained, “You learn how to use few words. They’ll rip you up if you don’t have things in line.”

Dr. Hannie consulted to Feliciana Forensic Facility in Jackson where he evaluated clients
for competency to stand trial and provided court testimony related to competency. He consulted to the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Detention & Probation division regarding evaluations and program development, interventions, and training of the probation staff.

Tom consulted extensively to assist in the care of disabled individuals to improve their quality of life. He consulted to numerous group homes and rehabilitation services where he combined his efforts with evidenced-based treatment, accurate evaluations, staff training, and treatment planning for clients.

Also during his career, Tom worked in business and industry, particularly in areas that required the interface between clinical and vocational. He was also an instructor at Louisiana State Extension Service at Pineville, Northwestern State University Continuing Education program, and LSU’s courses at England Air Force Base, Keesler Air Force Base, and others.

In 2007, Tom retired, and this allowed him more time to enjoy his considerable range of hobbies. He greatly enjoyed professional level gambling, he was a sports car enthusiast, and he loved sports, most especially LSU football. He owned a Mini Cooper, decorated it in purple and gold with the LSU emblems, which he drove and displayed in LSU activities.

Friend and colleague Dr. Gail Gillespie said, “Tom was quite the character. I recall his
discussing with me how he used to win at casino poker games, and he once let me take a spin in his sporty sports car! We shall miss him and his larger-than-life personality.”

In 2010, Tom explained, “Since retiring, I have returned to my childhood. In my previous life I made my living playing poker,” referring to how he supplemented his income as an engineering student, math wiz, and U.S. Army vet, who went to school and worked on the oil rigs.

“If it weren’t for the travel required, I’d play more often,” he said. Tom was a personal friend with many of the people portrayed in the popular movie 21, the story about how MIT mathematicians beat the Las Vegas systems. Tom said, “…the most effective system for blackjack was developed by a clinical psychologist!”

“The people I have met through blackjack are some of the brightest, most creative people I know. Most are educated, PhDs in many scientific areas, JDs, MDs. Imagine guys who can walk in a casino, figure out how to make a profit, and do it.”

Also during retirement, Tom had more time for volunteer civic activities. He was a member of Baton Rouge Freethinkers and strongly involved with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a group committed to the protection of First Amendment freedoms.

In 2010, Dr. Hannie moderated a forum about the social, legal, and philosophical issues of same sex marriage, titled: “Same Sex Marriage: Is It a Church-State Issue?” The forum was sponsored by the Louisiana Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In 2011 he was instrumental in opposing a bill that would have created a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds. Legislators dropped HB 277 after receiving Hannie’s detailed letter with legal references. Dr. Hannie pointed out that the Commandments are a religious text and the posting would be “constitutionally suspect and an affront to religious liberty and diversity in Louisiana.”

In 2013, his Letter to the Editor was published in the Baton Rouge Advocate, where he pointed to differences between science and religion. “Science is science, religion is religion,” he wrote.

“Again, many have missed the point. We must teach science to our children. Science includes building theories to explain the data. In science class, different theories should be taught based on the evidence for each.” And, “If a school is private and thus may teach religion, teaching creationism and intelligent design is acceptable. Hopefully science and religion are not confused there. We are concerned about our public schools, which are prohibited from teaching religion by our Constitution.”

“Evolution is within science. Creationism and intelligent design are within religion.

“Maybe more important than teaching our children biology is teaching them the difference between science and religion, as it is obvious that too many of our citizens haven’t learned the difference.”

He expressed ongoing support for the freedom of information efforts of the Times. He often helped report on and analyze news, including secretly taping a government meeting. In 2015, he won the The Psychology Times’ Sunshine Meets Psychology Contest with Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”

He had no trouble asserting his views and asking for explanations. In 2014, Dr. Hannie asked the board members to reconcile apparent problems due to sections of the law contradicted their public statement. In 2017, he asked “… if the attorneys were committing malpractice by not recusing themselves and if y’all have looked at that?”

Thomas Joseph Hannie Jr., PhD was a brilliant, truth-loving and wise colleague to those in the psychology community. For many he was a constant source of advice, understanding, and insight.

He understood what it meant to be a science-based, applied psychologist and he embraced everything he did in the profession with a sense of excellence.

A natural and skillful leader, Tom had a pivotal role in professional changes and his leadership was essential in the history of Louisiana psychology.

Tom was also a cheerful, fascinating colleague. His enjoyment of life was contagious and he willingly shared his enthusiasm with his friends and colleagues. He had a generous heart and a tolerant spirit.

His passing leaves a great void in the community.

Dr. Tom Hannie is survived by his loving wife, Rosemary Parkel Hannie, his two sons Mark and Trey Hannie, and his granddaughter, Ella Caroline Hannie.

Governor Edwards Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility

On February 22, Gov. Edwards expanded vaccine eligibility to an additional group of Louisianans … K-12 teachers, school support staff, day care staff, those who are pregnant and Louisianans aged 55 to 64 with certain health conditions … are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This group represents around 475,000 Louisianans and will bring the total population eligible in Louisiana to nearly 1.65 million people. Louisiana is currently vaccinating people in Priority Group 1B-Tier One.

According to the press release, Louisiana’s COVID vaccination strategy relies on making vaccine doses available across the state through community clinics, pharmacies, hospitals and other health care providers. So far 812,962 total vaccine doses have been administered in Louisiana, with 271,216 Louisianans receiving both doses.

As dose allocations of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines from the federal government have increased week over week through direct allocations to the states and to a federal pharmacy program Louisiana opted in to, the Governor decided to expand the population that is eligible for the vaccine.

“Teachers, school support staff and daycare employees have played a critical role throughout this pandemic and their safety is important to our continued recovery. We also know w that those people with certain underlying health issues are more likely to have severe or devastating outcomes from COVID, which is why we are expanding vaccine access to people ages 55 to 64 with certain health conditions as outlined by the CDC,” Gov. Edwards said.

“Thanks to continued increases in the availability of vaccine doses to the state of Louisiana from our federal partners, I am confident that now is the right time to continue to expand eligibility. People will still have to be patient and the vaccine doses are still limited, but this is a positive step forward for our state. It is my hope that soon even more people will be able to get these safe and effective vaccines in Louisiana.”

The Louisiana Dept. of Health has published the list of participating providers on its website: covidvaccine.la.gov. In addition, residents can call 211 to find a vaccine provider near them.

Priority Group 1-A: Ongoing (around 249,000 eligible people)

Health care workers at Tier 1 and Tier 2 hospitals

Staff and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities

First responders to serve as vaccinators (Emergency Medical Services, fire personnel, law enforcement)

Priority Group 1-B, Tier One: As of Monday, February 22, 2021 (around 1,391,000 eligible people)

Dialysis providers and patients

Ambulatory and outpatient providers and staff

Behavioral health providers and staff

Urgent care clinic providers and staff

Community care providers and staff

Dental providers and staff

Nonemergency Medical Transportation staff

Professional home care providers (including hospice workers) and home care recipients (including older and younger people with disabilities over the age of 16 who receive community or home-based care, as well as clients of home health agencies)

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSPs) working in community and clinic-based settings, and clients who are both deaf and blind

Health-related support personnel (lab staff, mortuary staff who have contact with corpses, pharmacy staff)

Schools of allied health students, residents and staff

Law enforcement and other first responders

Persons 65 years old and older

Louisiana Unified Command Group

State and local essential COVID emergency response personnel

Some elections staff ahead of March and April elections

Teachers and any other support staff working onsite in K-12 or daycare

Individuals aged 55-64 with at least one of the conditions listed by the CDC as placing them at an “increased risk” —

These include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30kg/m 2 or higher but < 40kg/m 2 )
  • Severe obesity (BMIC >40kg/m 2 )
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • All pregnant persons, regardless of age.

LSBEP Determined to Push Their New Laws

The Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (LSBEP) appears determined to go forward with it’s ambitious and comprehensive legislation, voting unanimously on Thursday, January 28, to begin the search for a legislator to sponsor their changes to the psychology practice law for the 2021 legislative session.

If passed, the LSBEP’S legislation will make sweeping changes, including registering
assistants, expanding the board’s charter, expanding legal authority of employees, adding more fees, changing the scope of practice, modifying board composition, and exempting investigations from Open Meetings Laws. The new law also gives the board the authority to conduct and sell continuing education.

In the new law, psychologists would be required to seek the board’s approval for any assistant who is helping the psychologist provide services to patients or clients. This
would include any clinical, family, or organizational setting, including government. The yearly fee is up to $75 per assistant.

Included is the requirement that the assistant initiate a criminal background report from the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information

The board would approve the assistant’s training, qualifications, and services to be provided. The board can deny or revoke the registration of the assistant at any time that it receives reliable information that the assistant is causing harm to clients or patients, or likely to, or is unethical or unprofessional.

The new law also gives the board authority to collect an array of new fees. These
include up to $250 for preapproval of continuing education courses. Also they can charge up to $200 for authorization to conduct tele-supervision, to authorize an inactive status or renewal, or to authorize emeritus status and renewal. The board appears
to be intending to provide continuing professional development with a charge of up to $200 per continuing unit.

According to the draft of proposed legislation, the board will be creating new committees that may operate with full authority of the board for complaints
procedures and disciplinary actions, to perform tasks such as creating subpoenas
and summary suspension authority.

The board will add the ability to restrict a license along with the current law for suspension are revoking. Also added in new language, the board is to communicate violations to the District Attorney.

Under scope of practice the board is adding language for: • psychological test development; • provision of direct services to individuals or groups for the purpose of
enhancing individual and organizational effectiveness; • using psychological principles,
methods and procedures to assess and evaluate individuals for the purpose of rendering an expert opinion or diagnosis in a legal setting; and • supervision and consultation related to any of the services described in the current law. How much authority they have over individuals doing psychological research appears to be in question at this point based on discussions on Thursday.

The new language affirms that psychological services may be rendered to persons
throughout their life time including families, groups, institutions, organizations, and the public.

The board creates language that removes transparency having to do with
investigations. “All proceedings in connection with any investigation by the
board shall be conducted in closed session, and are exempt from the provisions
of the Public Meetings Law [….] All records in connection with any investigation by the board are confidential.”

The Times asked Dr. Kim VanGeffen, chair of Professional Affairs for the Louisiana Psychological Association, if the legislation put forth by the psychology board, and explained as “housekeeping” legislation, was actually housekeeping?

“This legislation opens up the Psychology Practice Act in order to make changes.
The proposed changes include some items which could be considered ‘housekeeping,” Dr. VanGeffen said. Housekeeping items consist of changes in language to fit with current practices or statutes. Correcting errors, clarifying or updating information, changing numbers or letters of items in the Act would also be considered housekeeping
items.”

“[the legislation] includes other changes which go beyond housekeeping changes and are more fundamental modifications to the practice of psychology in Louisiana,” she said.

“Drs. Matthew Holcomb and Erin Reuther and I represented LPA on this Committee. During these meetings, LPA’s representatives have been encouraged to and have
offered a great deal of input about the legislation. Some of the concerns raised by the
LPA members resulted in changes to the legislation. There are some areas in which the LPA representatives continue to have concerns or disagreements with what is in the legislation.”

“LSBEP put for this legislation last year. LPA was not involved in the development of that bill. Because of the corona virus, the Louisiana legislature only addressed a very limited number of bills during last year’s legislative session. LSBEP’s bill was not addressed last year.

Members of the psychological community may have had access to that bill although I
would doubt that most psychologists were aware of this legislation,” Dr. VanGeffen said. “When the Ad Hoc Collaborative Committee was formed, it was agreed that the Committee members would not distribute the bill we were discussing until it was in its
final form.”

Dr. Greg Gormanous, Chair of Legislative Affairs for LSBEP, said to attendees at the Thursday online meeting, that he was comfortable that “…we have honored the agreement,” to reach consensus with representatives of the community.

New Trend of Remote Work Relies on Psychological Science

One of the most frequently noted 2021 trends is the move to at-home work, already common among digital workers but catapulted forward for many others by the pandemic.

Completely in psychology’s wheelhouse, successful home and remote work calls for a complex blending of employee self-direction, methods for coordinating with colleagues, and integration with family and family life.

Employers know that remote work can mean challenges for productivity. The adjustment requires a keen understanding of the complexity of workers’ traits,
knowledge of work environments, and types of supervisory skills.

Two psychological scientists are focusing their expertise to help employers and their employees to bridge the gap between the old and new work situations. Bill Costelloe
and Jim Stodd have founded a new consultancy, called ThriveRemote, LLC. Their new firm is dedicated to applying and sharing expertise about the psychology of remote work scenarios. Costelloe’s and Stodd’s goal is to facilitate remote work solutions for the benefit of client organizations and their employees, as well as mitigate some of the predictable difficulties often associated with the transition to remote work.

The two consultants and their team members at ThriveRemote bring a range range of services to help solve a variety of problems encountered by both employers and employees. These include employee selection, development, engagement, leadership training, retention strategies, performance management, compensation programs, and in particular reward methods for remote workers.

Both Costelloe and Stodd, with advanced degrees in industrial-organizational psychology, bring a rich background of seasoned experience in organizational
leadership and human resource management to the task.

As well as his association with ThriveRemote, Dr. Costelloe serves as President of Costelloe and Associates, Inc., located in Metairie, Louisiana, a firm he has maintained for over 30 years specializing in the industrial application of psychological assessments,
candidate selection, career planning & development, and employee morale surveys.

During the 2020 shutdowns, employers scrambled to find ways to cope and maintain some level of productivity. “As we all know,” said Stodd, “the pandemic has forced us to accept new circumstances, terms, conditions, and situations that most of us would not have wished for.

Included in that has been the necessity for millions of people to work from home,” he said.

“While most business leaders and their employees were extremely reluctant to embrace remote work as a norm, the pandemic just has not given us much of a choice. Yet, as more data comes in regarding this once unwelcome circumstance, it’s not looking all that bad, at least for most,” Stodd said. “In fact, this forced change may end up being one of the few silver linings to come out of all this disruption, tribulation, and
suffering with many believing that remote work is here to stay.

Jim Stodd is the Principal of JT Stodd & Associates, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and specializes in compensation and rewards, organization planning, change
management, and general human resource management.

Costelloe and Stodd note that others are debating the relative merits of remote work. However, they choose to simply acknowledge that remote work is likely here to stay.

“It is a new norm for much of our industrial society, at least in ways and numbers that were just not foreseeable prior to the pandemic,” Costelloe said.

“We believe that remote work should become a greater focus for applied behavioral scientists––such as ourselves––and that we can continue to better understand, shape, and influence the factors and circumstances that contribute to individuals thriving in remote work situations versus languishing, coping or just getting by,” said Costelloe.

Psychological scientists are trying to keep pace with the urgent needs to understand and help people adjust to the pandemic environment.

“While a lot has yet to be learned regarding these factors and circumstances, amazingly a lot has been learned in a fairly short period of time,” said Stodd.

“Much has been written on this topic over the last several years, but science-based evidence regarding what makes remote work productive and sustainable has been limited. We want to share what is already known about the predictors of remote worker
success,” said Stodd, “so that business leaders can use that knowledge to better predict who is most likely to thrive within a remote work circumstance, understand why they thrive, and use that knowledge to better design, situate, and manage their remote work programs for the mutual benefit of both the worker and the organization.”

Costelloe and Stodd describe findings from one science-based study, a recent investigation undertaken by psychologists associated with the Universities of Georgia and South Florida.

The researchers described “remote work effectiveness” in terms of three areas:
Overall Adjustment (to the remote work situation); Stress Level (during performance of remote work); and Job Performance (relative to pre-pandemic/normal-office performance levels).

The researchers looked at 62 possible predictors of remote work effectiveness and found eight strong predictors.

The first three of these eight predictors had an inverse or negative relationship to
one’s ability to thrive in a remote work situation. And, these three all pertain to
the internal characteristics––for example, personality traits, competency or skills, or
habits of the worker, Stodd notes.

These factors were: 1) Feelings of Social Isolation; 2) Stress Levels Before Engaging in Remote Work; and 3) General Proneness to Anxiety.

Stodd explained one example, saying, “Feelings of social isolation were found to
hurt a person’s overall ability to thrive in a remote situation, including their overall
adjustment to remote work, stress levels during remote work, and job performance,”

Stodd said. “The negative impact of social isolation may even be greater based upon one’s personality. For instance, folks that are extremely extraverted, and normally energized by frequent social contact, or those with strong affiliation needs, may be even
more negatively impacted by the social isolation that frequently comes with remote work.”

The next five factors were found to be positively associated to remote work effectiveness. These five pertain to situational factors exterior to the person
that an employer can influence directly and rather significantly.

These were: 4) Sleep Quality During Periods of Remote Work; 5) Organization’s Support During and After the Transition to Remote Work; 6) Workspace that is Comfortable, Well-Equipped & Conducive to Productivity; 7) Technology that Facilitates Productivity, Communication and Social Interaction; and 8) Job Design and the Variety of Tasks Involved in the Job.

“It was found that characteristics of the work itself mattered, including how demanding the job is, having increased task variety, and job-related information exchange,” Costelloe explained. “Also found to be important are situational factors including, family interruptions of work, spousal/family respect of boundaries, and the proportion of
childcare the worker is doing during remote work relative to a partner.”

Costelloe and Stodd are in agreement about the importance of individual differences, which has lead them to closely examine other characteristics that may influence an
employee’s productivity or success at remote work.

They point out another example, a study related to important characteristics for success in remote work, where researchers measured characteristics with the 16PF, a well-established personality assessment tool supported by decades of academic and applied scientific support.

In this study, researchers concluded that “employers need to consider the individual differences in remote workers’ personalities and identify how to best support and
development them to realize their potential as remote workers.”

The researchers identified three core competency areas which are important for individuals to “thrive” as remote workers.

The three are: Agility – How people respond to change and handle challenges independently; Achievement – How people adapt their work practices to drive action and ensure accountability; and Affiliation – How people deal with the absence of having other people in the same physical space to support them.

“The researchers found that remote workers need to possess a mix of Agility, Achievement and Affiliation to be highly effective in a remote work environment,” said Stodd.

“That is, while these characteristics may be important for many if not most jobs, they become even more important for thriving in remote work scenarios given remote work
frequently presents specific challenges around social interaction, communication, and work style.”

Another element of how successful employers and employees will be in adapting to remote work is the relationship to supervision and management.

“Research and professional practice draw attention to the importance of effective supervision and management in the support of remote worker success,” said Costelloe.

“Studies confirm the criticality of effective leadership and supervision in creating reasonable expectations and goal clarity, providing organizational support, ensuring
resource availability, maintaining work-life balance and the effective management of stress levels, nurturing employee growth & development, facilitating necessary
social interaction and support, and conveying the trust necessary to create a true sense of belonging,” he said.

“Of course that’s a lot of stuff,” Stodd said, “which has led researchers to conclude that remote managers also need to possess special competencies in the areas of Agility,
Achievement, and Affiliation, including the ability to coach and develop others, extend individual concern and compassion, and build & maintain effective teams.”

Overall, helping companies and employees adjust to the new normal is exciting for the two consultants, an area that combines their talents and psychological science to
help others deal with the consequences of the pandemic.

“The ability to thrive in remote work involves a complex set of factors, some of which are innate to the individual, some of which are situational, combined with the need for
leadership that is well-honed to the remote work circumstance,” said Stodd.

“While complex, employers who want to do well need to develop an appreciable understanding of all these factors as well as establish programs, processes and procedures that will maximize the benefits of remote work – of which there are many –for both the organization and its remote workforce,” said Costelloe.

The two intend to continue educating their clients and the public about the possibilities for adjusting to changes and challenges in the new work environment. More information can be found at their website.

2021 Trends for Psychologists

Experts agree that the social, economic, and psychological impact of the pandemic will be with us for years to come, and this seems especially true in the area of health and behavior. Psychology and psychologists are in the middle of cultural and individual changes that could last for decades. For this feature we reviewed the most talked about trends that are at the heart of our science and practice, and report in detail on one of the top trends, remote work.

#1 A focus on behavioral prevention and natural immunity

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a dramatic shift from the medical model to prevention and natural immunity, both strongly related to behavior. Sunlight, vitamin D, sleep, stress, zinc, are just some of the lifestyle variables related to immunity. Experts say that 88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy, directly related to Covid survival. Being a healthier country and having individuals take responsibility for their health behaviors has become one of the top trends and priorities.

#2 Telehealth and remote work

Telehealth has become a booming business with virtual health care visits estimated to have reached one billion by the end of 2020. Individuals will continue to restrict their activities to avoid unnecessary exposures and remote health opportunities are
predicted to continue to grow exponentially. The emergence of additional strands of the virus is a sign that some form of social distancing is going to be with us for a long time.

#3 Mental health needs

Experts predict a tsunami of problems hitting the population due to the stress and changes that are here now and that will continue regarding individuals’ work, relationships, childcare, education, and health. Prioritizing emotional well-being is critical for all citizens and this includes embedding mental health practices into their regular life and routines. Psychologists are essential in helping develop these new and innovative ways of delivering mental health services.

#4 Blending work and family life

Integrating work life and family life has been forced into the forefront of our priorities with the lockdowns. As workers went home, new ways of adapting were required for handling interactions with spouse, children, and managing the complexity of work-home life. Psychologists have a key role in helping individuals balance the complex variety of demands upon them––helping with behavioral change, stress management, time management, mental health techniques and other elements for coping with change.

#5 Virtual learning

Covid has impacted educational services for those psychologists who teach, those who learn, and those who deal with students of any sort. Experts say that most institutions will pursue at least a portion of their curriculum online even after the pandemic passes.
Understanding and optimizing this new style of learning falls in the wheelhouse for psychologists, as both teachers and researchers.

#6 Focus on child development

For 2021 and beyond, understanding what is happening to young children will be critical. For the very young, the changes have impacted one third or one half of their life span. What will be the consequences and remedies for these youngsters to develop and
flourish? That will be a central question for psychologists to address and to establish clinical and behavioral interventions to ameliorate any consequences to the young.

#7 Looking for new meaning in the quiet zone

Life has slowed and quieted down for many, and there is evidence that as the busyness and noise of the fast-paced world subsided, the inner, psychological life is where many are focusing. In one study, by the creative software company Canva, researchers found that 64% of those responding say that Covid has positively changed their perception of what is most important in their lives. Half, 51%, have engaged in a creative past-time, so there’s a place for psychologists to help facilitate the inner, psychological journey and the shift in values that it often reflects

UV-LED May Destroy Virus in Less Than One Minute by Samantha Dooley

Researchers in The Journal of Photochemistry & Photobiology suggest they may have found a way to quickly disinfect surfaces contaminated with Covid-19, using UV-LED lights. The researchers said that the UV-LED lights required less than half a minute to destroy more than 99.9% of the coronaviruses.

The study looked at the disinfection efficiency of ultraviolet light-emitting diodes
irradiation at different wavelengths on coronavirus. It is said to be the first of its kind in the world, according to the Jerusalem Post.

According to Yoram Gerchman,and colleagues, SARS-Cov-2, the virus most known as Conavirus, can spread through respiratory droplets, as well as nasal, oral, and eye mucus. Some research is also showing that SARS-Cov-2 is potentially an airborne virus.

These factors bring the need for a cheap, quick ay to sterilize surfaces, without damaging the material. It is already common to use UV lights to irradiate some pathogenic microorganisms, including some viruses. As the authors in The Journal of Photochemistry & Photobiology article write, “Coronaviruses are 120-160 nm diameter, enveloped viruses with a single-strand, non-segmented RNA genome coated by a protein capsid, and a lipid envelope.” Damaging or destroying any one of the components could inactivate the virus, they explain.

UV lights do just that to the Coronavirus. UV lights can inactivate a virus many different
ways, including, but not restricted to, “…damage to the nucleic acids, proteins, or internal production of oxygen radicals.”

The Journal of Photochemistry & Photobiology authors also reported that some wavelengths of UV light are possibly more effective at irritating SARS-Cov-2 than
others. “The mechanism of UV inactivation depends on the UV wavelength(s) used and,
at least for some pathogens, UV sources with multiple emission peaks are (e.g. medium pressure lamps) were found to result in more accurate inactivation, by activating multiple damage mechanisms.”

For more information, go to: “UV-LED Disinfection of Coronavirus, Wavelength effect,” The Journal of Photochemistry & Photobiology, www.elsevier.com/locate/jphotobiol.

Louisiana Pharmacies Begin Receiving COVID Vaccine for Elderly, Additional Health Care Workers on January 4

On December 31, Gov. Edwards announced that doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to pharmacies statewide in limited supply beginning January 4 to be administered to people 70 and older and additional health care workers.

The initial supply of vaccine will be extremely limited and people must contact a designated pharmacy to make appointments before going in to be vaccinated. At this time, only people in Priority Group 1-B, Tier One, which is people 70 years and older and ambulatory and outpatient health care personnel, will be able to get the COVID vaccine at a designated pharmacy. Appointments are required.

Beginning on the 4th, the Louisiana Department of Health will list pharmacies where the COVID vaccine is available on its website, covidvaccine.la.gov.

“I am relieved to end this year by expanding access to the COVID vaccine to more Louisianans, though I know we have a long road ahead of us before we put this pandemic in our rear view mirrors,” Gov. Edwards said.

In the first two weeks of vaccination, 45,289 Louisianans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe and effective against the virus. A second dose must be administered for people to gain fuller protection from COVID.

So far, 210,350 doses have been allocated for Louisiana, of which 56,200 have been designated for the federal Long Term Care Facilities partnership and reside with Walgreens and CVS.

The priority groups for Louisiana are as follows: Priority Group 1-A: Ongoing (around 249,000 eligible people)

  • Health care workers at Tier 1 and Tier 2 hospitals
  • Staff and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Emergency Medical Services employees and firefighters

Priority Group 1-B, Tier One: Starts Monday, January 4, 2021 (around 640,000 eligible people)

  • Schools of allied health students, residents and staff
  • End stage renal disease facility personnel and patients
  • Home agency patients and personnel
  • Ambulatory and outpatient health care personnel
  • Persons 70 years old and older

Priority Group 1-B, Tier Two: Starts at a later date (around 318,750 eligible people)

  • Health-related support personnel (labs, mortuary, pharmacy)
  • Essential governmental response personnel
  • Judiciary personnel
  • Department of Homeland Security personnel, National Guard (non-COVID deployed), federal intelligence and security personnel, military personnel
  • First responders not covered in Phase 1A
  • Corrections officers and jailers Medical transportation services
  • Homeless shelter and other congregate group home/center staff
  • K-12 school and daycare personnel
  • Food processing and agricultural workers
  • Postal personnel
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers and other deemed frontline essential workers

Drs. Thomandra Sam, Lauren Rasmussen, and Leslie O’Malley Running in LSBEP Election this Month

An election is currently underway to fill the July 2021 vacancy on the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Offering to serve on the board are Thomandra Shavaun Sam, PhD, Lauren Woodruff Rasmussen, PsyD, and Leslie A. O’Malley, PsyD.

The vacancy will occur in June 2021 when Dr. Amy Henke completes her service. Voting
opened in and ends January 15.

Dr. Sam is from Baton Rouge and was licensed in 2015 in the specialty area of counseling according to her candidate statement. She is a Psychologist V/Office of Behavioral Health/Eastern LA Mental Health System and earned her degree from Auburn University.

In her statement, Dr. Sam wrote, “I am psychologist with a background working with diverse clinical presentations, demographics and within various settings from college counseling, community mental health, a pastoral center, domestic violence and homeless shelter, a marriage and family clinic and hospital settings. I am and have
been licensed In various states and so I am keenly aware of how a variety of psychologists exist in different spaces both here in Louisiana as well as across our
nation. I hope my unique experience adds an additional layer to an already highly qualified Board and staff.”

In her statement, Dr. Sam wrote, “I am psychologist with a background working with diverse clinical presentations, demographics and within various settings from college counseling, community mental health, a pastoral center, domestic violence and homeless shelter, a marriage and family clinic and hospital settings. I am and have been licensed In various states and so I am keenly aware of how a variety of psychologists exist in different spaces both here in Louisiana as well as across our nation. I hope my unique experience adds an additional layer to an already highly qualified Board and staff.”

“Additionally, I am Interested in ensuring that Louisiana is ahead of the curve with offering diverse platforms to diverse consumers from diverse Psychologists; yes, that is a lot of one word in a sentence but its message is necessary. As our society Is changing, it is important Louisiana is able to compete with the rest of the nation and attract bright minds to work and advance our state and practice; in doing so, we ensure we are at the cutting edge of service by creating a healthy Louisiana that recognizes the need for mental healthcare, has access to the care needed and is ultimately positively impacted by our profession toward higher levels of wellness and increased quality of life. Regarded as the father of individual psychology in some circles, Alfred Adler encouraged us to, ‘Follow your heart but take your brain with you.’ I think being an effective Board member requires a constant balance of both.”

Dr. Rasmussen is also from Baton Rouge. She was licensed in 2013 and it is a Partner at Jefferson Neurobehavioral Group, and also a Consulting Neuropsychologist at Sage Rehabilitation and Neuro RehabCare.

She earned her degree from Georgia School of Professional Psychology in Clinical Psychology/Neuropsychology.

Dr. Rasmussen writes, “It is always a daunting task to replace an outgoing board member, who I am sure is leaving with a breadth of knowledge and experience. What
I believe LSBEP is looking for in a candidate for this position is someone who is socially
responsible, dedicated, honest, ethical, and hardworking. I promise to bring those qualities to the board.

“As a recent Pro Tem board member, I had a glimpse into the responsibilities of the board members. I understand and appreciate that this position requires upholding ethical and legal standards of psychologists. It is of utmost importance that a board member serve to protect the sanctity of the field of psychology and those who utilize
our services from harm. As a board member, I think it is also important to be the voice of your profession, which means integrating feedback and viewpoints from members of the psychological community and working with your professional organizations.

“Over the course of my tenure with the board, I would like to continue modifying our rules and standards to ensure that they are commensurate with national standards. I would also like to help resolve complaints of paraprofessionals working outside of their areas of competence by coordinating with other organizations and oversight committees to establish reasonable boundaries.”

Dr. O’Malley is from Lake Charles and was licensed in 2009 with a specialty in Clinical. She is Staff Psychologist at Southeast Louisiana Veterans HealthCare System (SLVHCS). She earned her degree from Nova Southeastern University in Clinical Psychology.

Dr. O’Malley notes that, “In the current political and pandemic-related climate, I believe an evenhanded reliance and appreciation for our ethical and legal standards must be upheld. As someone who has extensive clinical experience with TeleHealth I feel I would add to the board’s expertise during this phase of reliance on more virtual therapy and supervision that the pandemic has prompted.

“I personally get great satisfaction in working with early career Psychologists in training. As a preceptor or supervisor, I have spent countless hours preparing trainees for the EPPP and oral portion of the exam for licensure in Louisiana. It would give me great pleasure to be on the other side of the table during this process.

“I believe you will find I have excellent judgment and am adept at not only enforcing the laws and standards of practice in Psychology but also in providing a sensible approach to all situations. My communication and organizational skills will allow a seamless transition in appointment to ensure that board work remains on schedule. I get along well with others and am comfortable leading and being led. I remain keen on continuing my development into a senior Psychologist. I believe this tenure would allow for the personal and professional career growth I seek.”

Gov. Extends Modified Phase Two Order during Louisiana’s Third Surge of Covid-19

On December 22, the Gov. extended his modified Phase Two order, including Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, to January 13, 2021, as hospitalizations have exceeded the level reached during the second surge in July. The Governor also declared an emergency for the elections in February, March and April of next year, per a request from the Secretary of State.

“While we have seen minor improvements, no one should feel good about our current COVID situation in Louisiana. We have too many new cases, too many people in the hospital and, sadly, too many Louisianans continue to die of this illness. Just this week, we reported the highest number of deaths since July,” said the Gov.

For complete guidance on the new Phase 2, visit the Open Safely portal at opensafely.la.gov.