Category Archives: News Stories

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.








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,
Head, Circadian Rhythm Laboratory,
Fellow, American Physiological Society,
Author, Circadian Physiology,
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Circadian Rhythms,
Editor-in-Chief, Sexuality & Culture,







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
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: 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

“[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.