Last week, I attended the Louisiana Public Health Association annual meeting for the first time. I had the privilege of also being a presenter there, premiering a session I’ve been developing on mHealth to a packed room. It was a two-day conference with a crawfish boil at the President’s Reception on the first night.
My particular focus was on opioid- and disaster-related presentations. One of the plenary sessions was delivered by Natalie Roy, MPH, the Executive Director of the AgriSafe Network, a non-profit organization that aims to reduce health disparities in the agricultural community. She spoke about the importance of addressing farmworker safety and the Ag Health Risk Assessment Tool (AgHRA), a tool (only one of its kind) they developed for assessing risk and taking steps to reduce risk for those in agriculture.
Dr. Joseph Kanter, the Director of Health for the City of New Orleans, talked about the Opioid Crisis in Louisiana and how they were addressing it. He stated that addiction was not the result of abuse but rather over-prescription, citing a statistic that 75% of current injection drug users began with a legitimate prescription. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of prescription, with 118 prescriptions per 100 residents in 2012.
They are taking a multipronged strategy that includes but is not limited to reducing the available of opioids, decreasing harm to current users, reducing stigma and dispelling myths around drug use, and expanding treatment. More information can be found here: http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/subhome/54
The final one I’d like to highlight was a Bleeding Control Basics course, taught by Dr. Jennifer Avegno and Dr. Rebecca Schroll. It is a trauma-version of CPR training that was developed after the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings where it was found that with basic training, some of the children could have been saved with basic bleeding control skills. The two main tools in the arsenal during this training was a tourniquet and a moulage trainer (simulated casualty in a small box). To find out more about this training, you can visit: https://www.bleedingcontrol.org/
There were a lot of great sessions. And at the reception, I also learned about Second line, a traditional dance where people walk and twirl handkerchiefs in the air. Eventually, I’d see this out on the street when visiting the French Quarter during my stay. Overall, it was a fantastic conference and I hope to return again.