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Inspiration is Grandin

  Autism expert Temple Grandin, considered one of the highest functioning people with the disease in the world, will discuss her latest book on the subject from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 24 during a Future Horizons conference at the Hilton New Orleans Airport (901 Airline Drive, Kenner).

  Grandin's book, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger's, is a collection of her articles and provides personal and professional insights about the diseases. In addition to writing and lecturing about autism, Grandin is a leading expert in designing facilities for handling livestock. She addresses that subject in her books Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals.

  Her life inspired HBO to film a biopic about her, starring Claire Danes as Grandin; it's scheduled for release next year.

  To register for the conference, contact Teresa Corey at (800) 489-0727 or teresa@fhautism.com.



While You're Waiting

  Dr. Harvey Karp, a child development expert and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, will demonstrate techniques to soothe fussy babies and help them sleep an extra hour or two a night during a grand-opening celebration April 23 at Destination Maternity (3300 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 834-1960).

  Karp, assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, will demonstrate his techniques during three sessions: 10:30 p.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Other activities include a $1,000 wardrobe giveaway, a gift to the first 50 shoppers who buy at least $50 worth of merchandise, and a free DVD by Karp and "Soothing Sounds" sleep CD to the first 100 people who attend Karp's lectures.

  Destination Maternity includes Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod fashions, accessories, gifts and a juice bar. It also includes a soft-side "kiddie corral," where toddlers can play with toys and watch a plasma-screen TV while mom shops, and a "relax area" with easy chairs and a TV for dads. It has partnered with Baptist Health to offer events and classes such as prenatal yoga and fitness, breast-feeding instruction, preparation for childbirth and newborn safety.



Donate Life

  Hospitals around the state are trying to get more people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors during April — National Donate Life Month — with a goal of increasing organ donors in the state 10 percent by the end of the year.

  The month of activities kicked off last week with a Flags Across America initiative in which hospitals fly a "Donate Life" flag to rally support for transplant networks. In the New Orleans area, participating hospitals include Ochsner Medical Center, Tulane University Hospital, East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington, Ochsner Medical Center-Westbank in Gretna and West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero.

  These hospitals are part of the Louisiana Hospital Campaign, a partnership between the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) and the Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA), and this is the first statewide hospital donor registration drive in the nation.

  The campaign's goal is to increase the Donate Life Louisiana Registry by 160,676 people by the end of the year. LHA President John Matessino says more than 1,800 people in Louisiana are awaiting organ transplants.

  You can register as an organ donor when you renew your driver's license, when you visit a hospital, or on the LOPA Web site at www.registry.lopa.org/registry/signup.php.



Keep Cultural Workers Healthy

  The Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation (LCEF) and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu are trying to improve health care for cultural workers through the new LCEF Healthcare Initiative, the country's first comprehensive health service that focuses on workers in music, film, design and literary jobs, historic preservation, culinary arts, performing arts, visual arts and crafts.

  The initiative began as a pilot program in Acadiana and will help eligible workers and their families find preventative health care, dental care, counseling, financial information and treatments through community health systems. The program seeks to decrease the time it takes for the state's 144,000 cultural workers to get an appointment with a doctor. Payments are based on what patients can afford.

  The pilot program already has provided more than 70 referrals to 43 patients and soon will expand to Lake Charles and Alexandria.



Free Screening Kits

  Touro Infirmary (1401 Foucher St., 897-7011; www.touro.com) offers free colorectal screening kits year-round. To request a kit, call 897-8500 or email Touro at health-events@touro.com. After you've used the kit, return the sample to Touro by mail, and its lab will process the specimen and mail your results within two weeks.

  Colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, is curable if detected early. Regular screening is recommended for people over 50, or those over 40 if there is a family history of the disease or if they have other risk factors.



Enhancing Primary Care

  The Louisiana Primary Care Association (LPCA) has awarded LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans' Office of Medical Education Research and Development a grant to develop a model aimed at increasing residency programs for medical graduates at health centers across the state.

  The program's goal is to increase the number of primary care health professionals — physicians, nurses, dentists and public health professionals — to give people in rural and underserved communities better access to health care. The program would place physicians completing post-graduate medical training and other health profession students in clinical sites where they can help treat patients under faculty supervision. In addition to bolstering the number of health professionals in underserved communities, the project hopes to interest more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in choosing a career in primary care. Only one-third of Louisiana physicians practice primary care, according to a 2006 report of the Louisiana Interagency Task Force on the Future of Family Medicine. Louisiana ranks 10th in the nation in producing physicians, but 38th for primary care physicians.



Another Place to Take Care

  Take Care Health Systems has opened a new clinic in the Walgreens drugstore at 1815 W. Airline Hwy., LaPlace. The new facility is the fifth Take Care Clinic to open in the New Orleans area.

  Take Care Clinics, a subsidiary of Walgreens, provide in-store sites where nurse practitioners and physician assistants treat common illnesses and provide vaccinations, physicals and screenings. Take Care providers, which treat patients 18 months and older, maintain an electronic medical record system and collaborating physicians conduct reviews to make sure patients receive proper care.

  The 338 Take Care clinics nationwide have treated more than 1 million patients since November 2005.



Common Ground for Health

  The National Committee for Quality Assurance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality, has awarded Common Ground Health Clinic in Algiers and the St. Thomas Community Health Center its highest recognition as top-quality patient-centered medical homes.

  The Common Ground clinic was founded by volunteers in September 2005 and sees as many as 200 patients a week. The clinic's services are free and include primary care, herbal medicine, social workers, acupuncture, HIV testing and more.

  The St. Thomas clinic is an independent, not-for-profit primary care facility. Most of its patients are underinsured or have no insurance.



Andrieu Named President

  Sandra Carlin Andrieu, associate dean for Academic Affairs at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry, has been elected president of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). She will assume the post when the ADEA annual session concludes in Washington, D.C., In 2010.

  The ADEA is the only national organization representing academic dentistry and has a membership of more than 16,000 students, faculty, staff and administrators from U.S. and Canadian dental schools, allied and postdoctoral education programs and corporations working in oral health education.

  Andrieu, the first woman to serve as associate dean in the LSUHSC dental school, serves as chair of the Curriculum Committee for dental, dental hygiene and dental laboratory technology programs. She is LSU Health Sciences Center's liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation committee and last year completed a three-year term on the Board of Directors for the American Dental Education Association.



Career Builder

  The National Science Foundation has given Tulane professor W.T. Godbey a CAREER Award, which provides a five-year $400,000 grant to establish an independent lab to study gene therapy for treating bladder cancer.

  Godbey, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Tulane's School of Science and Engineering, researches expression-targeted gene delivery and manipulation of cells at the genetic level. He inserts genetic codes for self-destructing proteins into bladder cancer cells in mouse models.

  He received the CAREER Award partly because he integrates interdisciplinary teaching opportunities into his research, partnering with other Tulane departments and acting as a mentor to students in the university's graduate and undergraduate programs as well as scholars at local high schools.

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