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New Orleans Health News [October 2009] 

Care for the Uninsured

  New Orleans area residents who are employed but have no health insurance can find primary health care through New Orleans Faith Health Alliance (NOFHA) (3401 Canal St., 486-8585; www.nofha.org). The private, nonprofit health care organization is renovating a 4,200-square-foot health center inside the First Grace United Methodist Church, but until that opens, NOFHA will use a mobile health van in front of the building. The mobile unit will be at the site three times a week for a half-day, but patients must be enrolled and have an appointment to receive treatments.

  The health center will operate like a private medical practice, but will enroll uninsured patients as members. Patients who use the facility must provide proof of employment and income; the center will charge patients according to a sliding fee schedule based on a family's income. The clinic will offer comprehensive primary care services covering physical, emotional, behavioral and spiritual health.

  NOFHA, which operates using private donations, received funding for the clinic from Baptist Community Ministries, Catholic Charities USA and Kaiser Permanente.



Grand Opening Event

  Psychiatrist and author Dr. James Gordon will discuss how mind-body medicine is revolutionizing the health care industry during a grand opening event for The Mind-Body Center of Louisiana (4902 Canal St., Suite 404, 265-0646; www.mindbodyla.org). The event is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 16 at Tulane University School of Medicine, J. Bennett Johnston Building (1324 Tulane Ave.). It is free and open to the public.

  Gordon, an expert in using mind-body medicine to heal psychological trauma, anxiety and depression, is the founder and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. He is the author of the new book Unstuck, the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression.

  The nonprofit Mind-Body Center of Louisiana complements traditional medical treatments with meditation, biofeedback, yoga, nutrition, exercise, breathing techniques and creative expression such as journaling and art to promote physical and mental well-being. The center also will train health care providers, teachers, first responders and others to use mind-body skills and will support research into the discipline as well as promote integrating the techniques into other health, mental health and educational organizations.



Breast and Bone-density Screenings

  Lakeview Regional Medical Center (95 E. Fairway Drive, Covington) is offering routine digital mammograms and bone-density screenings for $50 each throughout October in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Call (985) 867-3890 for an appointment.

  The medical center uses the InvivoDyna CAD system, a state-of-the art MRI for breasts, which allows radiologists to better differentiate between malignant and benign tumors because it captures numerous cross-sectional images of the breast and combines them into 2-D and 3-D pictures.

Diabetes Screenings

  Xavier University College of Pharmacy faculty and students will provide free health screenings and dispense information about diabetes during Operation Diabetes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 10 at Lakeside Shopping Center (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie).

  A podiatrist, dietician, optometrist and pharmacist will be among health professionals available to answer questions about diabetes, its treatment and prevention.



Breast Cancer Race

  Spend a day in City Park and help defeat breast cancer during the 13th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Oct. 25 at the Roosevelt Mall behind the New Orleans Museum of Art. A 1-mile walk/run begins at 9 a.m., and the 5 kilometer race/walk starts at 9:05 a.m. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and is $30 for adults and $20 for youth 17 and younger.

  About 75 percent of the proceeds from the race will fund programs in New Orleans; the rest will be used for breast cancer research programs.



Know Your Options

  Drs. Scott Sullivan and Frank DellaCroce will discuss the various reconstruction options available to women facing mastectomy due to breast cancer during an EnCourage Support Group meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery (1717 St. Charles Ave., 899-2800). The discussion is free and open to the public, but participants should make a reservation because space is limited.



Mother's Milk

  Lakeview Regional Medical Center (95 E. Fairway Drive, Pelican Room, Covington) is sponsoring a daylong workshop on breastfeeding from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15. "Supporting Evidence-Based Breastfeeding Practices in Louisiana: The Gift" is free and open to the public, but participants must register by calling (985) 867-4362.

  The session will cover communicating research on the value of human milk and the risks of not breastfeeding, how to create a supportive environment for breastfeeding, managing challenges and more. Participants also will be invited to join a statewide effort to increase breastfeeding rates.

  Information will be presented by Susie Amick, a nurse, lactation consultant and perinatal educator at East Jefferson General Hospital. It is sponsored by the Louisiana Maternal and Child Health Coalition and the Louisiana Office of Public Health-Maternal and Child Health Program.



Stem Cell Production

  Tulane University and biotech company Repair Technologies Inc. recently entered an agreement to develop and manufacture adult stem cells derived from bone marrow for use in research. The National Institutes of Health gave Tulane a grant in 2003 to establish a laboratory to prepare and distribute adult stem cells to academic scientists at other research centers. Since then, Tulane has become recognized in as a leader in the field.

  The cells will be produced at Tulane's Good Manufacturing Practices laboratory, which was developed in partnership with the Louisiana Gene Therapy Research Consortium, which was funded primarily by the state.

  Brian Butcher, associate director of Tulane's Center for Gene Therapy, says the new agreement could facilitate the development of new regenerative therapies for patients.



Research Opportunities

  The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation has given the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) a $220,000 grant over two years for programs that offer medical research opportunities to TOPS scholars and students at the Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy.

  LSUHSC Genetics faculty will use the grant to conduct hands-on workshops at the academy and field trips during which those students can tour LSUHSC research labs, conduct experiments and work with medical and graduate student mentors.

  The grant also provides for summer internships in medical research for TOPS students, who will get to work with LSUHSC faculty mentors. The internship program also includes mentoring doctors at other institutions such as Children's Hospital, Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Ochsner Hospital.



Cancer Links

  A study published in the September issue of the Irish Journal of Medical Science shows a strong link between breast cancer and melanoma. Led by Dr. Gillian M. Murphy, a photobiologist with the Skin Cancer Foundation's International Advisory Council, researchers found that women with breast cancer have a greater risk of developing melanoma, and vice versa, the study states. Earlier studies have reported a link between the two cancers, but this is the first that formally advised doctors to monitor women who already have one of the cancers for signs they have developed the other.

  Murphy says patients with melanoma or other skin cancers generally are at a higher risk for developing other cancers, but his investigators found the risk was four times higher with breast cancer and melanoma, indicating a possible genetic link between the two.

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