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Help During a Crisis

A national disaster like a hurricane can mean being cut-off from vital medication. Rx Response, a partnership of various public and private health-care organizations, is committed to the continued delivery of medicines during severe public health emergencies, especially to the chronically ill.

Many of the group's partners such as National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community of Pharmacists Association are from the pharmaceutical distribution industry and will team up with other partners, including the American Red Cross and community hospitals, to ensure medication reaches those in need during a crisis. The group worked with the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to develop the program.

Visit to find out more and to print out a wallet-size card for listing medications and other relevant medical information.

Biomedical Research Boost

In an effort to stimulate more biomedical research in the New Orleans area, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded an $11 million grant to the Tulane University Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence. The center's co-director, L. Gabriel Navar, says the majority of the grant will fund five of the center's junior faculty members for research into high blood pressure, the effects of high blood pressure on the kidneys and the role of the kidneys in the development of high blood pressure.

"Once they get their own funding, they will relinquish the funds and someone else (another of the center's junior scientists) can use it," Navar says.

The hypertension center is considered one of the centers of biomedical research excellence, which were established in 2000 by NIH funds to eliminate the gap between states that get significant biomedical research dollars and those states such as Louisiana that receive little in biomedical research funds. Besides funding junior investigators, the five-year grant will provide money for updating medical equipment at Tulane's research facility that all members of the center, which include researchers from Tulane, Ochsner Health Systems and LSU, can use.

Funding Better Mental Health Care

Baptist Community Ministries is donating more than $326,000 to the Behavioral Health Action Network of Greater New Orleans (BHAN). The network was founded post-Katrina by the Louisiana Public Health Initiative, a nonprofit third party health-care organization that was started in 1997 and seeks to form collaborations between public and private health-care providers. It also focuses on rebuilding mental health and substance abuse services in the metro area.

Hurricane Katrina dealt a severe blow to behavioral health services in terms of the number of mental health-care professionals, available psychiatric care hospital rooms and accessible psychiatric outpatient care. This occurred at a time when a higher percentage of the general population required some mental health treatment.

BHAN, which includes members from organizations such as LSU and Tulane departments of psychology, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and a number of Louisiana legislators, hopes this private/public partnership will lead to not only an increase in available mental health services, but also better coordination so efforts aren't duplicated, recruitment of more mental health professionals and promotion of community-based treatment and prevention. Cancer Support Group Sometimes it takes someone who has been there to know what you're going through. The Center of Restorative Breast Surgery (1717 St. Charles Ave.) is starting a breast cancer support group, EnCourage, which will meet the second Wednesday of each month beginning on Sept. 12 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Some of the topics covered in the meetings will be specific to breast cancer, but Katie Staiger, patient relations coordinator at the center, says the group is available to all cancer patients and their families. Members will meet other cancer survivors and learn valuable information about nutrition, managing stress, restorative surgery and more.

Refreshments will be served. Space is limited, call 899-2800 for reservations.

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