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Open Talks Health Conference

Open Talks Health Conference is a component of our community health education initiative to provide year-round comprehensive health care training for clinicians, patients and consumers. Held annually in the fall, the conference will provide CE approved sessions for nurses, social workers, counselors, students and other health care professionals on various disease states affecting the residents of Baton Rouge.

2018 Theme:  Substance Use Disorder

The conference goal this year is three-fold:

  1. Provide awareness and educate in the opioid epidemic and other substances.

  2. Provide attendees with the current screening, prevention, treatment and referral across the healthcare continuum for substance use disorder.

  3. Discuss upcoming advocacy in Louisiana related to substance use disorder.

As defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), substance use disorder occurs when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment. This impairment may present as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. Substance use disorder has a substantial impact on persons of all different socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, races, gender identities, and religions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths and 66% of them involved an opioid (including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl). Opioid deaths were five times higher in 2016 than they were in 1999. Similar to the national trend, Louisiana’s opioid related death rate has also increased. According to the Louisiana Department of Health there were 531 opioid related deaths in 2016, more than double the opioid related deaths reported in 2015. This is our call to action. Remaining knowledgeable about current trends, screening, prevention, and treatment ensures we get ahead of this epidemic.

We invite nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, counselors, students and health care professionals to attend this one-day event on Friday, October 26, 2018 at Crown Plaza Executive Center in Baton Rouge.

If you have questions, please contact our Development Director, Lori Lauve at or (225) 424-1772.

Register Today!

Conference Planning Committee

Jamie Barney, LCSW-BACS
Director of Social Services

Lori Lauve
Director of Development

Dawn Beasley, BSN, RN, ACRN
Director of Quality Management

Jamie Roques, MPH, MPA, APRN
BH Integration Program Manager

Pam Ellis, RN, ACRN
Board Member

Sarah Tipton, MA, PLPC
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Counselor


2018 Agenda 

Friday, October 26, 2018

7:30am – 8:15am:  Registration and Networking

8:15am – 8:30am:  Welcoming

Presented by Nick Albares, Healthcare Policy Advisor to Governor John Bel Edwards

8:30am – 9:30am:  Breakfast Plenary

"Shhh...I'd Prefer Not to Talk About That Now" - Stigma: A Barrier to Progress

Many people in need of services do not access them because of perceived stigma. Understanding stigma and methods to reduce it are important for our efforts to improve health and safety for everyone. We will explore the meaning of stigma, how it is manifested, and ways to address it. 

Presented by Kari Finley, Ph.D., LCSW, Center for Health and Safety Culture, Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University

9:30am – 9:45am:  Break and Networking

9:45am – 10:45am: General Session #1

Session A

Legislative Updates and Opioids

This presentation will cover a brief history of opioid in world history and look at how we got here today. Additionally, we will review legislation passed in the 2018 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. Lastly, we will take a look at some of the initiatives from the Louisiana Attorney General's office and from other agencies throughout Louisiana.

Presented by Monica Taylor, Director of End The Epidemic, Office of the Louisiana Attorney General

Session B

Pharmacology & Substance Use Disorder

This presentation will provide an update on the pharmacology of Naloxone and Buprenorphine-Naloxone presentations.  Drug Interactions associated with medications utilized for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) will be presented.  It will also cover current legislation regarding prescribing of opioids, availability of Naloxone for the general public, as well as a review of the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Presented by Paul Knecht, M.S., Pharm.D, Medicaid Pharmacy Program, Lecturer, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Southeastern Louisiana University

10:45am – 11:15am: Break and Networking

11:15am – 12:15pm: General Session #2

Session A

Medicaid Reimbursement for Substance Use Disorder

Presented by Michael Boutte, Director for Medicaid Program Operations & Compliance and Amanda Joyner Office of Behavioral Health

Session B

Strategies to Address the Unique Needs of Women Who Misuse Opioids

This presentation will outline the biological and psychosocial factors that increase women's susceptibility to the use and misuse of opioids and highlight the unique treatment needs of this population.

Presented by Janzlean Laughinghouse, PhD, LCSW, Program Director for Addiction Recovery Services, Capital Area Human Services District

12:15pm – 1:15pm: Lunch and Networking

1:15pm – 2:15pm: General Session #3

Session A

SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment): An Overview through the Lens of Harm Reduction

SBIRT is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders, as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders. This workshop describes the SBIRT process and supporting evidence for its effectiveness in diverse primary and behavioral healthcare settings.

Presented by Catherine Lemieux, Margaret Champagne Womack Professor in Addictive Disorders, School of Social Work, Louisiana State University and Betsy Wilkes, LA-SBIRT Project Manager

Session B

Louisiana's Heroin Epidemic and the Overuse of Opioids

This nation is seeing its deadliest drug epidemic ever. Over the past 5 years, East Baton Rouge Parish has seen an alarming increase in the number of people dying from heroin and opioid overdoses which mirrors this national trend. This session will discuss why this epidemic has occurred and what some of the solutions are to overcoming this crisis.

Presented by William "Beau" Clark, MD, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner

2:15pm – 2:30pm Break and Networking

2:30pm – 3:30pm: General Session #4

Panel Discussion

3:30pm – 4:00pm Evaluations


Register Today!

Our 2018 Sponsors:


University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. This will be submitted for continuing education contact hours by the National Association of Social Workers, Louisiana Chapter as authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program will be submitted to the Louisiana Counseling Association as authorized by the Louisiana Professional Counselor Licensing Board of Examiners.

Register Today!