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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.

Online registration for Open Talks will be available in August. If you have questions, please contact our Development Director, Lori Lauve at or (225) 424-1772.

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

“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.  

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

Medicaid Reimbursement for Substance Use Disorder

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

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

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

Louisiana’s Heroin Epidemic and the Overuse of Opioids

William “Beau” Clark, MD, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner

 Two more presentation will be added in the near future.

Our 2018 Sponsors: