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Friday, Oct. 18

L’Auberge Casino & Hotel, Baton Rouge

Dr. Kari Finley with the Center for Health and Safety Culture at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University presenting on Stigma at the 2018 Open Talks

Dr. Kari Finley with the Center for Health and Safety Culture at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University presenting on Stigma at the 2018 Open Talks


8:30AM - Keynote

The Health Equity Imperative: Best Practice Strategies for Improving Care in Vulnerable Patient Populations

Duane Reynolds, MHA, President and CEO, Institute for Diversity and Health Equity and Vice-President of the American Hospital Association

9:45AM-10:45AM - General Session 1

Women's Track:  Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners – Providing a Victim Centered Approach, Beau Clark, MD and Mendy Escudier, RN, BSN, SANE, EBR Parish Coroner’s Office

Aging Track:  HIV and Aging: Challenges and Opportunities, Tavell Kindall, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AAHIVS, South Central AIDS Education Training Center

LGBTQ Track:  Culturally Competent Practice with LGBTQ+ People, Jena Ourso, LCSW, Open Health Care Clinic

11:00AM-12:00PM - General Session 2

Women's Track:  Disparities of Women's Mental Health, Bridget Sonnier, PhD., Woman's Hospital

Aging Track:  Alzheimer's, Julie Knight, MS, Director of Respite and Trainings, Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area

LGBTQ Track:  It’s Me Not You. Understanding Your Role in LGBTQ Health, Shamyra Howard, LCSW, On the Green Couch

1:00PM-2:00PM - General Session 3

Women's Track:  Inequities of Breast Cancer, Denise Johnson, DNP, Louisiana Breast & Cervical Program, LSU Health Science Center

Aging Track:  Caregivers of Patients with Heart Failure, Betty Monroe Kennedy, PhD, MPA, Community Outreach Specialist, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

LGBTQ Track:  Legal Rights and Policy, Sean Cahill, PhD, Director of Health Policy Research at the Fenway Institute

2:15PM-3:15PM - General Session 4

Women's Track:  Maternal Mortality Among Woman of Color, Tara Benjamin, MD, Woman’s Hospital

Aging Track:  Understanding Palliative Care: The Need and the Barriers, Mark Kantrow, MD, Our Lady of the Lake

LGBTQ Track:  Panel Discussion

*This continuing education conference WILL BE submitted to the LSU School of Social Work, ULL College of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals, Licensed Professional Counselors Association and the Louisiana Addiction Regulatory Authority.


2019 Theme:  Health Equity

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 provides CE approved sessions for nurses, social workers, LPC, LAC, CAC, RAC, CIT, students and other health care professionals on various disease states affecting the residents of Baton Rouge.

Our conference theme this year is health equity and will include three tracks focused on Aging, Women’s Health and LGBTQ.


  1. Provide awareness and education on health equity as it relates to the aging, women’s health and LGBTQ populations.

  2. Provide awareness with the current best practices and effective models in the delivery of care for the aging, women’s health and LGBTQ populations.

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As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), health inequities are avoidable inequalities in health between groups of people within countries and between countries. These inequities may arise from socioeconomic status, living conditions and other social, geographical, and environmental determinants. According to the CDC, health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to “attain his or her full health potential” and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” Open Talks will focus on health equity as it relates to the aging, women’s health and LGBTQ populations that are adversely affected. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports Louisiana’s elderly population accounts for a disproportionate amount of Medicaid program costs. Healthy People 2020 found that in elderly adults, disability rates are inversely related to income. Maternal health inequities exist across racial and ethnic lines, however, maternal and infant mortality and morbidity are highest for African Americans. According to the National LGBT Health Education Center, LGBT youth are two to three times more likely to commit suicide and are at a higher risk of HIV and STDs. By the end of the conference, attendees will be equipped to address these health equity issues in their practice and be more knowledgeable of how to aid their patients in an increased quality of life.


Conference venue

Join us at the luxurious L’Auberge Casino Hotel, a southern retreat designed to capture the rich culture of Baton Rouge.  Extend your  conference stay and indulge in lavish amenties at this property located on the Mississippi River.

Conference Rate for Thursday, October 17 - $109

Please call 1-866-261-7777 for reservations by 10.3.19. 

Group Name: ROPEN19 in order to receive the Group Rate.  

Planning Committee

Jamie Barney, DSW, LCSW-BACS
Director of Social Services

Pam Ellis, RN, ACRN
Board Member

La’Shantlen Russ, MPA
Project Manager

Lori Lauve
Director of Development

Jamie Roques, MPA, MPH, APRN
Director of Nursing

Shannon E. Wilkerson, LPC
Mental Health Counselor

Our 2019 Sponsors & exhibitors: