WOMEN'S HEALTH BLOG October 2022
Take Charge of Your Breast Health
Breast cancer has touched each one of us. Unfortunately, one in eight women will develop the disease by the time they turn 80. However, we can be proactive about our breast health by taking the necessary steps to impact our health. So what can you do to take charge of your breast health?
- Do monthly self-breast exams.
In Louisiana, we exceed the national average for women diagnosed with breast cancer below 45, an age that is before any recommended screening imaging guidelines. Noticing changes of the breast such as a mass, nipple discharge that comes out on its own, or skin changes at the earliest point can make a difference in the time to diagnosis and treatment. For women who are having cycles, the best time to perform the exam is about one week after their cycle begins. If you no longer have cycles, pick a consistent time each month. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be. Report any new changes to your physician.
2. Know your risk classification.
Are you average risk or high risk? Several things contribute to a person’s risk of developing breast cancer.
These include your menstrual and hormone history, family history, abnormal breast biopsies, alcohol intake, and obesity. These factors can be assessed to calculate your individual risk. Women who are high risk can be eligible for earlier screening and advanced imaging such as breast MRI and medications to help reduce their risk.
3. Know your family history.
Only about 5% of the population possesses a significant genetic mutation, but when discovered, it allows for different screening recommendations or surgical interventions. In addition, knowing all types of cancers present on both sides of your family can provide valuable information to see if genetic testing may be indicated.
4. Obtain yearly screening imaging.
Louisiana exceeds the national average for women diagnosed with breast cancer at late stages – when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Mammography is the recommended screening method for women 40 and over and can detect cancer before anything is felt. 3D mammography is better than 2D for detecting abnormalities, especially in women with denser breast tissue.
5. What are the best things that you can do to reduce your risk?
Because obesity, especially in postmenopausal women, is a risk factor, maintaining a healthy weight by incorporating weekly exercise. A diet focusing on reducing sugars and carbohydrates and watching alcohol intake are daily steps women can take. Limiting the combined hormone intake of estrogen and progesterone to less than four years will also reduce your risk. Sustained stress, which reduces the body’s natural immune system, will impact your defenses on a cellular level. Therefore, it is vital to take the time to invest in mindful, stress-reducing activities such as meditation or yoga and do things that regularly bring you joy.
Treatment is highly individualized based on a patient’s presentation, and recommendations are given with the intent to remove the current disease and reduce the chance that it does not return. Breast cancer is treatable, especially if discovered early. It is up to us as women to do the necessary things to ensure we do everything possible to reduce our risk of having the disease. We must ensure early detection becomes a staple in our health maintenance. Let’s all take the time to prioritize ourselves and our health.
About Shawn McKinney
MD, FACS MPH
Shawn McKinney, a native of New Orleans, LA, currently serves as the Director of Breast Services at University Medical Center New Orleans. She is Professor of Clinical Surgery, specializing in Breast Surgical Oncology at LSU Health Science Center New Orleans. After completing her high school education in New Orleans at Ursuline Academy, she graduated Magna cum Laude with a BS in Chemistry – Premedicine from Xavier University of Louisiana. She attended medical school and then surgical residency at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. After residency, she did a Surgical Breast Fellowship at Baylor University in Dallas, Texas and specialized in this field ever since. In 2018 she completed a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Health Administration at the University of Southern Mississippi. She brings her expertise back home to New Orleans to facilitate equitable breast care in the city she loves.
Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
From the Kitchen of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion
PUMPKIN PIE From the Kitchen of the Louisiana Governor's Mansion
This Holiday Season, bring a little taste of the Mansion into your festivities with this pumpkin pie recipe from the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion kitchen. Although this recipe is made from scratch, don’t let that intimidate you! This process is easy to follow, and the result is sure to be delicious! Download the recipe card HERE!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBS granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
3-4 TBS of water
Condensed “Caramelized” Milk
3.5 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
Pumpkin Pie Filling
~4 pie pumpkins (to make 15oz roasted pumpkin puree)
1 ¼ cup Condensed “Caramelized” Milk
2 eggs, 1 egg yolk
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt|
¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
Cut the top and bottom of the pumpkin, then cut in half and remove the seeds. In a bowl, add vegetable oil to the pumpkins until they are evenly coated, and place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast at 400 F for 40 minutes or until pumpkins are soft.
- Remove from oven and peel off skins. Process in a food processor until completely smooth.
In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Pulse a couple of times to get all dry ingredients incorporated.
- Add 1 cup of butter. Pulse until the dough comes together. Add the 3-4 TBS of water.
- Roll dough on a floured surface and place in an 8” pie tin.
Mix all filling ingredients into a bowl to make the custard.
- Pour custard into the pie tin on top of the pie crust.
- Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 325 F.
- Cool and serve with whipped cream and fresh nutmeg as needed.
DR. DAVID SCHEXNAYDRE, JR.
DR. DAVID SCHEXNAYDRE, JR.
2023 Louisiana State Principal of the Year
Harry Hurst Middle School,
Principal/St. Charles Parish Public Schools
“Greatness Lies Within Each of Us – Sometimes We Just Need Help in Getting It Out”
My favorite movie as a kid was Space Jam. I know, I know, it’s not exactly a film of critical acclaim, but something about watching Michael Jordan lead a rag-tag group of toons in a high-stakes basketball game just resonated with me when I saw it for the first time as a middle schooler. Recently, I’ve re-watched it a couple of times as my two children have discovered the movie and taken a liking to it as well.
Even though I’m now a principal, I’ll always be a teacher at heart – always looking for teachable moments and opportunities to impart life lessons to anyone who’ll listen – or at least pretend to listen! So imagine my excitement, then, as the plot of Space Jam unfolded, illustrating one of life’s most important lessons, especially for educators…
For context, Michael Jordan and the toons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc.) are playing in a basketball game against a group of aliens who have stolen and harnessed the talent of several NBA legends. At halftime, Michael Jordan and the toons are losing to the aliens by a score of 1,039 to 37, and the toons are ready to forfeit when Michael encourages the toons to drink from a water bottle labeled “Michael’s Secret Stuff.” The “Secret Stuff” magically gives the toons the skills of Michael Jordan, and they go out and lead an impassioned comeback, ultimately winning the game. Later on, it is revealed that the “Secret Stuff” was actually just water, and the toons, as Michael tells them, “had the ‘Secret Stuff’ inside (them) all along.” They just needed encouragement and someone to believe in them for it to come out.
Watching this, I thought about the students, faculties, and staff at schools across the state. How can we help them grow, thrive, and realize that they each have greatness inside of them? Are we doing everything we can to help them become the best version of themselves? What else can we do to be their “Michael Jordan” and bring out the “Secret Stuff” that they already inside of them?
While my school doesn’t have all the answers, and we’re always focused on continuous improvement, these are a few of the steps we’ve taken to try and help each person on my campus be seen, heard, and empowered:
- I paired with my counselors, and we met with every single student, individually, face-to-face, for one-minute meetings to get to know our students and their goals, along with gauging their safety and feel for school.
- We created a teacher-leader pipeline and empowered our faculty to create the initiatives and professional learning they needed to succeed.
- We formed a Principal’s Advisory Student Committee to provide me with feedback on our school and what we can do to make the educational experience better for everyone.
- We trained our teachers in Mindfulness, and now every class period begins with 10-30 seconds of focused breathing as students learn to center themselves, self-regulate, and be present in the moment.
- We educate everyone on our campus on the Growth Mindset and help them understand that their brain is a muscle that grows, and they can learn to improve skills that they focus on and commit effort to.
Again, we don’t have it all figured out, but our student, family, and faculty surveys all indicate that we’re making progress, and the students and teachers on our campus largely feel empowered and fulfilled.
I believe this is especially important work because many of these steps, especially Growth Mindset and Mindfulness, are tools our students and faculty can carry with them and utilize for the rest of their lives. These are intrinsic tools and can be applied in any endeavor, at any time, and are a solid foundation to stand on when life gets tough or when challenges come our way. After all, part of our core work is preparing those we serve for the road ahead.
Michael Jordan was my idol as a child – When adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them that I wanted to be in the NBA. While a professional sports career ultimately wasn’t in the cards for me, I’m glad that I have the opportunity to “Be Like Mike” by helping others become the best version of themselves and empowering them with the realization that they are enough and already have everything inside of them that they need to be successful and live out their dreams.
–Dr. David Schexnaydre, Jr.
2023 Louisiana State Principal of the Year
Harry Hurst Middle School,
Principal/St. Charles Parish Public Schools
School Website: https://www.stcharles.k12.la.us/hurst
Facebook: David Schexnaydre, Jr.
Veterans Day 2022
Veterans Day Activities 2022
The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs will celebrate Veterans Day by participating in and supporting events across the state in honor of Louisiana’s 283,000 veterans.
At LDVA, we like to say that every day is Veterans Day because we serve the veteran population daily. Currently, we serve veterans in 74 parish service offices and 32 student veteran centers on college campuses. We also care for veterans in our five state-run veterans’ homes and bury veterans with honor in our five state-run veteran cemeteries.
Note: If you are hosting an event and would like it added to this list, please email all information to email@example.com.
Here are the activities currently listed. You can visit this link for activities entered after the publication of this blog.
Nov. 3 – Veterans Luncheon
Nov. 5 – Vets for Vets Warrior Run
Nov. 6 – Veterans Day Ceremonies
Nov. 6-Nov. 12 – Prayer Breakfast
Nov. 7 – Red Stick Veterans Week Kickoff
Nov. 8 – Yoga on the Lawn
Nov. 9 – Veterans Career/Benefits Fair
Nov. 10 – Smoke ‘Em If Ya Got ‘Em
Nov. 11 – SU AROTC Veterans Ball
Nov. 12 – Red Stick Battle Run 5K
Nov. 8 – Veterans Day Ceremony
Nov. 10 – Fourth Annual Veterans Day Celebration
Nov. 10 – Third Annual Veterans Day Parade 9:30 a.m.
Nov. 10 – Third Annual Veterans Day Parade 10 a.m.
Nov. 10 – Veterans Day Celebration
Nov. 10 – Veterans Day Ceremony
Nov. 10 – Veterans Day and Marine Corps Birthday Ceremonies
Nov. 10 – Veterans Day Parade 2 p.m.
Nov. 11 – Iberville Salute to Veterans
Special presentation of Purple Heart to local family of soldier killed in war by Gov. John Bel Edwards
Nov. 11 – Memorial Mass 10 a.m.
Nov. 11 – Veterans Day Crab Boil and Live Music
$10 cover; free entry and meal for veterans/military
Nov. 11 – Veterans Day Ceremony 11 a.m.
Nov. 11-Nov. 13 – Louisiana Vet Fest 2022
Nov. 12 – 2022 Veterans Honor Ceremony 5 p.m.
Nov. 12 – City of Walker Veterans Day Parade 11 a.m.
Register by Monday, Nov. 7; no fee, American themed
Free meal for veterans and spouses following parade at Walker Community Center, 30225 Corbin Ave.
Nov. 12 – Veterans Day Breakfast
Nov. 12 – Veterans Day Celebration
Nov. 13 – Ascension Veterans Parade 2 p.m.
Nov. 13 – Veterans Parade 2 p.m.
Nov. 16 – Veterans Recognition Program
ASLEY WALLIS LANDRY,
MBA, CSBI, SOLC
Chief Operating Officer,
HCO Behavioral Health Services
Mental Health Community in Louisiana
by Ashley Wallis Landry, MBA, CSBI, SOLC
CEO - HCO Behavioral Health Services
Asking for help to improve your mental health does not have to be scary. HCO Behavioral Health Services is here for each step of the journey.
Did you know?…
According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), 1 in 5 people experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year – for the state of Louisiana, this statistic is an estimated 650,000 adults and 245,000 children (LDH.LA.GOV). Unfortunately, about 40 percent of individuals with mental health concerns do not seek professional help. (Forbes, 2021) These statistics are more than just mere numbers. These staggering numbers could represent your mother, father, sister, brother, and even your closest friends. According to the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI), serious mental illness is defined as a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that meets the criteria of the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and results in functional impairment substantially interfering with or limiting one or more of life’s activities. In most cases, the individuals that do not seek the necessary treatment to improve their mental health feel shame and humiliation for speaking up and refuse to ask for help. The impact of mental health on our community and the delayed promotion of mental health awareness has pledged Louisiana for far too long.
Equip, Empower, Enact Change
At HCO Behavioral Health Services, we are passionate about impacting the mental health community in Louisiana. At HCO BHS, we offer caring, compassionate, and complete therapy by providing services to our clients in person and online. While recognizing that one of the biggest obstacles to care is access, HCO has service providers in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Gonzales, Ponchatoula, Hammond, and surrounding communities. We specialize in Mental Health Rehabilitation (MHR) services for adults and adolescents starting at 6. HCO also has services dedicated to treating clients that are Military – Active Duty, Reservist, First Responders, and their family members. More recently, we have joined in solidarity with other community partners against Human Trafficking.
Additionally, we have Licensed therapists that treat clients with trauma and crisis, especially clients that were victims of sex trafficking. Our goal is to treat clients with the care and compassion needed to overcome life’s challenges and reclaim the life that all individuals deserve. Every program and all sessions are tailored specifically to the client’s needs with the hope of reestablishing ways to successfully work, learn, and function fully in their communities.
Because many people with a serious mental illness also suffer from substance abuse/dependence, we recently opened Empower Recovery Center, an Intensive Outpatient Program designed to treat the whole person. Studies show that over 25 percent of adults with a serious mental illness also abuse alcohol or illicit drugs. HCO specializes in co-occurrence and a dual diagnosis method that treats clients’ substance abuse and mental health needs in one setting. More recently, Empower Recovery Center forged a partnership with Crossroads Recovery Center of Louisiana, who specializes in MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment) in both Baton Rouge and Gonzales. This affiliation allows clients the best opportunities to fully recover from drug abuse no matter what stage of the journey a person finds themselves.
The Care You Deserve.
If you or a family member has mental health concerns, today can be the start of the best chapter in life. At HCO BHS, we allow our clients to guide the entire process from start to finish as your counselor works with you to help you find a path through your emotions, fears, pains, and anxiety. At HCO BHS, we believe in a future where mental illness can be without stigma, a future where mental illnesses are communicated without fear, and a future where everyone with mental health concerns can access effective treatment, critical resources, and a strong support system. I wholeheartedly believe in the work we do at HCO Behavioral Health Services. Our staff is dedicated to treating persons living with mental illness and is committed to serving clients with hope, love, and a caring heart. At HCO BHS, we make getting the help you need simple.
Now is the time to change the narrative. Today we will reduce the stigma around mental health. We bravely encourage all to have honest conversations centered around improving mental health wellness, providing access to treatment, and advocating for preventive measures.
Call us today to start your journey at 225-261-7143 or visit our website at HCOHealth.com
LinkedIn: @Ashley Wallis Landry
Meet Our New
New Executive Director,
Meet our new Executive Director of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation, Mrs. Chancely Ducote!
Chancely began her journey with the Edwards administration in 2016 as a volunteer in the transition and now works full time as the Executive Assistant to the Governor’s Chief of Staff. Chancely is a Baton Rouge native and lover of all things Louisiana (well, maybe except for the humidity). She’s passionate about the Governor’s Mansion, protecting its beauty, preserving its architectural integrity, and telling its story.
Chancely can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries.
Teach MAM: An Exciting Partnership to Strengthen Arts Education Across Louisiana
A Louisiana State of Mind
By Teach MAM Visual Arts Ambassador
Carolyn Lenora Scalfano
The wonderful thing about living in Louisiana is that eventually, the heat subsides, and the weather breaks. The smell in the air reminds us that we have outlasted the intense subtropical climate of our uniquely unpredictable state, and there is a promise on the horizon for approaching cooler weather and a break from the scorching summer temperatures.
One whiff of the October air is all it takes to engage euphoric olfactory recall and instantly retreat in our minds to a time to celebrate autumn festivities and relish in them with our loved ones.
As an educator, we must cater to the diverse population we serve. In many cultures, Halloween is a holiday that is joyfully celebrated. However, that is not the case for all families. This is an important factor to consider in the classroom when October approaches.
In my experience, Halloween may be a touchy subject for some students due to cultural or religious preferences within their homes. So how do we delicately navigate our approach to activities with our students without offending others or making them feel left out?
One well-known approach is to link costumes and dressing up with literacy. For example, if your school allows a day for students to be out of uniform in celebration of Halloween, use this opportunity to choose a favorite character from a book, and dress as that character, rather than a traditional “spooky” costume. A school-wide pumpkin painting contest based on books is another way to avoid any negative connotations associated with the autumn holiday. My all-time favorite example of similar activities is the “Vocabulary Parade,” invented by author and educator Debra Frasier in 1991, where “The costume describes a vocabulary word they have selected or been assigned by a teacher.”
The health, wellness, and safety of our students are always the primary focus of the staff at an elementary school. Therefore, I find it beneficial to review Trick-or-Treating guidelines and tips with students and parents. Our community in Central Louisiana has an abundance of fall activities for children that may serve as safer options than going door-to-door in neighborhoods. Trunk-or-Treat events are happening throughout October at local hospitals, churches, libraries, zoos, and non-profits. My children and I attend these events every year, and I’m here to tell you – they are so much fun! Most places provide hayrides, petting zoos, fun jumps, and craft activities for children at no cost. Not to mention, what a great opportunity to score lots of candy and treats!
I wish you and yours a fun and joyful October. Enjoy the cooler weather! Try reaching out to local libraries to find safe local events. And most importantly, please don’t forget to embrace and celebrate the variety of cultures in our schools. I have found that most quiet students are quiet because they may feel different or left out. I encourage you to reach out to these specific individuals. Ask about the holidays in their homes, share with them about your family’s traditions, and try to make sure they feel heard and included in the celebration of this new season.
Happy fall, y’all!
–Carolyn Lenora Scalfano
Teach MAM Visual Arts Ambassador 2020 – 2023
The Michelle Johnson Act
The Michelle Johnson Act
by Michelle Johnson
In 2016, I met with legal aid representatives at STAR to see about getting my criminal record expunged. I served my time for the crimes I was forced to commit while being trafficked and was ready for a clean slate. Because of my record, I experienced being denied housing, employment, and access to higher education. I was ready for a fresh start and to erase yet another reminder of my victimization.
Unfortunately, that “new start” didn’t happen due to the barriers of the Louisiana expungement law. After learning that it would take ninety-six years to expunge my record, I felt hopeless and defeated. I didn’t understand why I had to live the rest of my life as a convicted felon when all my charges directly resulted from me being trafficked. I remember crying for hours and questioning our laws. Not only was I physically and mentally scarred from my victimization, but my name was also tarnished.
I could have given up, but instead, I dedicated myself to advocating for myself and other survivors of human trafficking who face the same challenges. While I could have applied for a pardon, I decided against it and put my faith in God and our government. For five years, I advocated for post-conviction relief for survivors.
In 2021, The Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board submitted a recommendation to provide post-conviction relief for victims of human trafficking, which ultimately was picked up in the legislature. I boldly testified in both the House and Senate on what a victim of trafficking endures while “in the life” and how we have no control over the crimes we are forced to commit. I was overwhelmed by the bipartisan support from the legislature and governor for SB148.
On May 26, 2022, Governor John Bel Edwards signed ACT 130, known as the “Michelle Johnson Act” into law. It is an honor to have a law named after me and see how it impacts the lives of other survivors. I look forward to continuing my efforts in fighting against human trafficking in Louisiana and advocating for victims and survivors.
–Michelle Johnson, Survivor Leader