Category Archives: Member News

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System and Perspectum Offer New Insights into Liver Health with LiverMultiScan

Shreveport, Louisiana, Nov. 6, 2020 – CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System is doing its part to fight liver disease across the region with Perspectum’s new LiverMultiScan diagnostic technology.

In the United States, it is estimated that more than 30 million people suffer from some form of liver disease. Whether it is inherited through genetics or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses, alcohol use and obesity, liver disease can do lasting, sometimes life-threatening damage. Over time, conditions that damage the liver can lead to scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition. However, early treatment may give the liver time to heal – and that means diagnosis can be the key to saving lives in North Louisiana.

“To serve this community and combat liver disease we invested in a state-of-the-art LiverMultiScan diagnostic technology to aid in this fight,” said Steen Trawick, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier. “LiverMultiScan gives doctors and patients in North Louisiana access to the latest diagnostic aids to help improve the clinical journey for patients with liver disease.”

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier now offers the LiverMultiScan, a non-invasive test that can assess liver health using a comprehensive non-contrast MRI to scan for tissue characterization, at CHRISTUS Bossier Emergency Hospital.

“This technology is such a game-changer for this community because it allows us to diagnose and, if necessary, treat patients sooner,” said David Dies, M.D., Hepatologist. “There are numerous types of liver disease, but many patients do not show obvious symptoms until the later stages of the disease. If undiagnosed and left untreated, liver disease can lead to liver failure and the need for a transplant – and the risks are higher for patients who may be overweight, or have diabetes or high cholesterol. But, if liver disease is diagnosed early, it may be possible to halt or reverse disease progression.”

LiverMultiScan is a diagnostic aid that uses multiparametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to non-invasively quantify liver tissue. Essentially, this technology allows clinicians to better view and analyze liver tissue than what would be possible with an MRI alone. Because it is non-invasive procedure, all that is required is a quick scan that takes less than 30 minutes. Even though the scan is simple, the outcome can have tremendous impact on the patient’s behalf: the results from LiverMultiScan will help a doctor determine the extent of liver damage and what type of treatment is best for each individual patient.

“This is thought to be the most accurate scan to date for issues of the liver such as scar tissues, inflammation, hepatitis, fatty deposits on the liver and iron deposition,” said Dr. Dies. “More importantly, it quantifies the amount of each of those items, something that no other scan can do. Instead of doing repeated liver biopsies, a patient can receive a LiverMultiScan to see if a new treatment is working. Further, it gives a very accurate stage of liver disease each time it is performed and it is reproducible. No other non-invasive scan or test has this degree of accuracy. It will revolutionize our research of the liver and significantly shorten the time for the development of new drugs for the liver.”

By offering Perspectum’s LiverMultiScan to their patients, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier can provide a better understanding of a patient’s liver health and offer them a safe and non-invasive alternative to liver biopsy.

“As liver disorders and other abnormalities become more and more prevalent, especially in our region, it is important our clinicians can diagnose and track the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Trawick. “The ability to diagnose liver disease more easily, and sooner, will have a tremendous impact on our patients and in this community.”

Bossier Parish Principals of the Year Named for 2021-22

A trio of school administrators will represent Bossier Parish as they advance to the regional level for the 2021-22 Principal of the Year competition. Superintendent Mitch Downey showed up on the doorstep at three schools early this morning to surprise the district elementary, middle and high school winners.

Brooke Nolte was chosen as Bossier Parish Elementary Principal of the Year. Nolte is principal at Stockwell Place Elementary, an A rated school that has garnered accolades as a Top Gains school and Equity Honoree. An
educator for 18 years and a previous Teacher of the Year, Stockwell’s Special Education subgroup performed better than 97-percent of all Louisiana schools in 2019 under Nolte’s leadership, while students of color and economically disadvantaged children performed better than 94-percent of all Louisiana schools.

A proud product of Bossier Schools, Haughton Middle School Principal Richard Warren began his teaching career 19 years ago and was named Teacher of the Year in 2007. He helped implement the robotics program at
Bossier Schools and served as the co-creator of the Regional Autonomous Robotics Competition.

Warren later became Assistant Principal at Haughton Middle, then Principal in 2016. Under his leadership, the school performance score has improved consistently at the largest middle school in the parish.

David Thrash has been in education for 38 years and spent the last 14 of those as principal of Bossier High School. Considered the dean of Bossier Parish high school principals, Thrash won the 2011 Louisiana State
Principal of the Year title and was the Bossier Parish High School Principal of the Year in 2010 and 2018.

Bossier High has seen big gains under the leadership of Thrash, most notably the school’s current letter grade improving to a ‘B.’

“These three principals are incredible leaders and that is evident by the positive impact they have had on student achievement,” said Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “You will not find more deserving administrators that are better poised to represent our parish and state.”

Bossier Parish Library announces plans to move forward on a new Central Library facility

BOSSIER CITY, LA — On October 22, the Library Board of Control approved plans to move forward on the construction of a new $9.5 million Central Library & History Center. Heather McEntee, Director of Libraries for Bossier Parish Libraries said bids on the construction of the new facility, which will be located on City Hall Drive, will hopefully be advertised sometime in the first quarter of 2021.

“We’re excited about the prospect for providing a state-of-the-art facility for our library patrons,” McEntee stated. The current Central Library & History Center complex is three buildings that have been pieced together over the last 30+ years.

Plans to build a new Central Library have been in the works in some form since 2011 with several previous designs being halted due to high costs and limitations of renovating the existing building. The first renovation design was projected at $20 million. In 2019 the Bossier Parish Police Jury facilitated the purchase of land on City Hall Drive from the City of Bossier City providing the opportunity for new construction. In planning, the library reserved and allocated funds for this project specifically so there would be no need to ask taxpayers for more money, nor would a bond issue be needed.

Included in the 39,300 sqaure foot facility will be an expanded History Center which McEntee said is designed to become a destination center. “We want the History Center to be a vital part of the library experience,” she said. “We’re planning to have interactive displays that will bring our history to life.”

For more information about these capital projects, how they are funded, why they are needed, and how the library contributes to economic development, visit https://www.bossierlibrary.org/about/central-faq.

NSU’s oldest graduate celebrates 110th birthday

NATCHITOCHES – Earline Hart Andrews, NSU’s oldest living graduate, celebrates her 110th birthday this week.  Though her hearing and eyesight are poor and she uses a walker for mobility, Andrews’ memory and intellect are as sharp as ever. Andrews graduated from Louisiana Normal, as NSU was then known, in 1931, and spent 43 years teaching in Texas before retiring in 1975. 

Earline Hart Andrews holds a book from Northwestern State University where she is the oldest living graduate. She was awarded her diploma in 1931. Andrews will celebrate her 105th birthday on October 28. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Born Oct. 28, 1910, she described riding a horse to Vivian High School from her father’s farm just over the Texas line and falling into the habit of racing — and outrunning — Model Ts, for which she was reprimanded by her parents.  She enrolled at Normal after graduating from Vivian High and arrived in Natchitoches with seven other girls from her class, never having been away from home before.  At that time, girls only left their dormitories at prescribed times and students paid a quarter to watch silent movies on Saturday evenings. 

Andrews was awarded her diploma in the heart of the Great Depression when jobs were scarce and some schools had to pay their teachers with “scripts” that didn’t necessarily cover their salaries. She sought employment in an oilfield town near El Dorado, Arkansas, taught there for four years at a salary of $120 a month. She returned to Texas in 1934 to teach at Overton near Kilgore at a salary of $100 per month and held that position for 14 years. She earned a master’s degree in history at Stephen F. Austin and later retired after teaching in Tyler, Texas, for 26 years.

“I was a very dedicated classroom teacher,” she said.

Her memories of Normal include campus buildings and codes of conduct that are long gone. Like many alumni, Andrews recalls her days at Normal as a time of learning and forming close friendships with her classmates. Many were from rural areas and away from home for the first time. Because trips off-campus were limited, the students entertained themselves with social and cultural programs, athletic events and recitals.

An avid reader and traveler, Andrews during her life visited 48 states in the U.S., and every continent except for Antarctica and Australia.  She is also a genealogist who traced her ancestors to the 500s. Andrews was a long-time resident of Tyler but relocated to the Fort Worth-area to live with a niece a few years ago.

BPCC ANNOUNCES 2020 LCTCS AWARD WINNERS

Bossier Parish Community College is proud to recognize its Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) 2020 award winners.

The annual LCTCS Conference was held virtually this year. Awards were announced during the Plenary sessions Oct 8th and 15th. Awardees were recognized in the following categories:  Outstanding Professional Staff, Outstanding Faculty, Outstanding Professional Support Staff and Distinguished Retiree.

BPCC’s award recipients for 2020 are:

Jennifer Lofton, Assistant Professor of English – Outstanding Faculty

Rusty Johnson, Support Technician – Outstanding Professional Staff

Mandy Cole, Human Resources Analyst B – Outstanding Professional Support Staff

Dan Cain, Program Director for Criminal Justice – Distinguished Retiree

Jennifer Lofton – Outstanding Faculty

Jennifer Lofton began working for BPCC as an adjunct in January 2014. Later that year, she was hired to teach as a full time English instructor. During her first year in the English department, she was introduced to Peggy Fuller and hired as a part-time employee at the advising center that summer. She loved being able to work closely with the students in the classroom and outside of the classroom in a different setting. Jennifer also teaches as an adjunct at Louisiana Tech Barksdale, and is an alumnus from Tech as well. She received both her B.A. in English and M.A. in Language and Literature at Louisiana Tech. Jennifer first taught in North Carolina at a community technical college before returning to North Louisiana and teaching for BPCC. Since her start at BPCC, she has been able to play leadership roles in committees such as Professional Development and Grade Appeals, and she has served on several ad hoc committees within the Liberal Arts Department. On campus, she has had the pleasure of advising wonderful individuals to help with starting their degree and career path and takes pride in watching her students begin in English developmental courses then graduate with their associate’s degree.

Rusty Johnson – Outstanding Professional Staff

Rusty joined Bossier Parish Community College and the LCTCS Family in 2005 as a member of the D of Telecommunications. With that Division, he was part of the early successes of the BPCC Film Institute as they earned multiple awards. He played a major role in the production of six feature films and three feature-length documentaries; one of which was broadcast across the State as part of LPB’s annual membership drive in 2008. In 2013, Rusty transitioned to the Division of Educational Technology where he has been instrumental in the development of quality online and hybrid courses. He provided early support to the BPCC Open Campus initiative by assisting faculty with the lecture capture process. In 2015, with the help of generous grant funding, he implemented a campus-wide video streaming platform used primarily for lecture capture but has since been adopted for livestreaming graduation ceremonies and BPCC Athletics events. In 2016, Rusty was recognized with the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College, and in 2018 he became a Google-certified I.T. Support Professional. He currently serves as a member of BPCC’s Faculty/Staff Steering Committee as they help shape the future for the institution. Since 2008, Rusty has been the voice of Cavaliers Basketball performing public address duties.

Mandy Cole – Outstanding Professional Support Staff

Mandy Cole is a Human Resources Analyst B at Bossier Parish Community College. She joined the Human Resources team at BPCC as an Administrative Coordinator 3 in 2015, was promoted to Analyst A in 2018, and recently accepted her new position as Analyst B in April of 2020. Having worked mostly in customer service based industries, she understands the value of promoting a positive culture and enjoys helping her fellow coworkers. Mandy is a north Louisiana native, and lived in Mississippi for 15 years before returning and making Louisiana home again. Mandy and her husband Michael are the parents of three daughters. Their family enjoys camping and hiking.

Dan Cain – Distinguished Retiree

Dan recently retired on June 30, 2020 with an accrued forty and a half years of service with Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) working with the Criminal Justice program. Dan became a Dallas Police Officer in 1973 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Northeast Louisiana University. Dan went on to graduate school at Sam Houston State University and earned his master’s degree in Police Science and Administration, while still working for the Dallas Police Department. In 1981, Dan was given an opportunity to return to his hometown of Bossier City, Louisiana and take over a brand-new criminal justice academic program at BPCC. That program started with an average of 15 students per semester and has grown to a current average of approximately 400 criminal justice students per semester. Dan and his wife, Mimi, have been married now for 46 years and have four grown children.

Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast to go virtual for 2020

The 39th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be virtual for the very first time on Thursday, November 5, 2020. The event will be live streamed at 7:30 a.m. on YouTube.

“I believe the need for prayers is especially important with all the natural and manmade problems which now affect our nation and the international community. The virtual meeting is consistent with the need to consider the health implications of an in-person meeting and will continue the annual prayer event for our community,” said Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.

Citizens, clergy, business leaders and elected officials will gather together virtually for approximately one hour to listen, reflect and pray for the continued growth and revitalization of their communities. 

Shreveport Bossier Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Chair Sandy Cimino, says due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns, they were unable to have an in-person event this year. 

“We have a minimum of 800 who attend this event, from high school age to 80-plus years each year. There was no way to decide who would be eliminated, and who could attend. Most of our sponsors have supported us for over 30 years.  Due to our size, we alternate between the Bossier Civic Center and the Shreveport Convention Center. Neither could guarantee the number we could have nor who the food could be served,” Cimino said.

“This event takes months of planning and could not be put together in a month. Therefore, the board decided to go virtual which will allow us to reach so many more people,” she added.

The 39th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will feature Mrs. Merlyna Adams Valentine as  the events guest speaker.

Valentine is a national speaker, author, consultant, trainer, and owner of Merlyna Valentine Consulting, LLC. As a well- respected educator for over thirty years, Ms. Valentine served as a teacher, principal, and executive director in a highly successful school district. 

Her transformational leadership as a school principal resulted in her school’s recognition as a “Top Gains” school. She has received numerous awards and commendations such as teacher of the year, principal of the year, and was chosen as the University of New Orleans College of Education and Human Development Alumna of the Year. 

“Merlyna’s captivating story of persevering through a life-threatening illness and quadruple amputations to a life of continued passion and purpose will be a blessing to all of us,” said Cimino.

The purpose of the breakfast is to give the community a chance to come together in prayer, and realize the responsibility we have to those around us. The link for the virtual Prayer Breakfast is https://tinyurl.com/SBMPB-live-event

Bossier’s Hopkins named Mr. NSU

NATCHITOCHES – Kristen Prejean of Lafayette has been named Miss NSU and Nicholas Hopkins of Bossier City has been named Mr. NSU by students at Northwestern State University. The honor is one of the highest a Northwestern State student can receive and is based on academic achievement and involvement in campus activities.

Nicholas Hopkins of Bossier City, left and Kristen Prejean of Lafayette.

Looking back on all of my years here at NSU, I have always looked up to the past Miss NSU’s and the nominees,” said Prejean. “It almost doesn’t seem real to be receiving the same honor as many incredible women who have come before me. I am so thankful for everyone who believed in me and helped me along the way. Being able to share my love and pride for NSU with everyone around me is a feeling like no other. 

Hopkins is equally honored by being selected by his peers.

“I feel so honored to have received this distinction from the students of this great university that we all call home,” said Hopkins, a senior business administration major. “NSU has been my life since my journey here began in the fall of 2017 and I am so grateful to be able to represent Northwestern State in this capacity.

Prejean, a biology/pre-med major, is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity, Alpha Lambda Delta, Order of Omega, Blue Key, Beta Beta Beta and the African-American Caucus. She is Student Government Association vice president. Prejean was the queen of the 2019 Homecoming Honor Court. She was a Presidential Ambassador and was a freshman orientation leader. Prejean is a President’s List student.

“Once I decided that I was attending NSU, I came here and knew that I wanted to get the most out of my college experience,” said Prejean. “I didn’t want these four years to go by without giving it my all because I know what you put into something is what you get out.”

For Prejean, the starting point was being selected as a presidential ambassador as a freshman.

“I loved given tours and learning about NSU so much that it made me want to get involved more,” she said. “Once I joined SGA and Freshmen Connection, I was inspired by other student leaders who were older than me. Seeing many of them so involved, making friends, and mentoring others made me want to do more and be that person to mentor others along the way as well.”

Prejean feels extracurricular activities have helped her learn things and have experiences that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.

Some of the most meaningful connections that I formed throughout my time here at NSU have been made outside of the classroom,” said Prejean. “Getting involved has given me so many leadership skills and taught me life lessons that just can’t be taught in the classroom. I have made friendships and memories that will last a lifetime in many of the organizations that I got involved in. You never know who you will meet that can impact your life.”

Hopkins is president of the Student Government Association. He is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Lambda Delta academic honor society, Order of Omega Greek Honor Society and the Catholic Student Organization. Hopkins served as a Freshman Connection orientation leader in 2018 and 2019. This summer, he graduated from the 2020 Governor’s Fellows Program after working for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.  Hopkins was elected to be chairman of the University of Louisiana System Student Advisory Council for 2020-21.

“I decided to become involved because I really wanted to get the most out of my student experience while I was in college,” said Hopkins. “As a member of Greek Life, Student Government, a former orientation leader, and active member in many other campus organizations, I feel like I’ve had an incredibly enriching student experience. I have made so many close, true friends on this campus and that is largely due to my involvement.

Hopkins tries to live by the words of author Neale Donald Walsch once said “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

“I think that it’s important for you to branch out while you’re in college,” he said. “Getting involved can be scary and may push the boundaries of your comfort zone, but the benefits are worth it.”

BPCC & GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY FORGE NEW PARTNERSHIP

Bossier Parish Community College and Grambling State University signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday allowing qualified BPCC employees who wish to enroll at Grambling State University to receive reduced tuition waiver benefits.

“Bossier Parish Community College and Grambling State University share a common vision of innovation and collaboration, which ultimately leads to enhanced educational services for our region. We are so grateful to be able to offer our faculty and staff this opportunity to further their education with such an outstanding leader in higher education at a reduced cost,” said BPCC Chancellor, Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr. “This partnership demonstrates our continued commitment to ensuring a quality higher education remains affordable and accessible for our people and together, we will continue to create pathways for higher education opportunities in northwest Louisiana.”

Under the agreement, full-time faculty and staff at BPCC will be allowed to enroll at Grambling State University for undergraduate or graduate courses at a reduced rate plus certain applicable fees.

“Grambling State welcomes the opportunity to work with the outstanding faculty and staff at BPCC who seek to enhance their education,” said Grambling State President Rick Gallot. “The commitment to continued growth and knowledge signifies the culture of excellence that exists there.”

Full-time BPCC employees must meet normal admission requirements for enrollment in the GSU program.  They will be able to register for up to six (6) hours per semester (including the summer term) at a reduced rate of $25 per credit hour, not to exceed $75 for any three (3) credit hour undergraduate course and for up to six (6) hours per semester (including the summer term) at a reduced rate of $50, not to exceed $150 for any three (3) credit hour graduate course.

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health Supports First Responders with Lifesaving Donation

Left to right: Fire Chief Scott Wolverton; Firefighter Oliver Harris; Dr. Steen Trawick, CHRISTUS Shreveport Bossier Health System CEO; Celia Carr, RN, STEMI Coordinator for CHRISTUS Shreveport Bossier Health System

Shreveport, Louisiana, Oct.6, 2020 – CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System has again demonstrated its longstanding support of the region’s first responders by donating three life vests to the Shreveport Fire Department.

“We work together with our first responders in Shreveport every day, and we are so very thankful for the lifesaving work the Shreveport firefighters do on behalf of this community,” said T. Steen Trawick, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System. “They truly are ‘Shreveport’s Bravest’ and we are proud to present them with this token of our appreciation.”

Within a split second, firefighters and EMS personnel can be called to dangerous situations and often require serious protective gear. These FRK 360 GenII plate carrier vests are made and by first responders to meet their needs in the ever-changing dynamics of emergency services.

“We appreciate the generosity of Christus Health, as they provide equipment to protect our firefighters,” said Scott Wolverton, Fire Chief, Shreveport Fire Department.

The vests were donated by CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System through their community benefit fund, designated to provide support and assistance to the communities they serve.

Tech’s new health communication center teams with LDH

Louisiana Tech students are involved in an ongoing project that will help the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) create different much-needed items for the state’s COVID-19 health outreach activities.

The opportunity arose when Tech’s new Center for Health and Medical Communication was recently asked to join the LDH’s COVID-19 Communication-Health Promotion Advisory Council. The Center was then tasked with creating educational information not only on COVID-19, but also on other infectious diseases, such as the flu.

A collaborative effort between the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering and Science, the Center for Health and Medical Communication was created in the Spring 2020 and falls under the University’s Research and Innovation Enterprise as a Research Center of Excellence. 

The Center’s purpose is to conduct original research in health and medical communication, both to identify health and medical communication needs and problems in different communities and to engage in different research-related activities to address such needs and problems.

Its director is Tech professor and Eunice C. Williamson Endowed Chair of Technical Communication Dr. Kirk St.Amant.

“The Center’s mission is to produce applied research—often interdisciplinary—that directly addresses the healthcare needs of different local, regional, national, and even international communities,” St.Amant said. “The goal is to create informational and instructional materials that different audiences can use to meet their health and medical needs. By increasing our understanding of medical conditions in Louisiana and throughout the region, nation, and world, we can provide resources that patients and their families can use effectively.

“The Center’s projects are meant to address health and medical situations in Louisiana and beyond,” he said.   

At present, the Center is partnering not only with the LDH’s Advisory Council, but also with the Health Hut nonprofit community healthcare organization that serves both Ruston and Lincoln Parish. Two student interns, Kristen Bastin and Miles Colemen, are currently working on projects for these organizations. Bastin, from Zachary, is enrolled in Tech’s MA program in English and its Technical Writing certificate program. Colemen, an English major with a technical writing concentration, is from Baton Rouge.

Projects for both the LDH and the Health Hut have been integrated into three fall classes at Tech—undergraduate and graduate versions of the class Usability & User Experience (ENGL 471 and ENGL 571), as well as an honors class in Usability & User Experience (HNRS 489). Assignments in each of these classes focus on creating materials for the two organizations. Projects will involve both developing instructional and informational materials on how to engage in telehealth activities during COVID-19, and identifying the telehealth limitations and needs of different communities in Louisiana. 

Bastin and Coleman have already begun work on those projects.

These collaborations are part of the Center’s Telehealth 2.0 Project, which focuses on identifying the best methods and technologies for sharing health and medical information with different populations across the state. The specific focus is on individuals who cannot readily access medical professionals or healthcare services locally and individuals who serve as a caregiver for a family member or other person but who cannot meet with those individuals in person due to COVID-19 concerns or other healthcare restrictions.

“The objective is twofold,” St.Amant said. “The first part involves providing non-healthcare professionals—patients and their family members—with information on using different technologies to access healthcare providers and health and medical information. The second part focuses on providing patients and their families with information on medical topics and health processes in language designed for non-healthcare professionals.”

“Also, we want to provide individuals with information on how to maintain contact with loved ones and family members in healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living residences.”

Students in both the English classes and the Honors class have begun preliminary research for the Telehealth 2.0 project.

“These projects provide students with the opportunity to apply what they learn in class to real-world situations—situations affecting the families, friends, and local communities,” St.Amant said. “It also helps students develop skills for engaging with and contributing to their communities in meaningful ways—ways that represent the kind of unparalleled educational experiences central to Tech’s mission as a university.”