public health

A Loyola University student has won a grant to help teach health care providers at a New Orleans area school counseling skills aimed at reducing childhood obesity.

The $4,000 grant from the American Nurse Practitioner Foundation is going to Monica Alleman, a student in Loyola's Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Alleman is teaching health care professionals at John Ehret High School in Marrero a technique called motivational interviewing. It involves speaking to patients in ways that illicit the patients' own solutions — instead of trying to command behavior.

Dr. Fredro Knight has been appointed medical director for St. Tammany Parish Fire Protection District 4, which operates in the Mandeville area.

The Times-Picayune reports he will oversee all aspects of the districts emergency medical services.

Knight currently is emergency department director at the Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe and the LSU Bogalusa Medical Center.

He also is medical director for St. Tammany Parish Fire Protection District 1 in Slidell.

Louisiana's health department has recalled oysters from one Cameron Parish harvest area and has closed it to shellfish harvesting because nine people got stomach illness after eating oysters gathered there.

The Department of Health and Hospitals order Friday recalls all oysters harvested in West Cove off of south Calcasieu Lake since Dec. 28, including shucked, frozen, breaded, post-harvest processed and oysters for the half shell market.

Louisiana's Office of Public Health is going statewide with a plan that officials say cut past-due restaurant and retail food inspections by at least one-third during a nine-parish pilot that began in February.

Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane said Thursday that he's making other changes to fix problems noted in a highly critical state audit released last month.

The audit said his office gave permits to restaurants that failed to correct violations and didn't meet its own standards — such as inspecting restaurants four times a year.

A groundbreaking will be held at 2 p.m., marking the start of a new full-service hospital for New Orleans East. It’s a major step forward in Hurricane Katrina recovery.

The deadline is approaching this week for governors who opted out of provisions of the Affordable Care Act to change their minds. Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal is refusing to set up a state-run health insurance exchange for people who can’t afford plans in the current market.

Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is turning up the pressure on Jindal. She wants the state to establish a system under the new guidelines instead of having the federal government impose general standards.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is making another push to get people who worked on the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil disaster cleanup to enroll in a long-term health study.

Dr. Dale Sandler, chief of the agency's epidemiology branch, said Tuesday that more than 29,000 people have enrolled so far. But, she says, the goal is to get 35,000 to 40,000 people signed up before enrollment in the study ends Dec. 31.

The Advocate reports enrollment started March 2011.

A federal judge in New Orleans has signed off on a $37.5 million settlement involving companies that provided trailers to thousands left homeless from Gulf Coast hurricanes seven years ago. Some residents claim the trailers contained chemicals that made them sick.

State health officials say in the past week one more person has died from the West Nile virus in Louisiana and the number of infections has risen to 251 for the year with 36 new cases reported.

The death toll from the virus so far this year stands at 11.

Louisiana's health department says the state is seeing its highest number of West Nile cases in years.

The Affordable Care Act survived a near-death experience at the Supreme Court earlier this year. And the overhaul law's fate again hangs in the balance come Election Day. Mitt Romney has vowed to work for its repeal, if he's elected president.

Meanwhile, the law continues to take its hits.