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APA gives LSUHSC psychiatry gold award for program in St. Bernard schools after Katrina
Date:11/1/2010

New Orleans, LA The Department of Psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans has been given the 2010 Gold Achievement Award by the American Psychiatric Association for a program credited by the St. Bernard Parish Public School System as key to reopening schools and recovery of the community after Hurricane Katrina. This is the top Psychiatric Services honor bestowed by the world's largest psychiatric organization.

The LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Department of Psychiatry was recognized for "successfully integrating mental health services into the school system, youth leadership, and community outreach for children and families recovering from the traumatic effects of Hurricane Katrina," with the St. Bernard Family Resiliency Project.

Since October, 2005, the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Department of Psychiatry and St. Bernard Parish Public School System have worked collaboratively to meet the psychosocial and educational needs of students and families returning to St. Bernard Parish after the devastation following Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005.

In St. Bernard, an adjacent parish to New Orleans, all of the 26,000 homes were destroyed or damaged due to heavy winds, rain, flooding and a large toxic oil spill from an overturned refinery tank. The St. Bernard Parish Public School System, under the courageous leadership of Superintendent Doris Votier and school administration, re-opened in November 2005 with about 365 students attending school in temporary structures, all of whom either lived in temporary trailers or commuted hours to school. Most areas of the parish did not have infrastructure with little electricity or running water. However, the school was home to many St. Bernard families.

The administration recognized that mental health support went hand in hand with education considering the trauma that all families and school personnel had experienced. For mental health support
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-568-4806
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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