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Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Panelist Bio


Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc
Health Commissioner, City of New Orleans

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo was selected by Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu to serve as New Orleans Health Commissioner and his Senior Health Policy Advisor in January 2011. Under her leadership, the New Orleans Health Department has rapidly transformed in to a modern, effective health department capable of improving the public’s health by its ability to focus on evidence-based policy and programmatic actions including those addressing the social determinants of health. The focus of efforts are grounded in using innovative solutions to address major local public health challenges including violence and murder reduction, access to primary care, mental health/substance abuse, family health and nutritional and physical fitness. She has also led the re-establishment of a hospital-based health system in Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans East.

Dr. DeSalvo is a physician who has dedicated her 20 year career to improving access to quality, affordable care for all with a focus on vulnerable populations through direct care, medical education, and administrative roles. Prior to joining Mayor Landrieu’s administration, Dr. DeSalvo was professor of medicine and Vice Dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy at the Tulane University School of Medicine. While at Tulane, she envisioned and led the effort to create the innovative model of neighborhood-based primary care and mental health services for low income, uninsured and other vulnerable populations in the New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina. This network has been hailed as a national model and recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. She also shepherded the School’s receipt of the American Association of Medical Colleges Spencer Foreman Award recognizing them as the outstanding School of Medicine for Community Service.

Dr. DeSalvo has served on numerous professional boards, including serving as President of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum and the National Association of Chiefs of General Internal Medicine; and earned the distinct recognition of “Woman of Excellence in Health Care” by the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus and outstanding Alumni for Suffolk University. She is the founder and current President of 504Healthnet, a consortium of safety net providers in the New Orleans region.

She received her Medical Doctorate and Masters in Public Health at Tulane University, a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health, and her B.A. from Suffolk University. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Suffolk University in 2010.

Current Topic


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?
In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation.

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem?

Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.

Our panelists are:
• E. Pete Adams, Executive Director, La. District Attorneys Association
• Alanah Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana & Justice Reinvestment Task Force
• Andrew Hundley, Louisiana Parole Project
• Sec. Jimmy LeBlanc, La. Department of Corrections

The program features interviews with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry; Rep. Terry Landry, D- New Iberia, with the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Council; Deputy Assistant Secretary Natalie Laborde, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections; and Stephanie Riegel, editor of the Baton Rouge Business Report.

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and professor Robert Mann with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     10/18 - Louisiana Veterans Back Home

What are the programs and initiatives helping our veterans successfully transition to civilian life?

Recent Topics


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?
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