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Friday, August 17, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham
DHH, Office of Behavioral Health

Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham was appointed Interim Assistant Secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) on October 18, 2013; she was confirmed by the Louisiana Legislature on June 2, 2014.

Dr. Head-Dunham began her career with DHH in 1990 as Medical Director for the Office of Behavioral Health, formerly the Office of Addictive Disorders. Dr. Head-Dunham's position within OBH, and as the Louisiana Single State Agency (SSA) Director for the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) and as State Mental Health Commissioner of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), has fostered many innovative changes within the new construct of statewide managed behavioral healthcare for the state of Louisiana.

Dr. Head-Dunham completed her Bachelors of Science at Xavier University and her MD at Tulane University School of Medicine. She has double board certifications in Adult Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry, which have advanced the skills, knowledge and application of standards of care in the treatment of co-occurring mental illness and addictive disorders for a broad array of providers and stakeholders, both statewide and nationally.

Current Topic


     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?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, 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.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     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?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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