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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Rudy Macklin
Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports

Rudy Macklin was appointed by governor Edwin Edwards to serve as director of the Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (1992) and was later hand-picked to establish the state’s first minority health office under governor Mike Foster called, the Louisiana Bureau of Minority Health Access and Promotions (1996) to minimize health disparities among underserved racial and ethnic populations in the state through collaboration, advocacy, and education, and to promote culturally competent programs aimed at improving access to health care services. He also served as director of staff for the Louisiana Minority Health Affairs Commission and the Louisiana Health Disparities Commission both established by the Louisiana Legislature.

He later went on to publish Louisiana’s first health disparities report called, “From Disparity to Parity” in 1997 and at the same time with his sports and athletic background, Rudy established Louisiana’s official state games with more than fifty amateur Olympic-style sporting events across Louisiana known as: “The Governor’s Games.” The Governor’s Games has more than 35,000 participants annually.

Rudy designated the month of April as “Minority Health Month” in Louisiana to conduct a high visibility, health promotion and disease campaign where community groups, faith-based organizations, regional and local health departments and other public and private entities conduct health-related activities which may include health screenings, educational events, health fairs or assessments relating to HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, cancer, obesity prevention and infant mortality.

He went on to establish the state’s first Fitness Assessment testing program in 2001 for elementary and middle school students in Louisiana and created a statewide employee wellness campaign called, “How to Establish Low-Budget Employee Wellness Programs.”

In 2005 shortly after hurricane Katrina, Rudy organized and coordinated “Operation Safe Re-entry” to determine the health status of minority communities, facilitate preventive and post care through support victims devastated by natural disasters. He co-founded the “Community Preparedness Response Network” (CPRN) in partnership with the Chahta Native American Tribe that is designed to assist low-income communities with establishing their own community emergency preparedness plan in the event of a natural disaster or pandemic flu outbreak. The CPRN provides hard-to-reach populations a point of contact during natural disasters or pan flu outbreak and make available resources to assist them with relief and recovery efforts specific for their communities.

Rudy’s most recent venture is the “Own Your Own Health” (OYOH) program which is a physical activity and nutrition tracking program designed to help people in racial and ethnic communities combat obesity and its related chronic illnesses by taking small but effective steps to eat right and exercise daily. OYOH encourages people of diverse populations in Louisiana to develop healthy activity and eating habits. Participants can earn points by achieving milestones in accumulated activity; losing weight through a healthy, appropriate diet and physical activity; and by increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption.

For the past twenty-three years, Rudy has served as an adviser to the Louisiana Department of Health and the Legislature on health policy issues affecting health status and access among underserved immigrants, refugees and various racial/ethnic populations.

Rudy is a graduate of Louisiana State University and was a former NBA Basketball player with the Atlanta Hawks, the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers.

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?

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     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

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

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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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