Research Opportunities in Monroe, Louisiana: Exploring the Possibilities

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and the Louisiana State University School of Social Work have joined forces to bolster and expand the mental health workforce in K-12 schools in southeastern and central Louisiana. The Louisiana Youth for Excellence (LYFE) program, located in the Governor's Office, was created to promote positive youth development and raise awareness of the potential consequences of risky behaviors for vulnerable young people. The goal of the program is to spread its message across the state and reach all Louisiana students. The LDOE was awarded a five-year SAMHSA grant, known as the AWARE Project, to create trauma-sensitive schools in Monroe, Jefferson Parish and St. School districts are tasked with increasing access to mental health services in schools.

The AWARE Project partners include the Los Angeles Office of Behavioral Health, local behavioral health providers, local government entities, and the LSU Center for Research and Social Services (SREC). The SREC is responsible for collecting project data to inform K-12 schools and their respective districts about new and expanded behavioral health services in schools. The SREC leads the LSU team and works with other partners to promote professional development and training at various levels of trauma-based care for school staff. The LSU team also develops behavioral health evaluation procedures and refers students for treatment. The LSU team includes members of the SREC, the Department of Psychology, and the School of Social Work.

The SREC is also the primary evaluator of this project. The Louisiana Biomedical Research Network (LBRN) is a project funded by the National Institutes of Health with funding from the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Networks, with support from the Louisiana Board of Regents. The Louisiana Applied Evolution Graduate Network (LAGniappe) is a four-year project funded by the NSF that has been awarded to researchers from the University of California in the Department of Biological Sciences. Upcoming projects include an updated map of alcohol-related accidents and a statewide profile on alcohol in Louisiana, which will analyze the current landscape in relation to policies, the economy, and other systemic issues related to alcohol consumption. This project is part of the NSF's Research and Mentoring Program for Postgraduate Life Sciences Graduates (RAMP).The LBRN strives to improve the competitiveness of Louisiana researchers by providing funding for research, training opportunities, and capacity-building initiatives.

The project, in collaboration with Ochsner Health System and Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance, aims to provide affordable pediatric cardiology services through telemedicine to patients in rural areas of Northeastern Louisiana. Monroe (LA). Mayor Friday Ellis and the City of Monroe are pleased to announce a potential partnership with the Biomedical Research and Innovation Park (BRIP) for the construction of a new state-of-the-art research and technology center in Monroe. The objectives of this project include training people who are part of the behavioral health care staff, as well as detecting, treating, and referring people at risk of suicide. With these initiatives come many research opportunities for those interested in projects related to Monroe, Louisiana.

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