LSU Health Focuses on Neurological Conditions Through Center for Brain Health

LSU Health Shreveport’s new Center for Brain Health will offer a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treating brain injuries and diseases.

The center received one-year conditional approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents on Oct. 26, following the September approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

“Advances in brain health rely on an approach that brings together clinicians, educators and researchers from many areas of expertise, which is something we are uniquely positioned to offer at LSU Health as an academic medical center,” said Dr. Elizabeth Disbrow, director of the Center for Brain Health and an associate professor of neurology. “When researchers work with clinicians, the research improves. When the clinicians work with the researchers, the clinical care improves.”

With faculty and staff from LSU Health’s School of Medicine, School of Allied Health Professions and School of Graduate Studies working together, the center will provide comprehensive care for brain disorders while expanding neuroscience-related education and research. The center will focus on research into disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The Center for Brain Health will also partner with the Children’s Center at the School of Allied Health Professions, where children across the Ark-La-Tex are evaluated for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

“Uniting our three professional schools, the Center for Brain Health is the only neuroscience research facility in the state that offers the comprehensive clinical aspects in treating patients. Once they are evaluated and treated medically, they’ll continue to be followed into the rehabilitation aspect of their care,” said Dr. Suzanne Tinsley, associate professor of neurological rehabilitation in the School of Allied Health Professions, which is home to the only nationally accredited neurological physical therapy residency program in Louisiana. “The goal of neurological rehabilitation is to restore patients back to the maximum level of function possible after brain injury or disease.”

Another component unique to the center is LSU Health’s role in the National Institutes of Health’s StrokeNet. This stroke trials network serves as a pipeline for new potential treatments for patients with stroke and those at risk for stroke. The Shreveport health sciences center is the first in the state to be accepted into StrokeNet, joining the ranks of institutions such as Emory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mount Sinai, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

Dr. Oleg Y. Chernyshev, assistant professor of neurology and StrokeNet principal investigator, said one of the main goals of this network is to maximize efficiency in developing, promoting and conducting clinical trials focused on key interventions in stroke prevention, treatment and recovery. Under the direction of Dr. Chernyshev, the stroke program at LSU Health’s hospital teaching partner, University Health Shreveport, is the only one in North Louisiana to receive Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers from The Joint Commission, providing acute stroke care to 30 percent of the state’s population.

“StrokeNet provides a tremendous educational platform for stroke physicians and other health care professionals, particularly those individuals in training and focused on an academic career,” Chernyshev said. “The health sciences center’s inclusion in this network will bolster the success of the Center for Brain Health.”

Not only does the Center for Brain Health integrate LSU Health Shreveport resources focusing on brain injury and disease, it also provides a platform for collaboration with Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, Louisiana Tech University and LSU Shreveport.

“There is so much to be accomplished by leveraging all the existing resources available in North Louisiana into an integrated hub,” said Disbrow. “We enhance the education and training of our students, we improve our ability to secure competitive national research funding for our region and we better serve our community with advanced neurorehabilitation services.”  For more information on the Center for Brain Health, visit

Renzi Education & Art Center Celebrates 20 Years

The Renzi Education and Art Center has served children in our community for 20 years and thanks to support from the community, they’ve provided free academic tutoring and art classes to thousands of students from Shreveport-Bossier City.

In 1997, the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows had a vision of creating a place where learning was fun, creativity was encouraged and caring individuals came together to provide a safe haven for all children. That vision became a reality with the help from artist/educator Donna Service and the establishment of the Renzi Education & Art Center. In the years since, the center has served over 2,000 children and the numbers continue to grow.

Each day, small-group classes are provided to children in grades K through 12, in both academics and art. These activities — taught by professional teachers and artists  — are designed to increase academic comprehension, foster artistic creativity and build life skills such as teamwork, cooperation and responsibility. Children work together, form lasting friendships and broaden their horizons without regard to race, gender, religious affiliation or income level.

Thanks to the generosity of foundations, grant agencies and private individuals, the after-school programs at the Renzi Center are provided free-of-charge. Supporting Renzi’s mission, however, is not free. The after-school program costs the center $15 per day for each child served. In order to keep the creativity flowing Renzi needs your financial support.

The Renzi Center is currently seeking monetary donations by mail, in person or through its website

Amazing Shake Transforms Local Students

Students from Caddo Schools’ Transformation Zone took over the Louisiana Tower in downtown Shreveport Nov. 6, for the Amazing Shake competition. Started by the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Caddo Parish is now one of over 100 districts that participates in the national event. The Amazing Shake teaches students important skills such as manners, discipline, respect and professional conduct and components of the competition include proper handshakes, confidence and conversational skills.

Students first competed at their schools and the top 10 “shakers” from 14 Transformation Zone schools then participated in the event at Community Foundation’s Community Central. These 140 students each met with three local professionals to be scored in a variety of categories. The 50 professionals in attendance were mostly attorneys, but also included city and community leaders that volunteered their time for the event. One winner from each school will be selected to attend a national competition and workshop in Washington D.C. in May and two 2016 scholars, both representing Fair Park Middle School, will compete at the Amazing Shake Nationals in Atlanta in February.

The students weren’t the only ones competing, however. There was a competition among law firms to see who could get the most attorneys to participate, with Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway taking the top prize. $1700 was donated to the Caddo Parish School Board to send the Amazing Shake finalists to Washington D.C. in the name of the winning firm. Contributions to the prize money were made by Tom Arceneaux; Blanchard, Walker, O’Quin & Roberts; the Community Foundation and an anonymous donor.

The Community Foundation’s mission is to strengthen communities through philanthropy. By bringing together fund donors, their financial advisors and nonprofit agencies, the Foundation is a powerful catalyst for building charitable giving and effecting positive change in our area. Through the generosity and vision of our family of donors, both past and present, the Foundation has granted more than $74 million to vital nonprofit organizations since our inception. For more information about The Community Foundation, visit

WK Offers Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression 

Patients diagnosed with depression may benefit from a new procedure, introduced in northwest Louisiana by Jason M. Broussard, D.O., at The Center for Mental Wellness in the WK Rehabilitation Institute.

Dr. Broussard performed the first transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) procedure in the region. Willis-Knighton is the only health care provider in North Louisiana that offers TMS.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers patients with depression the benefits of treatment without the side effects often associated with antidepressant medication.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive procedure that uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. An electromagnetic coil is placed against the scalp near the forehead and delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the part of the brain involved in mood control and depression.

Patients are awake and alert during the procedure, which is performed in office and is completed in about 40 minutes. Treatment is administered five days a week for about four to six weeks. Patients can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.

Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how one feels, thinks and acts. Symptoms include feeling sad, lack of interest or the lack of ability to feel pleasure in activities once enjoyed, changes in appetite and sleep, increased fatigue, difficulty concentrating or making decisions and thoughts of death or suicide.

To learn more about the transcranial magnetic stimulation, go online to

Shreveport Chamber Announces ATHENA Leadership Award Recipient

The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Business Development Connection honored Melva Williams, Ph.D today as the 2017 ATHENA Leadership Award recipient.

“We are delighted to recognize Dr. Williams today,” said Dr. Timothy Magner, president of the Greater Shreveport Chamber. “She is a true testament to the ATHENA Leadership model. She is an accomplished professional, is actively engaged in the civic life of our community, and is both a mentor and a role model for young women through her service.”

Dr. Melva Williams is the vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Southern University at Shreveport, formerly associate dean of the College at Centenary, and has a television show, the Hot Seat with Melva Williams. Dr. Williams is very active in state and national service and has received numerous commendations commemorating her dedication. She is an alumna of Leadership Louisiana, 40 under 40, and was previously named Top Professional of the Year by the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Most notably, Dr. Williams was selected in 2016 to participate in the Presidential Leadership Scholars program that develops national service projects with three former American Presidents (President George H.W. Bush, President William J. Clinton and President George W. Bush). Dr. Williams is a current board member of the Robinson Film Center, Caddo Council on Aging, YWCA, Board President for Extensions of Excellence, founding member of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation and Vice President of the Shreveport Charter Foundation that built the first new school, in Caddo Parish in over 30 years, Magnolia School of Excellence.

For more than 25 years, the Greater Shreveport Chamber has awarded the International ATHENA Leadership Award to a woman or man, to honor their attainment of the highest level of professional excellence by showing creativity and initiative in their business or profession; to showcase their devotion, time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community in a meaningful way; and to demonstrate how they have opened doors for other women to achieve their full potential.

Dr. Williams was selected from amongst 16 accomplished honorees including: Dr. Andrea Master Everson, Melissa Flores, Audrey Reed Flournoy, Catherine Paine Foret, DVM, Tracy L. Futch, Marianne McConathy Nelson, Sandra Partain, Rebecca S. Payton, F. Carole Pruett, LCSW, LMFT, Holly D. Sanders, Noma Fowler-Sandlin, Kesha Matrice Simmons, Brandy Canatella Thompson, Carolyn Ann Tillman, Lisa Marie Willard, and Dr. Melva Williams

Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 8,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Leadership Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, Unite Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Award Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.