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Written by laallergy   
Oct 07, 2005 at 07:24 AM










Louisiana Society of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (LSAAI)




Prem K. Menon, MD


Louisiana Society of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (LSAAI) was founded in 1974 under the leadership of Dr. Albert L. Stephens and Dr. John Attrep.  Though originally conceived as a venue for the allergists of the state to meet and socialize, it soon evolved into a premier provider of outstanding CME’s through its annual conventions and has constantly strived to stay on the cutting edge of our field.  Over the years, the society has addressed the concerns of allergists in private practice and academics.  The challenges in academics include difficulty in finding funding for research whereas in private practice, solo and single specialty groups are disappearing rapidly.  Managed care, government interference and regulations have brought on enormous paperwork and the need for hiring additional staff, training and record keeping.  In addition, shrinking reimbursement and ever increasing overhead is threatening the very survival of this specialty.


Our society’s world renowned past presidents includes late Dr. John E. Salvaggio (Past President of AAAAI) and Dr. Michael S. Blaiss (Past President of ACAAI).  I am honored and privileged to be a part of this society.




The society’s challenges in the coming years include:

1)  Maintaining the reputation for providing quality CME to its members.

2)  Making the existence and activities of the society known to physicians in Louisiana.  In its thirty two years of existence no one other than the members of the LSAAI know about our organization.

3)  Initiating and maintaining public and patient education programs, which will promote the specialty and help create awareness of allergy, asthma and primary immunodeficiency diseases.

4)  Collaboration with “lay organizations” such as Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN/MA), Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and American Lung Association of Louisiana (ALA of LA).

5)  Liaison with American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI), American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (JCAAI).

6)  Work with the local medical societies, Louisiana medical Society (LSMS) and American Medical Association (AMA) to influence lawmakers in passing physician and patient friendly laws.

7) Promoting volunteerism.


2004-2005 Year in Review:

LSAAI Website:

Our new LSAAI web address will be www.lsaai.org.  The editor and chair of the website committee is Powlin Manuel, MD.  I request all Past Presidents and members to email historical and all relevant information (including your photographs) to him.  He will link your websites with www.LSAAI.org.  Thank you, Dr. Manuel, for your enthusiasm, assistance and service as chair of past President’s council.

CME for Physicians:

On May 7, 2005 LSAAI held a CME for Primary Care Physicians at the LSU Lod Cook Alumni Center.  The CME was attended by approximately 40 physicians.  The program has received rave reviews.  Participants requested continuing this program every year.  I highly recommend that the program be continued.


LSAAI Annual Convention:

On June 11-12, 2005 LSAAI Convention will offer 11 hours of AMA Category 1 CME credits.  Dr. John E. Salvaggio Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Michael A. Kaliner.  Our speakers will include Michael S. Blaiss, MD, James T. Li, MD, PhD (Mayo Clinic), Sami Bahna, MD, Dr. Ph, Bettina Hilman, MD, Vik Khoshoo, MD, PhD, (Pediatric Gastroenterologist) and Gerard Gianoli, MD (Board Certified Neuro-otologist).  Fellows in Training have been invited to present interesting cases.


Practice Management Seminar:

Pamela Moore, PhD will conduct a two hour Practice Management workshop on June 11, 2005 afternoon.  It is open to physicians, nurses and office staff.  Nancy Sander, Founder/President of MA/AAN will be a speaker.  Amy Berret an attorney specializing in Health Law with Kean Miller LLC will address your legal concerns.


Patient and Public Awareness Programs:

Governor Kathleen Blanco issued a proclamation declaring May as the Asthma and Allergy Awareness month.







The Governor’s Healthcare Reform Panel

The panel continues to meet and make its recommendations.  Asthma disease management is one of their priorities.  The program has a 24 hour nurse line.  Patients’, who have been to the ER or hospital due to asthma, are contacted and followed up by pharmacists from the University of Monroe.  (www.dhh.louisiana.gov/officer/ page)  Louisiana Healthcare Review’s Director Tony Sun, MD is interested in collaborating with LSAAI.

Nationwide Asthma Screening 2005

Over the years LSAAI members Drs. Peter Boggs, Prem Menon, Vimla Menon, Richard Guillot and Jay Yalamanchili have been participants in the annual Nationwide Asthma Screening Programs sponsored by the ACAAI.

LA Capitol Asthma Screening

In Baton Rouge the 5th Asthma Screening and Awareness Program was conducted at the Rotunda of the State Capitol.  For the past three years we were joined by the American lung Association of Louisiana.  This years program at the Capitol was attended by LA State Senator Lee “Jody” Amedee and State Representatives Karen St. Germain, Charmaine Marchand, Kay Kellog Katz and Lloyd “Mickey” Frith.

Asthma Screening at Westminster Elementary School

All fourth grade students of this school in Baton Rouge were screened and 19 students were referred for evaluation of asthma to their physicians.

Privately Funded Asthma & Allergy Education Initiative

This is being developed in Baton Rouge.  Scott Rogers, TV and radio personality, author and facilitator has volunteered to produce and distribute this program in various cities of Louisiana.


Asthma and Allergy Education Initiative in Baton Rouge

East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) has about 47,000 students.  Five percent of whom have bronchial asthma.  I was able to offer help for the Healthcare in Schools Program for their allergy and asthma care.  All school nurses were given courses to help recognize signs and symptoms of asthma.  Information on asthma medications was provided.  They were trained how to use nebulizers, peak flow meters, holding chambers and Epi-pen.  The nurses were encouraged to develop Asthma Action Plans for children with asthma in collaboration with their Primary Care Physicians.  Nebulizers and peak flow meters were donated to schools that needed them.


All second grade students of the EBRPSS “were screened for asthma utilizing parent and student questionnaires” derived from a published article, Redline, Susan MPH, Gruchalla, Rebecca, MD, PhD, ANN Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2004:93:36-68.  The results are being analyzed.




Asthma and Allergy Awareness Program in the Media

Jane El-Dahr, MD with the help of Fran Simon, Communication Director of Tulane Medical Center has launched a state wide asthma awareness program.  Their press release was published in the newspapers The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA Expert, Slidell Sentry News.  There was an hour long radio interview on BIZ Radio.


The Baton Rouge Asthma and Allergy Awareness Programs were covered by WBRZ ABC TV, Scott Rogers Around Town Show, Baton Rouge Journal and The Advocate Newspaper.  I have sent a write up on peanut allergy to “Louisiana Family Doctors” and on asthma to “Acadian News Review”.


Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Committee

Dr. Benjamin Close, Dr. Bernard Fruge, Jr. and Dr. Carolyn Daul have reviewed our society’s functioning, activities and financial status of LSAAI over the past ten years.  They will make their recommendations to the LSAAI executive committee and general body.


Collaboration with Louisiana American Academy of Family Practice (LAAFP)


I have been corresponding with Ms. Sonora S. Thigpen, Executive Director of LAAFP.  She welcomes LSAAI collaboration with LAAFP.  Our members could speak at their summer (New Orleans) or winter (Colorado) conventions and write articles in their journal “Louisiana Family Doctor”.


Continuing Medical Education

The landscape of CME has been changing over the years.  LSAAI has and continues to place emphasis in offering quality CME to its members.  In the year 2003, in USA, CME providers reported to the ACCME that commercial sources provided $943 million or 55% of the 1.7 billion spent on education.  This was up by 11% from the year 2002.  The rest of the income came from advertising, exhibits and other sources.  ACCME is currently revising its guidelines and is encouraging the CME providers to not only obtain faculty disclosures from the CME speakers but also to further distance themselves from commercial influence.  From now on ACCME will mandate CME providers to have stricter written policies for avoiding commercial bias and resolution of any conflicts.

Raising funds for the CME programs and the conventions will be an ongoing, all-consuming and year long propositions for the future presidents.


Collaboration with Lay Organizations:

1)      Campaigned for passing the Food Allergen and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).  Title II of the 2004 US Senate Bill 741 for simple and easy to read food labels.

There are over 30,000 ER visits and 150 to 200 reported deaths per year due to food induced anaphylaxis (www.foodallergy.org).

2)      President Bush on October 30, 2004 signed the “Asthmatic School Children’s Treatment and Health Management Act of 2004 (HR 2023).  LSAAI supported this bill lobbied by MA/AAN.  This bill will allow students to carry life saving asthma and allergy medications, including Epi-pen, in schools.

3)      Campaigned for Medicare physicians Fairness Act of 2001 S.1707.

4)      Supported MA/AAN’s campaign against generic compounding of prescription medications (www.breatherville.com).

5)      Supported and sponsored ALA of LA’s “Asthma Walk”.  We support ALA of LA (1-800 LUNG USA) Smoking Cessation Program.

6)      Established LSAAI as a partner in “Partnership for Prescription Assistance in Louisiana” 1-888-4PPA-NOW www.pparx.org. 


Regional, State and Local Allergy Asthma and Immunology Societies

LSAAI President-Elect Jane El-Dahr, MD has been LSAAI’s liaison with the RSLAIS.  I acknowledge and appreciate her efforts in this regard


Join the Winning Team

I encourage all LSAAI members to join their local medical societies, LSMS and AMA.  If you are not yet members of AAAAI, ACAAI or JCAAI please join these professional organizations.  We must support our specialty and the organizations that represent us and help in the practice of medicine.


Freedom Banquet

On June 11, 2005 the LSAAI Annual banquet has been designated as the Freedom Banquet.  About 1700 of our brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.  With your help, I intend to raise as much money as I can, at least $10,000, to donate to the Disabled American Veterans.  Please bring your contributions when you register for the meeting or to the banquet for this important cause.  We can never payback our men and women in uniform and their families for their service and sacrifices.  God bless them.


LSAAI 2005 Banquet Speaker:

Bobby Jindal, US LA 1st District Congressman and former gubernatorial candidate will be the keynote speaker at our banquet.  Please attend the banquet.


Recognition for Service:

This year LSAAI will recognize some of the physicians and non-physicians who have made outstanding contributions to our specialty and to the society.  They have inspired us by their commitment, enthusiasm, leadership, service and volunteerism.  They deserve to be honored.


With great sadness I report the passing on of our friend and co-founder of the LSAAI John Attrep, MD in Lafayette.  On behalf of the LSAAI, I send our condolences to his family and widow Mrs. Mary Attrep.



My Successors:

Jane M. El-Dhar, MD and Willard F. Washburne, MD will be my successors.  I wish them all the best.  I will offer them all my help to make their terms successful.



I.                    LSAAI Executive Committee

II.                 LSAAI CME Speakers

III.               Annual Convention CME Committee:

Prem Menon, MD; Vimla Menon, MD; John Erffmeyer, MD

IV.              CME for Physicians (PCPs) Program Co-Chairs:

Michael Zambie, MD and Sami Bahna, MD

Karen Finley, CME Coordinator

St. Francis Hospital in Monroe, LA

V.                 “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Committee”

Ben B. Close, MD; Bernard C. Fruge, Jr., MD; Carolyn B. Daul, MD, Phd

VI.              Scott Rogers Host of Around Town TV show, Baton Rouge

VII.            Mathew Hodgkins, 1st Co, Baton Rouge

VIII.         Sue Catchings, RN, Healthcare in Schools, Baton Rouge

IX.              Roberta Vicari, MD, Medical Director OLOL Children’s Hospital, Baton Rouge

X.                 Mary L. Johnson, LA State Capitol

XI.              LSAAI Staff

Connie Green, Trey Green and Janean Rogers (2004-2005)

XII.            Fran Simon, Tulane Medical Center

XIII.         LSU  

XIV.         Lod Cook Alumni Center Amy Parino and Julie Boyd.

XV.           LSAAI Supporters:


Merck, Astra-Zeneca, Schering Plough, GSK, Aventis, Inspire, Genentech, UCB Pharma, Pfizer, Novartis, Abbot Labs, Sepracor.


Hollister-Steir, National Infusion, ALK, Med Pointe, Esoterix, TAP, Biomarin, IVAX, Astra Zeneca, Talecris, Alcon, Accredo, Soileau’s Vital Care, Gamunex/Baxter, Greer, SHS, Wyeth and LAMMICO.




God bless you and your efforts.


Prem Menon, MD

Alumni Association President/CEO Dr.
Charlie Roberts










Last Updated ( May 20, 2007 at 12:30 PM )