The local affiliate for the National Alliance on Mental Illness is holding a fund-raiser, NAMIWalks, on Oct. 6. NAMI began as a grass roots movement created to help friends and family members of psychiatric patients cope with the problems associated with mental illness. The nationwide organization raises funds for programs designed for support, education and advocacy of those with mental illness. For people with and without out health insurance, (generally mental health coverage is not as extensive as medical/surgical benefits), there is a need in Acadiana for access to more mental heath programs. NAMIWalks was created to raise awareness and to help eradicate the social stigma associated with mental disorders. Free registration for the walk begins at 8 a.m. at the gazebo in the Town Square at River Ranch; the walk begins at 9. To register, make a pledge, and for more information, call co-chairs Marietta Puckett at 654-8963 or Becca Begnaud at 230-8615.

Maxim Health Systems of Columbia, Md., is teaming with Lafayette's Kingsley Place to offer immunizations to individuals who are at a high-risk of receiving complications from the flu, those who live or work with high-risk individuals, or those who just want to reduce their chances of contracting the flu. The next clinic will be Oct. 8 at Kingsley Place, 215 W. Farrel Road, with shots administered on a first come, first served basis. Anyone with Medicare Part B coverage will receive the shot at no cost. Maxim will also provide free immunizations to anyone covered by Maxim contracted managed care plans. All others not covered by Medicare or a Maxim plan will purchase their vaccinations through Maxim Health Systems at the time of the shots. Prices are $30 for flu and $40 for pneumonia.

J. Brandon Moore, CEO of Park Place Surgical Hospital, is now a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the nation's leading professional society for health care leaders. To achieve this status, Moore fulfilled multiple requirements, including passing a comprehensive exam, meeting academic criteria and earning continuing education credits.

Registered nurse Pam McFarland has joined United Home Care Services as the corporate wound care consultant. McFarland is a graduate of the Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing program at the University of Texas-MD Anderson and is nationally certified. For the past nine years, she served as the wound care nurse at Our Lady of Lourdes. Also at UHCS, Reed Butaud Prince recently joined as a home health marketing representative. Prince will work with physicians, nurses, social workers and discharge planners in placing patients with the appropriate home health service. She most recently worked at Opelousas General Health System as the WellnessWorks consultant.

Dr. Henry Kaufman has been appointed to a three-year term as cancer liaison physician for the cancer program at Lafayette General Medical Center. Cancer liaison physicians are an integral part of cancer programs approved by the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. Kaufman joins a national network of more than 1,600 volunteer physicians responsible for providing leadership and direction to establish, maintain and support their facility's cancer program.

Lafayette Chiropractic Physicians Group, which includes Drs. Chris Cormier, Kevin Brien and Brett Venable, is constructing a new facility at 207 Rue Louis XIV. The new site, which is across the street from their current location next to Meche's Donuts, will provide additional treatment rooms, equipment and expanded service areas for the practice. Lafayette Chiropractic Physicians Group specializes in providing non-surgical relief for a number of conditions, including herniated and bulging lumbar discs and degenerative disc disease.

The Louisiana Pharmacists Association has awarded its Alumnus of the Year honor to Fred Mills Jr. The president of Farmers-Merchants Bank of Breaux Bridge and a lifelong resident of St. Martin Parish, Mills is a '76 graduate of UL Monroe's College of Pharmacy. The award recognizes distinguished service to the profession and outstanding professional accomplishments. Mills is the owner of Cashway Pharmacy in Parks and for the past three years has served as executive director for the Louisiana State Board of Pharmacy. He is president-elect of the Louisiana Pharmacists Association and serves as vice-chairman of St. Martin Hospital, president of the St. Martin Parish Economic Development Authority, and is a member of the Acadian Ambulance's board of directors. He has been named to multiple national task force committees to study regulatory health care issues.

Dr. Opal LeBlanc has joined the Acadiana Women's Health Group, an obstetrics and gynecology practice based at the Women's and Children's Hospital. LeBlanc completed her four-year OB/GYN residency in June at the University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. The Cecilia native earned her medical degree from LSU in Shreveport and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from LSU in Baton Rouge. Acadiana Women's Health Group formed in 1994 and today consists of 11 OB/GYNs. It provides general obstetrics and gynecology services including ultrasonography, bone density testing, natural family planning and laparoscopic hysterectomies, as well as cosmetic laser procedures.

Registered nurse Debra Clark has joined Lafayette General as vice president and chief nursing officer. Clark has more than 15 years of senior nursing leadership experience, most recently serving as vice president of patient care services at Rockingham Memorial in Harrisonburg, Va. She has experience in improving patient care and satisfaction, facilitating team-building among the nursing staff, improving physician/nurse collaboration, and implementing a shared governance model of nursing organizational structure. Clark also has a master's degree in business administration.