Opelousas General Health System broke ground on a new Sleep Disorders Center in May. The center will double the size of the current facility and is located east of the hospital's parking tower.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Insurance and Department of Health and Hospitals, declared May 1-7 as Cover the Uninsured Week in Louisiana. Local events included a St. Jude's Poker Run in Church Point, young ladies health fair in Lafayette and awareness events in Lafayette and Crowley.

Lafayette organization Cajun Invasion has acquired Louisiana's first Dragon Boat, which will be paddled by a team of breast cancer survivors in the FDJ French Dressing International Dragon Boats for the Cure competition in Windsor, Canada, July 14. The boat was christened at Hub City Ford May 6.

Women's & Children's Hospital held a Media Appreciation Day luncheon May 8 and presented a facility expansion update, new service, community and outreach investment and the Gift of Hope recipient.

The Louisiana Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association held its annual meeting and election of officers recently at the Holidome. Mary Donker was elected president for a two-year term; Kathy Burns was re-elected as second vice president; and Becky Click-Rex was re-elected as treasurer.

Lafayette Association for Retarded Citizens has announced changes in management at its Fred W. Gerwick Respite Center. Bridgit Clark has been hired as community support and services manager and will oversee center-based respite, in-home attendant care and supervised independent living services. Gail Steib was promoted to program director and will oversee programmatic operations in waiver, residential and vocational services.

Ville Platte Medical Center held a ribbon cutting May 19 for its expansion, along with tours, art exhibits and Cajun music. The new center is twice the size of the original facility, and the ER is more than five times the size of the previous emergency room. The project also included a 6,000-square-foot intensive care unit, enlarged emergency services department and new surgery, radiology, laboratory and cardiopulmonary departments.

Games of Acadiana unveiled its official 2006 poster during the May ArtWalk. The poster was printed from an original by artist Ramsey Gardes-Ayers and is available for purchase from the Miles Perret Center. The center also celebrated Live Strong Day by the Lance Armstrong Foundation May 17 by asking Acadiana to wear yellow in recognition of cancer survivors.

Acadiana Karate raised more than $22,000 for the Games of Acadiana at its Mall of Acadiana Karate Chop event.

Home Instead Senior Care of Lafayette has hired Molly Champagne as its client care coordinator. Champagne will be responsible for initial client assessments and quality assurance visits.

UL Lafayette's Mini-Baja Team took sixth place overall in an international competition in Oregon and fifth in events, including a rock crawl, hill climb and maneuverability tests.

Cardiovascular Institute of the South recently began seeing patients in its new facility at the Heart and Vascular Institute at Opelousas General. The institute is a joint venture between CIS and OGHS and is located in the East Medical Tower.

Southwest Medical Center received the 2006 Vascular Care Excellence Award by Healthgrades and celebrated at a reception April 24.

Acadian Ambulance Service Paramedic Luncheon announced the Paramedic of the Year Carl Dugas and featured George H. Bush as keynote speaker audio-visually from the White House. Other medics recognized included Bobby Todd, Brian Regan, Briana Briscoe, Gil Vallian, Jamie Bergeron, Jessica Irving, Louis Eschete and Trey Landry.

Nine-year-old Ahkeem Evans, who suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia, recently experienced a shopping spree at Toys-R-Us and The Mall of Acadiana thanks to the Children's Wish Foundation International.

In conjunction with Lafayette General's Center on Aging and local utility companies, Elder Voice is conducting a survey of the elderly population's needs during a natural disaster. The group hopes to ensure that the population has appropriate shelter, medical attention, water and food and a place to go in the aftermath of a disaster. Elder Voice is a member organization of The Extra Mile, Region IV; Wal-Mart and the Ladies Auxiliary of Lafayette General have provided its initial funding. For more information contact Lee Ann Broussard at 234-6310 or e-mail [email protected].