Lafayette is home to two hospital systems and has a deep bench of medical providers. It’s the Hub City in a new kind of way. It’s Acadiana’s medical hub. So it might surprise you to learn that access to health care is still a problem. Every parish in Acadiana, except Lafayette, has a federally designated shortage of healthcare providers.
Well, if the answer were easy, it wouldn’t be a problem. But suffice it to say the health business is complicated because health is complicated. And we can look at the issue from two ends: providers on the one, and patients on the other.
Donna Aucoin is a medical psychologist and owner of Aucoin & Associates, a private therapy practice.
Donna began her career in mental health as a social worker. After going back to school to become a psychologist, she worked for the state office of mental health as a regional psychologist, where she did clinical work and developed community programs. She left state employment and moved into private practice, her long-term goal, founding Aucoin & Associates. The practice has grown substantially and now offers a range of mental health services for individual patients, families and groups.
In health care, it takes two tango. And the other partner here is the patient. Health education plays a big role in public health outcomes. And Gabriel Morley plays a big role in health education.
Gabriel is the CEO of Southwest Area Health Education Center, or SWLAHEC. AHECs are nonprofits set up by Congress in the 1970s to address health care shortages and can be found in every state. Gabriel’s office covers the Lafayette and Lake Charles areas and develops programs designed to help people make healthier lifestyle choices.
SWLAHEC also helps patients navigate the market for low- and no-cost health insurance and trains providers on community care.
Gabriel holds a doctorate in adult education and came to his job at SWLAHEC after a career working in libraries. He grew up in Slidell and holds a doctorate in adult education.