Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) / MDA Clinic

LSU Health New Orleans ALS Clinic Team

Michael Charlet, MD

University: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
Medical School: Louisiana State University of Medicine at New Orleans
Residency: Louisiana State University of Medicine at New Orleans/Neurology
Fellowship: Louisiana State University of Medicine at New Orleans/Neurology
Board Certification: Neurology

Stephen Kantrow, MD


Medical School: Louisiana State University of Medicine at New Orleans, 1988

Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Deidre J. Devier, MSW, Ph.D. 

Deidre earned her MSW at New Mexico Highlands University and her PhD in Psychology at the University of New Mexico. She is a Board Certified Clinical Social Worker through the State of Louisiana She has worked for many years with people who have neurological disorders and has considerable experience in research. She has worked with the LSU ALS clinic since 2018 and is actively involved in developing a research program to expand the boundaries of the clinic in partnership with the patients and caregivers. We strongly believe in providing the best care possible and working through research to improve the future for those with ALS.

Bailey Doctor, MPH, RD, LDN 

Bailey Doctor is a Registered Dietitian who has worked at the ALS clinic since the Spring of 2019, and has also been employed full-time at the UMC Cancer Center since 2018. She holds a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Mississippi, a Masters in Public Health in Nutrition from Tulane University, and completed her Dietetic Internship through Tulane.

For her patients with ALS and oncology, Bailey derives great professional satisfaction from observing the tangible benefits her patients receive from adequate nutritional interventions. These professional interests are also personally fulfilling, given the bonds Bailey forms with patients and their families while at the ALS clinic or UMC Cancer Center. Bailey is also able to incorporate her passion for improving food access to New Orleanians through the Therapeutic Food Pantry Program at the Cancer Center. She has enjoyed being able to make the ALS clinic part of her professional life, and has learned much from the similar challenges faced by those with cancer and ALS.

Susanna Keenan, OT 

Suzy Keenan received her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at LSUHSC New Orleans. In addition to her work with LSU’s ALS clinic, she is the OT at St. Margaret’s nursing home which houses a specialized ALS care unit.  Her training and experience is focused on supporting those affected by neurological diseases including ALS, spinal cord injury, stroke, and brain injury.  She is a proud member of this team and grateful for the opportunity to help provide patients and families with creative tips and tools for daily living, be it getting dressed, getting comfortable, going to work, or participating in favorite leisure activities. 

Prior to being an OT, Suzy served in the Peace Corps in Mali and Mauritania and traveled to 20 countries (and counting) before falling in love with and settling down in New Orleans.  She loves costuming at Mardi Gras, watching the sunset on the Bayou St. John, and riding her bike all over New Orleans

Maria Kay, PT 

Maria Kay is a graduate of the LSUHSC school of Physical Therapy.  She has practiced in New Orleans, Honolulu, and the Boston Beth Israel Chest PT department.  She has been the team physical therapist for the ALS and Muscular Dystrophy Clinics since 2013.  Having raised a child with a neuromuscular disease, Maria believes strongly in being an advocate for people with ALS and providing quality care for all of the patient’s symptoms. Meeting equipment needs in a timely manner is of the utmost importance to those with ALS and Maria is skilled at facilitating the coordination of wheelchair vendors and non-profit organizations. The team approach at LSU addresses the physical and emotional needs of the patient and support for the caregivers.

Helena Midkiff, Respiratory Therapist 

Helena is a graduate of the LSUHSC Respiratory Therapy Program. She also has a master’s degree in health care management from the University of New Orleans.  She is a licensed registered respiratory therapist and has earned specialty credentials in pulmonary diagnostics, asthma education and neonatal & pediatric respiratory care.  She practiced at East Jefferson General Hospital for 27 years where she supervised several sections of the Respiratory Therapy department.  She taught Respiratory Therapy at Delgado Community College for seven years and is currently on the faculty and the Director of Clinical Education for the Respiratory Therapy Program at LSUHSC. Helena enjoys working on the ALS multidisciplinary team and providing diagnostic data to assist in the monitoring and management of those with ALS.

Heidi Leffler, LCSW, BCD, BACS

Heidi Leffler graduated from Tulane School of Social Work.  She is a Board Certified Clinical Social Worker and Supervisor through the State of Louisiana. She is also certified by the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (BCD). She has practiced in a variety of mental health settings over the past 40 years. Ms. Leffler joined the LSU ALS team in 2019 and also provides outpatient psychotherapy at LSU Behavioral Sciences Center and resident clinical supervision, teaches in the LSUHSC School of Medicine, and is a member of a clinical research team.

Elizabeth Ehrensing, MCD, CCC-SLP

 Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Texas Christian University and a master’s degree in Communication Disorders from LSUHSC School of Allied Health in New Orleans.  She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  

Since 1995 she has worked with both adults and children focusing on neurological disorders and early childhood development and has gained considerable experience with assistive technology and speech generating devices.  After working in hospital, home health and multidisciplinary private practice settings, she established EME Speech Therapy, LLC.  Elizabeth joined the LSU ALS Clinic Team in April 2010.  She has contributed to the growth of the LSU ALS Clinic from just a few allied health professionals to a full multidisciplinary team who specialize in caring for the individual needs of patients with ALS. 

Striving to provide the best care and referrals in the areas of cognitive communication, speech, and swallowing disorders, facilitating the acquisition of appropriate assistive technology and speech generating devices when appropriate and providing support to patients and families are one of her greatest professional joys.