Grants allow for expansion of health clinic

Grants totaling more than $270,000 will allow expansion of George Fox University’s Behavioral Health Clinic to offer pediatric behavioral health services to low-income children and families throughout the Yamhill County and surrounding areas.

The Swindells Charitable Trust, an organization that supports educational, cultural and scientific causes in Oregon, provided capital George Fox's behavioral health clinic specializes in assisting families and individuals in Yamhill County.funding for the project, while Providence Health & Services, which gave $25,000 a year ago to open the clinic, is providing additional funds that will move the clinic to sustainability.

Bilingual pediatric programs to be offered will include the Pediatric Call-In Hour (a parenting hotline), a diagnostic program that will provide assessments and evaluations, an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder program, a pediatric obesity program, and parenting classes and groups. The pediatric behavioral health clinic is slated to open in the fall of 2010.

In addition to assisting local residents, the clinic’s expansion will enhance the educational experience of doctoral-level students, all of whom are supervised by a licensed psychologist. The model is based on one established at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“It is a model that is sustainable and will not only provide much-needed services to the pediatric community, it will also provide a rich training ground and bring notoriety to the university and the university’s doctor of psychology (PsyD) program,” said clinic director and Associate Professor of Psychology Mary Peterson, who worked with PsyD student Tabitha Becker and Wayne Adams, chair of the Graduate Department of Psychology, to seek funding.

The clinic, which opened at the university’s Villa Academic Complex in February of 2009, has specialized in assisting low-income county residents in need of individual and couples therapy, mental health consultation, parenting counseling, and diagnostic assessment.

The Providence grant, secured by Peterson, comes a year after Providence Health & Services-Oregon designated start-up money to “support access to mental health counseling for those unable to afford them,” said Priscilla Lewis, regional director of Providence’s community services and development.

The Swindells Charitable Trust organization contributes to organizations whose principal mission is to improve the health and welfare of Oregon citizens and assists the educational, cultural and scientific endeavors of the state, according to the organization’s website.

For those accessing the services the fees are nominal or waived. The clinic operates Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. “(The clinic) coincides with our mission as a university – to serve the underserved around us,” Peterson said.

Community members can arrange an appointment by calling 503-554-2368. The Villa Academic Complex is located at 501 N. Villa Road, in Newberg.