AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, Huston-Tillotson University broke ground on its new health and wellness center. When completed, the 14,704 square foot center will be known as the Sandra Joy Anderson Community Health and Wellness Center, named after the daughter of an HT graduate who donated $3 million to the university, the largest donation in the university’s history.
The center will introduce CommUnity Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that will provide primary medical care. It will also include offices for psychiatrists, psychologists, as well as health and substance abuse education and a peer education network.
“As a growing community, we see this medical, educational, research model as a comprehensive means of servicing our students as well as Travis County residents,” HT President and Chief Executive Officer Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D., said.
Partnership to Address Mental Health Problems
HT teamed up with the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical Center and Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC) to open this wellness center. The partnership aims to cut down on mental health demands in underserved areas of the city, particularly on the Eastside, or in areas where the mental health burden is higher than in others.
Dr. William Lawson will manage the center once it opens. Lawson, a former professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Howard University, will also help in researching local unmet mental health needs.
It is envisioned that eventually the center will assist in launching a $35 million complex that would increase the number of African American mental health physicians in Central Texas and further address mental health disparities in the region.
The Sandra Joy Anderson Center is scheduled to open in 2016, around the same time as the new Dell Medical Center, also currently under construction.