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Groundbreaking Held for Golisano Autism Center and UR Medicine’s Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Building

Speakers included, Tom O'Connor, President, Al Sigl Community; Kathy Parrinello, R.N., Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President, Strong Memorial Hospital; Michael Sharf, MD, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry UR Medicine; Congressman Joe Morelle; Mayor Lovely Warren, City of Rochester, NY - Mayor's Office; Jesse Sleezer, Communications Director, Monroe County; Vinnie Esposito, Empire State Development Vice President, and Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; Sarah Milko, Executive Director of AutismUp; Melissa Parrish, Family Navigator, AutismUp; Mary Walsh Boatfield, President & CEO of CP Rochester; Happiness House, and Rochester Rehabilitation; and Golisano Autism Center Board Chair and Ann Costello, Director of The Golisano Foundation

March 29, 2019, Rochester, New York: A groundbreaking for the new Golisano Autism Center (founders include Al Sigl Community of Agencies, AutismUp, and CP Rochester) and the UR Medicine’s Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Building was held today from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The buildings will be located on the Al Sigl Schwartz Family Campus at 50 Science Parkway on the corner of South Avenue & Science Parkway; parking will be available at 55 Science Parkway.

The campus will be home to a combined 72,000 square footage of program, clinical, school and gathering space. The new centers will share a connection building, symbolic of the collaborations that this construction will make possible. Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation provided lead gifts of
$3 million for the Golisano Autism Center and $5 million for URMC’s Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Building to launch the projects.

Golisano Autism Center Exterior Rendering

Mary Walsh Boatfield, Board Chairperson of the Golisano Autism Center, and President and CEO of CP Rochester states, Al Sigl Community of Agencies, AutismUp, and CP Rochester are the founding organizations of the Golisano Autism Center. The founders’ vision of the Center is that every individual with autism in our community and their family have an accessible, comprehensive array of autism services available for their lifespan. Our heartfelt thanks to Tom Golisano, Ann Costello, and the Golisano Foundation Board of Trustees for believing in our vision to support the enhancement and expansion of autism services in our community.”

As autism prevalence continues to rise — increasing to an estimated 1 in 59 children in 2018 per The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — so, too, has the need for comprehensive autism-specific programs and services. Often, families living with autism also need behavioral health services. Accessing such services has been challenging as the mental health needs of our youth have also increased in recent years, and the proximity of the new centers to one another will provide efficient access to both sets of services. The Al Sigl Schwartz Family Campus is an ideal location and aligns with Al Sigl Community of Agencies’ 50-year mission to support member agencies and welcome people of all ages and abilities to learn, grow and have their needs addressed.

FLREDC Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Bob Duffy said, “The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council is honored to support the new Golisano Autism Center located on the Al Sigl Schwartz Family Campus. The incredibly important work that will be done at this state-of-the-art facility will assist individuals, families and their dedicated service providers, benefiting the entire region. The collaborative effort involved in bringing this project to fruition is a true testament to how important public-private partnerships are to our communities.”

The need for pediatric mental health services is also on the rise. UR Medicine’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry conducted 40,000 outpatient visits in 2018, up from 12,000 visits two decades ago. Mental health conditions collectively make up one of the top five disabilities in the United States, and by age 14, 50 percent of chronic mental illnesses have already begun. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among children.

“The Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Building will greatly expand our ability to provide urgently-needed services such as outpatient behavioral health care, partial hospitalization
services, crisis services for children and their families, and much more,” said Michael Scharf, M.D., Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital. “We thank Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation for their generosity that has made this project possible, and look forward to partnering with the Golisano Autism Center to provide services and support to children and their families.”

Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation, adds, “We are thrilled to be able to support this much-needed effort that addresses the profound need to expand and enhance autism and pediatric mental health services in our region. The innovative and collaborative approach along with co-locating the Golisano Autism Center and URMC’s Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Building will generate many synergies and have a long-lasting impact on our region.”

The media is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony which will include remarks by Golisano Autism Center founding partners, the URMC and local supporters, culminating with a ceremonial moving of the dirt by individuals who will utilize services provided within. Families will be on site and available for interviews.
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The Golisano Autism Center is a collaborative community of providers led by founding partners Al Sigl Community of Agencies, AutismUp, and CP Rochester. The 32,000 sq. ft. building will house a multitude of supports and services for children and adults including educational, social, recreational, therapeutic, and more! The Golisano Autism Center is expected to open in September of 2019.

The URMC Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Building will become the new primary location for the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The 36,000 sq. ft. building, scheduled to open in early 2020, will allow the division to create a new service line while expanding two of its major existing programs – outpatient care and partial hospitalization.

March 28, 2019

 

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