October 19, 2017

Tom Golisano gives $5 million for new Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Center

Rendering of the Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Center

Critically-needed center will serve children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral needs

Tom Golisano, philanthropist and namesake of UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, has pledged $5 million to support construction of a new Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Center, providing the greater Rochester community a new, critically-needed home base for child and adolescent behavioral health services.

The new building will be the primary outpatient location for the children’s hospital’s Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness program— which treats children with depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, PTSD, and other behavioral and emotional conditions — and will be staffed by a multidisciplinary team that includes child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, nurses, and more.

“We have known for some time that pediatric behavioral and mental health services are a critical area of need in our community,” said Joel Seligman, president and CEO of the University of Rochester. “And once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of Tom Golisano, who has stepped up to help fill this need.”
“Rochester — like much of the country — has seen a serious dearth of services and providers in this area,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). “But this gift will allow us to essentially double the space that we have to care for children with emotional or behavioral needs.”

“I am pleased to partner with URMC to build the new Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Center, which will address gaps in care and accommodate more clinical staff to help reduce the number of children on the wait list for services,” said Golisano. “Now, when we talk about providing comprehensive care to children and their families, we can include expanded and enhanced behavioral health services. I’m confident that Golisano Children’s Hospital will become a leader in this field.”

The $10 million building, estimated at 30,000 sq. ft., will be located near the intersection of South Avenue and Science Parkway, next door to the planned location of the Golisano Autism Center, a collaborative venture between Al Sigl Community of AgenciesAutismUp, and CP Rochester. Construction on both buildings is expected to begin next spring, with completion of the Behavioral Health & Wellness Center slated for 2019.

The new building will enable introduction of one new service for the Rochester region and expansion of two existing Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness services:

  • The new Intensive Outpatient Service Line would allow youth to receive a higher level of care than traditional outpatient services, while staying home and attending their regular school.
  • An outpatient program, which serves children and adolescents battling depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, ADHD, PTSD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other conditions, including experiencing stress due to a medical illness, change in family situation, or other adverse or traumatic events.
  • partial hospitalization program, which serves children ages 12-18 who require intensive services throughout the day, but are able to stay home with their families safely without constant medical observation. This program is the only adolescent partial hospitalization service in the state west of the Hudson River.

These services are designed to diagnose and address potential issues before they become major concerns, thus reducing the need for emergency department visits and inpatient services, both of which will remain located at URMC.

In response to growing demand for pediatric behavioral health services, URMC has more than doubled its child psychiatry staffing in recent years, but facility space remained in short supply. The new center addresses this need, and makes it possible for URMC to offer educational events for families and community agencies it partners with for pediatric care.

Michael A. Scharf, M.D., Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, said he is excited to partner with his future neighbors in the Golisano Autism Center. Discussions have already begun on how the two groups — URMC and the Al Sigl Family of Agencies — can collaborate to better serve youth, families, and other community providers.

“Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Golisano, we anticipate this location will become the regional hub, both for providing comprehensive care and for educating families and other providers about how best to meet the needs of the children and families we serve,” said Scharf.

With the gift, Golisano — already the University of Rochester’s most generous living donor — has now given nearly $41 million in support of the children’s hospital.

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