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Dunn Research Foundation Grant Promotes Children's Mental Health
The John S. Dunn Research Foundation, recognizing the need for the promotion of collaborative efforts among children’s and adolescents’ mental health care providers, has announced a $115,000 grant to The University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center (UTHCPC) to build a Mental Health Collaborative for Children and Adolescents in Harris County.
The funds will be used to identify the community agencies and service providers within the South Region of the Houston Independent School District, an area serving more than 25,000 pre-school through high school age students. The purpose is to eliminate fragmentation of services so that each community service provider has a clear understanding of and commitment to each other’s roles and responsibilities with regards to providing for children’s mental health needs.
“While a number of local community and health care agencies have mental or behavioral health care programs and projects in the Houston area, there is a fragmentation in terms of understanding what programs are available in specific neighborhoods,” said Lois J. Moore, UTHCPC chief administrator.
“The purpose of this grant is to maximize the services available to children and adolescents in the Houston area by identifying models of care, and building a collaboration of identification and treatment services available to children in need of mental or behavioral health care,” Moore said.
Steve Dunn, president of the John S. Dunn Research Foundation, said, “The Dunn Foundation prides itself on bringing together collaborations in order to focus on and provide for better community services.” He, along with Dunn Research Foundation Board Member Dan S. Wilford, former president and CEO of the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, presented the check to Moore.
In addition to identifying agencies that provide mental health services for children in Houston/Harris County, Moore said, “we will attempt to identify the gaps in services and the barriers to the access to care that already exists. This will allow us to hopefully promote an inter-agency system of care model and develop a long-term strategic plan for the identification and treatment of children who need mental health services.”
Community outreach is an important aspect, as well. “This grant provides UTHCPC an opportunity to continue our outreach efforts in the community and will allow us to work towards helping the mental health community provide for a continuum of mental health clinical services and education for children, adolescents and families residing in Houston/Harris County,” said UTHCPC Executive Director Robert Guynn, M.D. Guynn also is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the UT Medical School at Houston.
By Geri Konigsberg, UT Harris County Psychiatric Center
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