Sat07262014

Your Health

Palo Alto University unveils renovated Gronowski Center


Photo By: Diego Abeloos/Town Crier
Photo Diego Abeloos/Town Crier

Acting Director Sandy Macias, Ph.D., runs the Gronowski Center, which offers sliding-scale mental health services for individuals and families with limited resources.

Palo Alto University (PAU) recently expanded its mental health clinic, the Gronowski Center in Los Altos, marking the occasion with an open house Oct. 19.

The center serves as a psychology training clinic that provides mental health services on a sliding-scale fee basis to individuals and families in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Doctoral-level psychology students supervised by licensed psychologists provide services at the clinic.

All told, the 4,900-square-foot center saw approximately $83,000 in capital and fixed-asset improvements and another $30,000 in furniture and equipment upgrades as part of its renovation.

According to Jim Breckenridge, Ph.D., the private, nonprofit university’s dean of Academic Administration and Operations, the renovation will essentially allow the clinic to significantly increase its patient capacity. Facility upgrades aside, the center has also moved to using a fully electronic medical records system.

“It’s great, because we’ll be able to see more people at one time,” Breckenridge said. “It’s really a larger, more modern facility that has the space to provide services, training and continuing education for local professionals.”

Breckenridge noted that the clinic’s current caseload of 400 patients is expected to double by spring 2013. With this in mind, the clinic is increasing its operating expenses and capital improvements budget by approximately $800,000 during its 2013-2014 fiscal year.

And while PAU and the center certainly have an academic focus, they also have a goal to be a good community partner by providing sorely needed mental health services to those with limited financial means, Breckenridge noted.

Breckenridge added that the renovation allows for the expansion of the clinic’s services for children, particularly those with anxiety and depression, as well as individuals and families dealing with trauma issues. This coming spring, he said, the clinic hopes to add services for Spanish-language residents as well.

Overall, the clinic currently offers treatment for more than a dozen psychological and emotional disorders, as well as specialized services such as its sexual and gender identities clinic.

“That’s the entire purpose of this,” Breckenridge noted. “It’s not a profit-making enterprise. The center is here to provide those services to people who don’t have the means.”

Breckenridge said a large portion of the clinic’s patients includes individuals and families with limited insurance plans, as well as the spouses and children of veterans who don’t receive military health benefits. Without the services provided by the clinic at the Gronowski Center, many financially challenged individuals would simply go without the services it now provides.

“This is really a win-win,” he said of the clinic. “We train people who want to give back to the community and, at the same time, people get treatments they couldn’t ordinarily receive.”

Palo Alto University’s Gronowski Center is located at 5150 W. El Camino Real in Los Altos. For more information, visit www.gronowski.paloaltou.edu.

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