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Columbia St. Mary's to Open The Huiras Center in Mequon

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New Center will treat adolescents suffering from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.

Columbia St. Mary’s is pleased to announce the opening of the Huiras Center, made possible through a generous gift from attorney Ralph J. Huiras. The Huiras Center, located at 1500 W. Market Street, Mequon, will serve as an access point for teens in need of substance abuse assessment and treatment, a need highlighted by the recent heroin deaths in Ozaukee County. Mr. Huiras is a strong supporter of Columbia St. Mary's and a long-time advocate for substance abuse services.

A brief dedication ceremony, open to the media, will be held on Thursday, March 2 at 4 p.m.

The Huiras Center will integrate five critical elements to facilitate patient recovery: rapid assessment (within 24 hours of referral), comprehensive mental health and substance abuse evaluation, evidenced-based treatment options(including individual, group and family therapy, medication management and education), relapse prevention/social skills training, and community education to increase awareness and reduce social stigma of substance abuse and mental health issues. “We believe the combination of these therapeutic components will ensure the best results for our patients and differentiate The Huiras Center from other programs,” said Dr. William Henricks, Executive Director of Behavioral Medicine for Columbia St. Mary’s. The rapid assessment component was developed in response to requests from health care practitioners in the community who emphasized the need for quick access to care. The comprehensive evaluation process will ensure that patients’ are assessed for substance abuse as well as mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or other behavioral issues.

The Center will feature after-school programming to help teens recognize and change social behaviors that may foster abuse and addiction. Therapy is offered Monday through Friday after school and a three-hour family program is provided on Saturdays. Treatment will encourage teens to examine the effects of peer pressure and other factors that lead to drug use. Social activities and community resources will be offered to help teens develop non-drug-based riendships. Clients will attend the program five days a week for two to four weeks and then decrease their attendance according to their ongoing treatment needs. Following program completion, clients will be referred to outpatient mental health providers for ongoing therapy and linked with other community resources as needed. The program is designed to treat eight to 12 patients initially but may expand in the fall of 2006 based on the demand for services.

Community education and collaboration is also critical to the Center’s mission. The Center will hold training seminars for parents, educators and the community to increase awareness of issues involving drug use and provide the resources available to help fight it. The Center will also partner with other community organizations. "To ensure the program’s success, we’re meeting with staff from other area mental health providers, schools, community organizations and government agencies to develop effective partnerships and referral relationships,” said Henricks.

The clinical staff will include a Medical Director (child psychiatrist), family therapist, social worker, and assessment staff. The Center and programming are led by Dr. William Henricks, Executive Director of Behavioral Medicine, and Jeffrey Schulz, APSW,CADC III, Clinical Coordinator and Family Therapist.

As a member of the St. Mary’s Foundation Ozaukee Board of Directors, Mr. Huiras helped to shape the future of the hospital as it became Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Campus. He was crucial in the identification and nomination of many civic-minded community members who joined him in supporting the hospital. He also is a longtime supporter of the Huiras Family Ozaukee Community Health Clinic for uninsured and underinsured people, based at Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Hospital. In 2003, he received the 2003 Doerr Family Tradition of Caring Award from St. Mary’s Foundation Ozaukee for his service and philanthropy.

The Columbia St. Mary’s system is comprised of four hospitals: Columbia St. Mary’s Milwaukee Campus, Columbia St. Mary’s Columbia Campus, Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Campus, and Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Institute, as well as 28 primary care clinics, the Columbia College of Nursing, and a partnership with the Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin. The system serves individuals and families in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Washington counties, with more than 158 years of service. Columbia St. Mary’s and its sponsor organizations, Ascension Health and Columbia Health System, share a mission to make a positive difference in the health status and lives of individuals in the community with a special concern for those who are vulnerable.

 
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