AMITYVILLE, NY—On Tuesday, May 7, 3 at New York State Museum in Albany, NY, Kristie Golden, PhD, vice president of ambulatory services at South Oaks Hospital, will be recognized by a collaborative committee comprised of representatives from the New York State Office of Mental Health, The Council of Children and Families and the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council in partnership with several nonprofit organizations, including The National Alliance on Mental Illness, The Early Care and Learning Council, The Mental Health Association of New York State and the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.
Through South Oaks behavioral health integration initiative and the efforts of Dr. Golden, an initial grant from the New York State Health Foundation was awarded in 2011 to facilitate the planning phase of integrating mental health services into primary care practices across Nassau and Suffolk counties. A second grant in 2012 from the New York State Office of Mental Health led to the implementation on the East End of Long Island, helping to fill the shortage of mental health professionals in Suffolk County. With enthusiastic assistance from the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, pediatrician Gail Schonfeld, MD, and George Dempsey, MD, of East Hampton Family Medicine, the dream of having an integrated mental health clinician devoted to the care of youngsters became a reality. The clinicians primarily serve patients of Dr. Schonfeld’s practice, implementing an integrative, holistic approach to care. “The goal is to ensure that each child’s physical and mental health is addressed together. This valuable initiative is acting as a catalyst for other primary care physicians to support the integration of mental health and substance abuse services,” Dr. Golden said. During 2013, the South Oaks Child and Adolescent Center of East Hampton has made great strides in addressing behavioral health issues, while encouraging primary care physicians to implement practical procedures to identify those in need, as well as connect patients and families with appropriate interventions early on. Several additional grants have also been awarded to South Oaks to expand this work.
Dr. Golden said she feels privileged to accept this award on behalf of the South Oaks Child and Adolescent Center of East Hampton as affirmation of the value of this initiative. She credited the healthcare professionals in East Hampton who have devoted their time and energy during the implementation of this visionary program.