Health Promotion Center awarded grant to offer mental health services


The van Ameringen Foundation in New York City has awarded Fairfield University's School of Nursing a grant for $95,572 to launch a Mental Health Services Program as part of the school's Health Promotion Center at 515 Washington Avenue, Bridgeport. The Center has served 50,000 people since its inception in 1993.

The grant will support a two-year project to develop a new mental health services program at the Center that will provide screenings for such problems as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and eating disorders. It will also offer individual, family and group education and counseling; psychiatric assessments and crisis intervention; as well as medication evaluation and management. Fairfield University has committed an additional $42,840 to the project.

Dr. Kathleen Wheeler, director of Fairfield University's master of science in nursing degree program, wrote the grant and is the project director for the program. Certified in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy by the Training Institute for Mental Health in New York City and by the American Nursing Association as a clinical specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health nursing, she has had clinical experience at Bellevue Hospital, New York Hospital and The Training Institute for Mental Health as well as in private practice. Dr. Wheeler is a licensed advanced practice nurse in Connecticut.

In addition, a psychiatric nurse practitioner who is a certified clinical specialist in adult psychiatric mental health nursing and licensed as an advanced practice nurse, will work with Dr. Wheeler to provide services to the community at the Center. Also working in the new Mental Health Services Program will be graduate psychiatric nurse practitioner students, Fairfield University nursing faculty and community volunteers. The program plans to offer its mental health services at the Health Promotion Center, senior high-rise complexes, senior day centers and in individual homes and apartments.

The Health Promotion Center currently provides health education, screening, referral and follow-up services to the poor and medically underserved in the Bridgeport area.

Two community assessments by the Neighborhood Health Improvement Partnership, for the east side and east end of Bridgeport, and the Southern Health Improvement Partnership, for the south end and west end of Bridgeport, supported the need for mental health services.

The van Ameringen Foundation was established by Arnold Louis van Ameringen in 1950 and received assets from him during his lifetime and from his estate following his death in 1966. The Foundation supports prevention, education and direct care in the mental-health field with an emphasis on those individuals and populations having a disadvantaged background and deprived opportunities for whom appropriate intervention would produce positive change.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 15, 2000

Vol. 32, No. 158