ATLANTA – The Glenn Family Wellness Clinic at Skyland Trail is the first in Atlanta to offer integrated medical care for adults with a diagnosed mental illness. Skyland Trail opened the doors of the clinic to the community in March 2015, and, in August 2015, named it The Glenn Family Wellness Clinic in honor of The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation in recognition of their generosity and support for improved mental health and wellness in Atlanta.
Integrated care refers to an innovative healthcare model that combines mental health treatment with traditional primary care such as preventive health services and disease management.
The Glenn Family Wellness Clinic is the result of the $18 million Changing Minds capital campaign for Skyland Trail, which also is supporting the development of a specialized campus and programming for young adults ages 18 to 26. The young adult campus is scheduled to open in fall 2016.
The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation is a key contributor to the campaign. Since its inception, the Foundation has channeled more than $75 million into higher education, K-12 schools, medical research, healthy food access, green space and public parks, and other community needs. Many grants address organizational needs that might not easily be funded by other sources such as capacity building, infrastructure, program scaling or operating needs.
“We believe the clinic is an important asset for the Atlanta community and will offer unique help to an under served population,” says Rand Glenn Hagen, trustee. “The clinic combines medical care with mental health and healthy living counseling. That fusion really resonated with us because we provide grants for improving health through all of those channels.”
The lobby of the clinic is dedicated to Changing Minds capital campaign co-chair, Richard Park and his family.
“By expanding our wellness program, both in terms of physical space and reach, I firmly believe we will improve the quality of life for many in our community,” says Parker. “In fact, I believe this unique model of integrated care will even save lives for some with the most serious health risks.”
As an early proponent of and leader in the field of integrated care, Skyland Trail opened an onsite primary care clinic in 2004 to provide integrated medical care for clients participating in the residential and intensive day treatment programs for major depression, bipolar illness, anxiety and schizophrenia.
With the opening of The Glenn Family Wellness Clinic, in a larger, more specialized space in the Dorothy C. Fuqua Center, in addition to current clients and alumni of Skyland Trail, the clinic also accepts patients with a diagnosed mental illness in the community who are referred by their mental healthcare provider. New clinic patients do not need a prior relationship Skyland Trail to receive treatment but must be under the care of a psychiatrist.
Medical professionals with expertise in the intersection of physical and mental health help clients adopt healthy lifestyles, complete and interpret lab tests, manage chronic diseases, and seek specialized care if needed. The clinic is designed to serve as a medical home, where patients receive informed, compassionate care in a safe and respectful environment.
Adults with serious mental illness have a life expectancy 25 years shorter than their peers, largely due to treatable medical conditions. Further, many medications that reduce psychosis and improve mood can lead to the development of cardiometabolic syndrome, a constellation of symptoms including high body mass index and elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and glucose levels. Current research points to integrated healthcare for both the brain and body as an effective way to reduce these health risks.
“The evidence is becoming clear that mental illnesses and physical illnesses are inextricably linked,” says Ray Kotwicki, MD, MPH, Skyland Trail Chief Medical Officer. “We know that people with mental illnesses have twice the rates of heart disease and diabetes and maybe even higher rates of pulmonary disease. If we don’t provide effective care to prevent those medical problems, we are not really doing all we can to help our clients live quality lives.”
Key contributors to the Changing Minds capital campaign include The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The James M. Cox Foundation, the J.B. Fuqua Foundation, and the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.
The campaign was led by co-chairs Brooke Weinmann and Richard Parker. The campaign committee includes Vivian N. DuBose; J. Rex Fuqua; Carol G. Gellerstedt; John C. Gordon; Danica L. Griffith; Dana Halberg; Thomas D. Hills; William E. Huger III; Hugh M. “Don” Inman, Jr.; Clay Jackson; Melissa Lowe; Jay D. Mitchell; Jackie Montag; Michelle Sullivan; Mark Tipton; and Michael Tompkins.