New UF psychiatry center opens

Michael Good, M.D., and Mark Gold, M.D., at the recent opening of the new Springhill Health Center.  Photo by Sarah Kiewel

Michael Good, M.D., and Mark Gold, M.D., at the recent opening of the new Springhill Health Center. Photo by Sarah Kiewel

The University of Florida celebrated the fusion of many of its psychiatric care, training and research programs at the Springhill Health Center at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, July 1.

Many College of Medicine department chairs, faculty and staff attended the official opening of the psychiatry center on Northwest 39th Avenue, near Santa Fe Community College and across from Shands Vista. National Alliance on Mental Illness president and UF professor Bruce Stevens, Ph.D., and former Florida Secretary of State Bruce Smathers were in attendance, as well as local artist Arnold Mesches, who donated paintings to decorate the center.

The new facility complements psychiatry department activities at the McKnight Brain Institute and Health Science Center, providing an additional location for programs, training and research. UF faculty began seeing patients at Springhill in May for child and adolescent psychiatry, adult psychiatry, addiction medicine, chronic pain and forensic services.

“Patients are finding the new facility easy to get in, easier to find and comfortable for them to see their physician, psychiatrist or therapist,” said Mark S. Gold, M.D., Dizney distinguished professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at the UF College of Medicine. “We hope to bring our motto ‘From Discovery to Recovery’ to life for people with pain, addictions, eating and psychiatric problems.”

The new meeting and conference rooms are open for use, and the center plans to make them available for patient and family education meetings as well as self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Gold said.

“The state of Florida is unfortunately ranked at the very bottom in terms of access to mental health care,” said Michael Good, M.D., interim dean of the College of Medicine. “With our inpatient units at UF and freestanding hospital at Vista, and now outpatient centers in Vero Beach and Springhill, we are making another major addition of space, resources, and psychiatry department experts to meet an overwhelming and obvious need for psychiatrists and psychiatric services.”

The Florida Recovery Center, one of the top addiction treatment centers in the South, is using the space for its program led by Scott Teitelbaum, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry.

“The new Springhill space allows us to respond to the tremendous demand for our program,” he said. “We have increased therapists, program staff, Fellows, and number of patients, as well as starting a program specifically designed to help nurses dealing with addiction.”

The Florida Recovery Center also launched a new program to help health providers manage anger or other issues not involving drugs or alcohol.

The center and its programs will continue to grow in the new 10,000-square foot facility, Gold said. Additional faculty and staff have been hired for the Forensics Institute and the Eating Disorder and Obesity program, which will open in the fall. Inpatient, outpatient and residential programs for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and obesity will operate from Springhill.