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MOVE TO INCLUDE is a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

Golisano gives $5 million for new pediatric behavioral health and wellness center

Tianna Manon/WXXI News
Thomas Golisano has pledged $5 million to a new center focused on the emotional and mental wellness of local youth.

Philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano announced on Thursday that he is pledging $5 million to support construction of a new pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Center at the University of Rochester.

Golisano, whose support also resulted in the Golisano Children’s Hospital being named after him, says the new pediatric facility will address gaps in care and accommodate more clinical staff to help reduce the number of children who are on a waiting list for services.

“Now, when we talk about providing comprehensive care to children and their families, we can include expanded and enhanced behavioral health services. I’m confident that Golisano Children’s Hospital will become a leader in this field,” Golisano said.

The $10 million building will be located near the intersection of South Avenue and Science Parkway. The new services include an Intensive Outpatient Service Line which will allow youth to get a higher level of care than traditional outpatient services, enabling them to stay home and attend their regular school.

"This facility is going to allow us to see more patients in a more ideal setting," said Dr. Michael Sharf, Chief of the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. "It will increase access and enable us to see more people and see them quickly. It will also be the primary site for our outpatient and ambulatory services. And again is anticipated to enhance access, decrease waitlists.” 

Sharf said the current set-up isn't very youth friendly. However, being able to go home in the evening, or balance help with school makes youth more likely to take advantage of the programs and for these programs to make an impact. 

“We have known for some time that pediatric behavioral and mental health services are a critical area of need in our community,” said Joel Seligman, president and CEO of the University of Rochester. “And once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of Tom Golisano, who has stepped up to help fill this need.”

Credit Tianna Manon/WXXI News
This graphic shows the proposed layout of the Golisano Behavioral Health and Wellness Center.

Other services include an outpatient program that serves children and adolescents battling depression, anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder and other conditions including stress due to  a medical illness or other adverse or traumatic events.

There will also be a partial hospitalization program, which serves children ages 12 – 18 who require intensive services throughout the day, but are able to stay home with their families without constant medical observation.

With the gift announced Thursday, Golisano has now given nearly $41 million in support of the children’s hospital.

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.