The Yale Child Study Center (CSC) has dedicated a new behavioral health care facility at 350 George Street in New Haven that puts its clinical and community-based operations all under one roof, and provides a bright space that is being warmly praised as very welcoming for young patients and their families.
The building’s work areas, 53,000 square feet total, are more than triple the combined space of CSC’s three prior facilities, which were on York and Temple Streets and on South Frontage Road. Linda C. Mayes, MD, Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology, and chair of the CSC, says the larger size is just one of its advantages. “Before, our families had to come to different sites. A family might go to one building, and then they would have to come all the way to another building,” she explains. “Clinicians and scholars in those different sites had fewer opportunities to interact with and learn from one another. Bringing everyone together in one space allows them to work together more effectively. It's giving patients one door to come through. We also have room for growth. And we bring programs together that heretofore did not have the opportunity to collaborate.”
At the official ribbon-cutting on October 4, Robert J. Alpern, MD, dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine, said the building is a space transformed. He recalled first seeing it about 15 years ago, “when it was a building that the telephone company used for phone lines and it had no windows and it looked like a bunker.” Now there are large windows on all sides, along with original artwork, books donated by Scholastic Publishing, plus well-placed lighting and other architectural touches by the firm of Svigals + Partners that enhance the quality of the care being delivered. “This will really be the home that the Child Study Center has always deserved,” Alpern proclaimed.
Marna Borgstrom, CEO of Yale New Haven Health, celebrated the opening as one more example of the seamlessness of care between the hospital system and the School of Medicine. “Our patients see us as one organization, and Linda [Mayes] has been key to helping to lead this transformation for the entire medical center,” Borgstrom said. “We owe her incredible gratitude because I don’t think we would be here without her.”
Children who live in New Haven and nearby communities will be very well served, said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp. “The children who come here deserve space that lets them know that you respect them, that you have high expectations, and that they’re going to be better because they came here.”
“You stood up for the principle long before it became fashionable, that given the chance every child in America can learn and succeed,” added U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro. “That is what you will continue to do at this facility.”
Mayes says it is great to see the excited look on children’s faces as they walk through the doors of the new space. “That’s why we did it. I feel that’s what makes it worthwhile,” she says. “I think it’s the respect they feel by the beauty of it. It doesn’t feel traditionally medical. It feels welcoming and caring.”
Erin M. Warnick, PhD, associate research scientist and CSC’s lead of clinical operations, organized the planning effort for what was a massive project. “We imagined, 'How could we build a space that really supports the work that we’re doing for our community?'” Warnick said at the ribbon-cutting. “Thank you across the board to all the members of our community who contributed big ideas, little ideas. As you walk through the space, you can see that all of these ideas were incorporated into the plans because each of them made a difference and each of those contributions serves to create what this space really is today.”
Approximately 225 people will work in the new facility, including physicians, psychologists, social workers, pediatricians, and staff. The building will also be home to the Center for Emotional Intelligence program that previously occupied space on Edwards Street as well as all of the Child Study Center’s in-home programs, the MOMS Partnership, and Elevate, a policy lab. The Yale Child Study Center receives approximately 60,000 patient visits each year. CSC’s research operations and administration remain at 230 South Frontage Road.