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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU and Las Cruces Public Schools team up to provide more clinical services

New Mexico State University is taking the wraps off a new project that will benefit the community and students.

On Wednesday, April 8, NMSU will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new College of Education Community Clinics. The ceremony will take place at the Arrowhead Medical Park Academy, located at 3600 Arrowhead Dr., Building 08, on the NMSU campus. The event starts at 4 p.m.

The College of Education Community Clinics will be housed at the Arrowhead Park Early College High School and is part of the Medical Academy. It will include a satellite office of the College of Education?s Edgar R. Garrett Speech and Hearing Center, as well as the NMSU Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic, a joint project of the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the College of Education. The main clinic for the Speech and Hearing Center will remain in the Speech Building on the NMSU campus.

?Each clinic will remain a separate entity with its own clinic coordinators but will share some resources, such as the office manager and basic operating expenses,? said Esther Devall, professor and department head for Family and Consumer Sciences at ACES. ?There is the possibility of additional clinics being added in the future, such as an assessment clinic that could do testing for learning disabilities and autism.?

The College of Education Community Clinics grew out of a desire by Michael Morehead, dean of the College of Education, and Stan Rounds, superintendent of the Las Cruces Public Schools, to create a joint project that would benefit NMSU and local high school students.

Along with seeing patients, the Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic will act as a training ground for NMSU graduate students in marriage and family counseling. In addition, as part of the agreement with Las Cruces Public Schools, high school students will have the opportunity to shadow the clinic?s practitioners in order to learn about careers in behavioral health. The Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic also will be offering counseling to students at the Early College High School, as it does not have its own school counselor.

?The most exciting piece is that because we?re at the high school, we will be using our clinics as a way to introduce young high school students to these allied health and mental health professions,? said Marlene Salas-Provance, assistant dean for College Community Clinics at the College of Education. Salas-Provance will serve as the College of Education Community Clinics? executive director.

Devall said the move is beneficial because the mental health clinic had outgrown its space in Cervantes Villages. Since opening in 2012, the clinic has served more than 300 clients. In July, the Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic will have a new clinical director, Chris Blazina, who comes with a strong background in research, teaching and clinical supervision of students.

The Speech and Hearing Center will be an actual practice directed by a clinical audiologist, Moumita Choudhury. Devall sees this sharing of space as a positive for both clinics and the Las Cruces community.

?People with speech and hearing difficulties often need emotional support and counseling, and people who are experiencing mental health issues also might benefit from speech and hearing services,? Devall said. ?We will be able to refer clients to each other as needed.?

Although the ribbon cutting takes place in April, Salas-Provance said the College of Education Community Clinics would begin operations in May.