By Jordan Corona
At the start of National Autism Awareness month Tuesday, the university and McLane Children’s Hospital Scott and White announced their new partnership with an opening ceremony at the Baylor University Center for Developmental Disabilities on MacArthur Drive.
The center, which was established November 2013 at a McLane Scott and White property, now houses the university’s Autism Resource Center and the Clinic for Assessment, Research and Education.
“Nearly 10 million children, according to the CDC, have some sort of developmental disorder,” President and Chancellor Ken Starr said in his opening address.
Starr referenced a passage from Ecclesiastes, talking about the university partnership.
“‘Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves; cord of three strands is not be quickly broken,’” he said, “In other words don’t be a lone ranger. Don’t fly solo. But rather find friends, loved ones, those who share a vision and then you see where you collaborate.”
Dr. Eric Robinson, director for the collaborative center, recognized First Lady Alice Starr and Dr. Alma Golden for their visionary role in forming the partnership.
In the Starr’s time living in north Virginia Mrs. Starr volunteered with a Jill’s House, a group to provide respite care for children and families with developmental disabilities. The Starrs co-chaired the capital campaign for the organization in 2010.
“I think that every single child is special. We should look at children as having great, special talents but they may not be the same as us,” she said. “You look for the good in people. And when people need help because they have children with these disabilities, it’s up to us to help them.”
Mrs. Starr said the center was also a great opportunity for students who are interested in working with children with disabilities.
“McLane Children’s Hospital Scott and White and Baylor University make a remarkable pair, both have a great history of excellence in medical and educational services, training and research,” Robinson said.
“We also see it as an opportunity for students, interns and residents to put theory to practice — to test theory and create best practice.”
The focus of the center is for diagnosing and treating children and families who live with particular developmental disorders.
Golden is the vice chair for community initiatives at McLane Children’s.
“We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do to make the coordination between diagnosis and treatment smoother?’” she said.
Robinson said among his hopes for the collaboration, the center could provide coordinated diagnostic, care and treatment services. Keeping things accountable to a particular standard, the center will integrate qualitative research to assess educational aspects of operations like student research and training.
The School of Social Work, neuroscience department and family consumer science department are potential future participants with the center, Robinson said.
Golden helped lead the partnership to address what she called a general shortage of mental health care the in community.
“When I started in pediatrics I actually had brown hair,” said Dr. John Boyd III, chief executive officer and chief medical officer of McLane Children’s Scott and White.
“The children with developmental disabilities have really been ignored for many many years. And they are not only the burden of their families, and I use that word in a non-pejorative way, but families are challenged with those individuals.”
Boyd’s talk at the opening ceremony celebrated the partnership’s potential to help the well being of many people in the community.
“McLane Children’s Hospital and Clinics have always been a resource for our community. This is just an example once again of us partnering with Baylor University to make a resource for our children and families in the community.”
Drayton McLane, chairman of the Scott and White Healthcare Board of Trustees, said, “One of the best parts of life and leadership is teamwork.”
“We’re here today on the first of April, in 2014 and we’ve really got super teamwork,” he said. “We have put together the best of everybody — Scott and White and Baylor healthcare are now one.”
Meshing the two large organizations together was no easy task, Golden said, but it was something both parties decided was worth doing.
“This project was motivated by the goals of providing coordinated health and educational services for children with developmental disabilities and their families,” said Dr. Englhart, dean of the School of Education.