ACC Eastview to offer free clinical mental health services in partnership with Dell Medical School

Madeline Duncan, Senior news reporter

Dell Medical School is partnering with Austin Community College this semester to create the Amplify Center — a mental health office located at ACC’s Eastview Campus where students can access licensed psychiatrists and prescriptions for free. 

The Amplify Center will open sometime this fall and offer services to 200 ACC students as part of a two-year pilot program, Deborah Cohen, Amplify Center director, said. Cohen said the center aims to reduce the barriers young adults experience when accessing mental health care. According to the press release, the pilot program is the result of “nearly five years of community brainstorming,” and the partnership hopes to expand their resources to offer locations at more ACC campuses in the future.

“Our medical system is segmented into pediatric and adult care, so young adults tend to not have attached relationships to health care providers,” Cohen said. “This can be problematic in a number of different disorders, but it’s especially problematic in mental health, because serious mental illness tends to be developed during young adulthood.”

Currently, the Amplify Center’s resources are limited to ACC students during the first two years of the pilot program, Cohen said. 

“We hope once we can establish the model and work more towards sustainability and expansion of sustainability that it will be open to all young adults in the city,” Cohen said. 

Cohen said the program will focus on screening and short-term care for mild and moderate mental health-related illnesses, and will refer some cases to Integral Care, a local mental healthcare resource, for more extensive help.

Ruth Reinhart, associate vice chancellor of student support services at ACC, said the partnership with Dell Medical School will help ACC to expand the mental health resources available to its students. 

“The challenge for our students is that many of them need prescriptions,” Reinhart said. “Our clinicians are not prescribers, so in the partnership with the Dell Medical School, we will be able to do that because they will provide us with a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner who could prescribe.”

The Amplify Center will also provide telehealth services to students who may not be able to access transportation to the Eastview campus, Reinhart said.

“(The Eastview campus) does have easy access to bus lines versus some other campuses,” Reinhart said. “Transportation is always a concern to us, we want to make sure the students have accessibility to those … We will be able to provide telehealth consultation, so not necessarily students will have to go there, but that’s an added benefit.”