Skip Navigation
Press Releases and News

Mrs. Ada Anderson Helps Break Ground on Community Health and Wellness Center

(AUSTIN, Texas) 6.18.15— Huston-Tillotson University President and Chief Executive Officer Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D., completed one of his final goals before retirement when he joined community leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony.  Existing buildings were removed and the grounds prepared for the Sandra Joy Anderson Community Health and Wellness Center that will be located on the corner of 11th Street and Chalmers Avenue.

“As a growing community, we see this medical, educational, research model as a comprehensive means of servicing our students as well as Travis County residents,” said Earvin. 

Components of the 14,704 square foot structure include a primary care facility for the delivery of medical services, as well as resources to provide health and substance abuse education, health promotion, drug and alcohol assessment and counseling, wellness programs, and the incorporation of a peer education network.

CommUnityCare (CUC), a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), will occupy 12,000-square feet of the Center to provide primary medical care. The remaining portion of the facility will house HT’s research psychiatrist, a psychologist, a community engagement officer and support personnel.

Additional partners include The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC), providing staffing support, and the City of Austin that has committed funds for engineering studies, salaries, lawyer’s fees, and other needs in the start-up phase of the clinic. Recently, the Central Health board members approved funding for furnishings and equipment.

The Center also will help relieve the previously identified strain on Travis County’s mental health resources by adding treatment options and services that residents and taxpayers need. With the focus on addressing mental health needs, ATCIC is anticipated to be the behavioral health provider, as it is in other CommUnity Care locations.  Both have been on the forefront of bringing community-based integrated physical and mental health services to vulnerable populations in our community.

Through the partnership, the universities will work together to address mental health challenges in Austin, particularly in underserved populations.  The institutions plan to hire a team that will produce combined training programs, new models of care, and research to address needs in East Austin and communities with disproportionate burdens of mental illness. 

            HT officials identified Dr. William Lawson who most recently served as professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C., to aid in the research component.  Lawson, who will manage the center, is joining the Dell Medical School as a professor and Associate Dean of Health Disparities. He has published more than 180 articles, received numerous federal and local grants, and served as chief of psychiatry in Arkansas for the Veterans Administration and chief medical officer for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health.

            The Sandra Joy Anderson Community Health and Wellness Center is named for the late daughter of HT alumna Mrs. Ada Cecilia Collins Anderson, 92, who gave Huston-Tillotson University $3 million— the largest gift in the institution’s history. Anderson attended Austin’s two predominantly black colleges, Samuel Huston and Tillotson, before they were merged, and she received her master’s degree in 1965 from UT Austin. With shovel in hand, she was among the first to turn the dirt at the location of the structure.

The Center is envisioned to launch a $35 million complex that will not only help address mental health disparities and increase health and wellness across the community, but increase the number of African American mental health physicians in Central Texas, and serve the medical needs of HT students and faculty members. HT officials foresee a health and wellness complex to house the Kinesiology Department and Intercollegiate Athletics.  Approximately one third of HT’s 1,031 students are athletes with kinesiology ranking among the top five majors.

Earvin’s retirement is effective June 30, 2015.

As a historically black institution, Huston-Tillotson University’s mission is to nurture a legacy of leadership and excellence in education, connecting knowledge, power, passion, and values. The University offers associate and master’s degrees in addition to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 20 areas of study.


Photos 9557

Albert Hawkins, Larry L. Earvin, Ada Anderson


Left to Right

Mr. George Miller, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of CommUnity Care Health Center
Dr. Mini Kahlon, Vice Dean for Strategy Partnerships, Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin
Mr. Albert Hawkins, Chair, Huston-Tillotson University Board of Trustees
Dr. Larry L. Earvin, President and CEO, Huston-Tillotson University
Mrs. Ada Anderson
Ms. Patricia “Trish” Young Brown, President and CEO of Central Health
Dr. James Baker, System Chief Medical Officer, Austin Travis County Integral Care

Photos by  Mark Matson