Welcoming the Community: Cameron Psychology Clinic Opens
Faculty and graduate students from Cameron’s psychology department welcomed the public to the new Cameron Psychology Clinic during its grand opening on Oct. 25.
Cameron administration and donors from the community were on hand for the ceremony, which featured tours of the facility and speakers representing the four aspects of tenets of the clinic: hope, community, learning and opportunity.
Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Terri White said that the opening of the clinic was a step in the right direction for prioritizing mental healthcare.
“We are celebrating the fact that people are going to find hope and recovery,” she said. “This facility will save lives.”
She commended Cameron staff for establishing a clinic that served more than just the university.
“[It] gives Cameron a leg up by ensuring they have a training program so we will have folks who are better trained,” White said. “More importantly, you made this about the entire community.”
Cameron President Dr. John McArthur emphasized the motto for the clinic, “In the community, for the community,” taking note of its central location on 2202 NW Ferris, with a nearby bus stop, a pharmacy across the street and shopping along adjacent Sheridan Road.
He added that these amenities help the clinic staff best serve Lawton’s low-income population.
While the clinic is open to the public, Director Dr. Joanni Sailor and others emphasized that the facility best serves people who do not have insurance, active military who choose not to access services on post, those who have insurance with deductibles so high that they cannot access care, individuals whose insurance does not cover marriage and family therapy and the working poor.
Sailor added that she felt ecstatic for the grand opening. She also mentioned McArthur, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Ronna Vanderslice and Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies Dr. Lisa Huffman as integral parts of making the clinic plans come to fruition.
“No one person can do something this phenomenal,” she said. “It takes an entire team, and that’s how we’ve been successful.”
Sailor said that the ceremony’s primary goal was to tell the community as a whole that the clinic was open to provide these services. However, she added that there were other goals for the event.
“We wanted to demystify and remove some of the stigma associated with mental health,” she said. “There’s a stigma associated with receiving care [for mental health]. We really want to help people to understand that mental health issues are no different than physical health issues.”
There was one other goal for the ceremony in Sailor’s eyes: showing the public a facility she feels is great for expanding an already blossoming program.
“Our graduate students are just incredible,” she said, “and our training program will continue to produce high-quality clinicians. We expect great things for them. Not only do they have the opportunity to sit with the clients and provide therapy, but they also get to experience supervision with their practicum instructors.”
Sailor added that these instructors fulfill many roles, from licensed clinician to supervisors on the state and national levels in addition to professor.
“The faculty that supervise our students here at the clinic are just incredibly talented and gifted individuals,” she said. “We have some incredible faculty who are pulling this together.”
According to her, this training also helps instill a sense of community connectedness in the future therapists. Upon graduation, she has big hopes for the therapists to live the “in the community, for the community” mantra.
“We have the ability to serve our students to produce quality therapists and counselors while simultaneously providing free services to the community,” Sailor said. “Once our graduates complete the program, we have clinicians in the community that are continuing to go on and serve as we are continuing to train.”
The clinic started seeing clients the day before the grand opening ceremony, but she hopes more community members utilize the clinic. She hopes to eventually expand the breadth of services the clinic provides.There is truly not much of a limit for ideas and opportunities,” she said.
For more information about the clinic, visit www.cameron.edu/cpc.