Garlington Center – An Innovative Model for Healthcare

Garlington Center Clinic

In September Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare’s Garlington Center, located in the Eliot neighborhood on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (between NE Morris and NE Monroe Streets), hosted an exciting community event celebrating the groundbreaking of a new integrated health and wellness clinic and a new 52-unit affordable housing apartment building. The new clinic will provide mental health, addiction treatment, primary care and wellness programs to low income community members. The new apartment building will be available to Cascadia clients, US Veterans and displaced North/Northeast Portland residents.

The event included local food vendors and businesses along with community partners, and performances by the Jefferson High Dancers and Okrapong, part of the Obo Addy Legacy Project, who performed the traditional music and dance of Ghana. Many Eliot neighbors and friends in the community attended the celebration.

Building a Culture of Caring is Cascadia’s $3.5 million fundraising campaign to help establish the new Garlington Health & Wellness Center clinic through community giving. The new integrated healthcare clinic will reduce the financial and resource burden on area hospitals and emergency facilities. The new campus will also have economic benefits in the community through workforce development such as construction and trade jobs, staffing for the new buildings and new residents in the affordable housing. All of these positively impact area businesses.

This article, the first of a three-part series, focuses on how one local nonprofit’s innovative new health and wellness clinic will contribute to improving the quality of life for all Oregonians.

Part I: Healthy Oregonians Contribute to Healthy Communities and a Health Economy

Over the last decade, the term “upstream health” has become a major focus across the nation. This term refers to preventing problems at the source instead of trying to fix them later. It gives people increased control over their health and the conditions that contribute to health inequities thereby promoting wellness. Upstream health translates to community members who are empowered and healthier; thus, they positively impact both community and the economy.

Currently Cascadia serves 15,000 Oregonians each year who are living with mental health and addiction challenges and has over 900 employees working at more than 75 locations. With the new Garlington Health & Wellness Center, Cascadia is breaking new ground to offer upstream care through the new clinic. The new location will offer expanded services including primary care providers, preventative care, healthy lifestyle and fitness classes, and a teaching kitchen along with a community garden. The affordable housing has reserved 10 apartments for Cascadia clients in critical need, 10 apartments for Veterans, and 32 units available to displaced North/Northeast Portland residents.

Integrated Health Care
What is integrated healthcare and why is it important for multicultural neighborhoods? Integrated care is “the systematic coordination of general and behavioral healthcare. Integrating mental health, substance abuse, and primary care services produces the best outcomes and proves the most effective approach to caring for people with multiple healthcare needs.” (SAMHSA)

Individuals living with mental health and addiction challenges face an increased risk of chronic medical conditions. These individuals have a shorter lifespan than the average American due largely to inequitable access to appropriate care. Oregon and the country as a whole are attempting to overcome inequities by improving access and quality of healthcare. Cascadia’s new clinic will provide integrated healthcare to low income community members with the goal to improve health and wellness outcomes.

Community Benefits
The new Garlington campus offers many ways for the neighborhood to evolve and benefit including, but not limited to:

  • The addition of an architecturally beautiful and well-lit building to activate MLK.
  • Programming to benefit the community through community-based services like health screenings, gardens, teaching kitchen, fitness and other wellness services.
  • Partnering with local nonprofits and developing culturally specific addiction recovery services and senior care programs.
Garlington Center Housing
Garlington Center Housing

The apartment building construction is slated to begin in Fall 2016 with estimated completion and occupancy by January 2018. The clinic construction is slated to begin March 2017 with plans to open spring 2018. Cascadia will have more information to share with Eliot residents in 2017 as the construction continues.

The Garlington Center History
The Center is named in honor of the late Rev. Dr. John W. Garlington, Jr, a prominent leader and advocate for the African American community in Portland during the late 1970s and early 1980s.