Clinic to focus on black community

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A psychologist whose campaign against baggy pants made waves in Boston says he wants to help a newly licensed East Liberty clinic fill a gap in the mental-health treatment system.

Although he still lives in Massachusetts, Omar G. Reid helped found the Adaptive Behavioral Services clinic at 6031 Broad St. in East Liberty. He's also the organization's chief clinical officer.

The clinic opened in July 2012 under the auspices of licensed caregivers. Now, it has its own license from the state Department of Public Welfare, according to Kevin Jordan, the clinic's general manager.

As Allegheny County's only minority-owned outpatient provider of mental-health services, Adaptive Behavioral brings a much-needed culturally sensitive approach to minority and poor communities, Mr. Jordan said.

He credited Mr. Reid with seeing the need for the clinic, which hopes to expand to neighborhoods outside the city.

Don Clark, the county Human Services Department's deputy director for behavioral health and intellectual disability, confirmed that it's been a challenge to provide culturally competent care to minority groups, including immigrants and people with disabilities.

Mr. Jordan declined to identify the owners of the for-profit clinic, a relative rarity in a field dominated by nonprofit treatment providers. Mr. Reid is affiliated with similar clinics in Atlanta and Boston and a co-author of "Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder," a 2005 book about mental illness in black America.

As founder and president of the Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts, Mr. Reid played a leading role this year in the organization's video and billboard campaign targeting youths whose baggy pants expose their underwear.

"Pull up your pants. Respect yourself," the video says.

Mr. Reid said the alliance's campaign, which grew out of complaints from parents, has drawn mixed reviews. "There's always that 20 percent who think I'm promoting racial profiling," he said.

The alliance, which tries to improve care in minority and poor communities, also worked this year with Roxbury Community College to develop a training program for mental-health paraprofessionals.

Mr. Jordan said Adaptive Behavioral provides individual, group and family therapy to patients with medical assistance and other types of insurance.

So far, the clinic has more than 260 clients. Among those needing continuing care, the client follow-through rate is an unusually high 80 percent, a sign that the clinic is needed, Mr. Jordan said.

health

Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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