Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Neighborhood Health Center (dba Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center)

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

May 2013

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

December 1, 2008 – June 15, 2011


In the Black Rock region of Buffalo, access to mental health care is limited.

In 2008, the average patient wait time was six weeks to see a counselor and more than three months to see a psychiatrist. The Neighborhood Health Center (NHC), a federally qualified health center in the Black Rock region, serves more than 10,000 patients annually. Established more than 20 years ago, it provides care and services in pediatrics; internal medicine; obstetrics and gynecology; dentistry; and nutrition education to the uninsured and underinsured. To address the unmet mental health needs of residents in this underserved area, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded a grant to NHC to increase patient access to on-site mental health services.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Created a new behavioral health department with two new positions—a licensed clinical social worker and a community health worker.
  • Developed a new measure for its annual grant report: the percentage of patients 18 years old and older who receive a PHQ-2 screening questionnaire, which tests for major depressive episodes.
  • Created a patient registry database online.
  • Developed a formal partnership with the community mental health provider, Horizons Health Services, for patients to receive chemical dependency and drug treatment counseling.
  • Improved patient access by one month, or 67%, of the former wait time.