News Release: University News

Apr. 26,  2010

Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression Celebrates 10 Years of Community Outreach

The late J.B. Fuqua, businessman and philanthropist who struggled with depression throughout his life, recognized a need in Georgia for a program to identify, educate and treat elderly patients suffering from depression.

His concern led to a 1999 gift to found the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression at Emory University's Wesley Woods Center. William M. McDonald, MD, geriatric psychiatrist and professor, Emory's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, was appointed founding director. In 2003, an endowment from the Fuqua Foundation named McDonald the J.B. Fuqua Chair in Late-Life Depression in the Emory School of Medicine.

"Among other risk factors for depression and suicide among the elderly is the presence of a physical illness and social isolation," says McDonald. "The Fuqua Center's ultimate goal is to provide community-based programs that will identify as many at-risk elderly individuals in the Atlanta region and throughout Georgia as possible, get them treatment and keep them well."

Eve H. Byrd, MSN, MPH, executive director of the Fuqua Center, says, "The Fuqua Center's success is largely due to its many valued community partnerships. Organizations such as the Georgia Division of Aging, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Aging Services of Georgia, Visiting Nurse Health System and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities have worked with the Fuqua Center to improve the community's understanding of older adult mental health, and improve their access to the medical care they need for depression and other mental illnesses."

Since the Center was established in 1999, it has informed and engaged over 23,000 persons through community outreach and professional educational activities. The Fuqua Center also provides clinical services in 12 low-income residential facilities, made possible through a grant from the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation, and reaches rural older adults through telehealth services. Thomas J. Lawley, MD, dean of the Emory University School of Medicine, says, "Through the generosity of the Fuqua family throughout the last decade and Dr. McDonald's outstanding leadership, the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression has created a model program that has earned the dedication and respect of both state and private institutions. "The Fuqua Center and its numerous community partners have developed educational programs and clinical outreach services that have vastly extended the availability of mental health care to Georgia's elderly."

For more information regarding the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression at Emory University visit www.fuquacenter.org.

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