SAN ANTONIO — (Dec. 4, 2020) — Mothers recovering from opioid use disorder will soon have a larger home on a new Women’s Wellness Campus to recover with their babies.
The UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing has received two grants totaling more than $3.8 million from the Department of State Health Services to build the new campus with its partner, Crosspoint Inc. Crosspoint has been offering behavioral health, community justice and residential transitional services for more than 50 years. The two currently operate a residence called Casa Mia in the Monte Vista area, where pregnant and parenting mothers recover from substance use disorder with their children.
“Very few programs allow mothers to recover with their babies. We have found through our research that mothers who can recover in stable housing with their babies develop a stronger bond with their children and are more motivated to recover. Their babies do much better, too, with the stability of being with their mothers,” said Lisa Cleveland, PhD, RN, APRN, FAAN. The School of Nursing faculty member has received nearly $31 million this fall for research, projects and programs to promote recovery from opioid use disorder in San Antonio and the state.
Casa Mia currently operates at a capacity of 80% or more, indicating a growing need for this program in the community. The new Women’s Wellness Campus will double that capacity to 40 beds and for the first time will provide a nursery for the babies and a primary care clinic to be operated by the School of Nursing. The mothers will attend a series of parenting, childcare and recovery classes while at the residence.
“There is another women’s campus in Houston for mothers and babies to recover together, but ours will be the first in the state to offer the neonatal nursery and primary care clinic on site,” Dr. Cleveland added. She noted that reducing stigma is another goal of the program, so that mothers can feel confident receiving treatment and attending classes to better their lives for themselves and their children.
The Women’s Wellness Campus will be built on nearly 2.9 acres of land at 1500 Semlinger Road on San Antonio’s East Side. The land is currently owned by Emmanuel AME Church, which will remain next door.
A 19-member community advisory board chaired by Sister Gabriela Lohan from the Sisters of the Holy Spirit is guiding the project.
The School of Nursing will provide $2.9 million from the grant funding to Crosspoint to buy the property and construct the facilities for Phase 1. The remainder of the grant will be used for operational expenses.
Phase 1 includes Casa Mia’s residential home, the on-site nursery, primary care clinic, administration building and parking lot. Crosspoint will be conducting a capital campaign to raise funds for the remaining expenses for Phase 1 and then Phase 2. This second phase will provide recovery residences and services for women already served by Crosspoint at other locations. These include homeless veterans, women in the justice system, such as those involved in human trafficking, and women being released from behavioral health hospitals who need lower-level residential and clinical services.
Dr. Downey stated: “These citizens too often find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of emergency services, homelessness and incarceration. Having them together on one campus will more efficiently and effectively address their needs while ensuring they receive the essential trauma-informed guidance and professional support required for restoration of citizenship and optimal behavioral health.
“We believe that this new campus will become the standard of care for this vulnerable population in South Texas and will serve as a model for the nation. Our goal is to improve the lives of future generations by helping women become successful, self-sufficient, fully restored members of our community,” he said.
Dr. Cleveland added, “This has the potential to change the lives of women, children and families for generations to come.”
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