Latest endeavor in downtown Phoenix establishes teaching clinic for nursing, nutrition, nonprofit and social work students
Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2016, click here.
ASU’s latest downtown Phoenix endeavor helps fulfill the school’s mission of social transformation by giving low-income people access to the care and services they need at the landmark Westward Ho, President Michael M. Crow said Tuesday.
University leaders, city and state officials, and building residents were among the hundreds gathered Tuesday for the grand opening of the Collaboratory on Central, a teaching clinic for the various colleges and disciplines represented on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, which include nursing, nutrition, nonprofit and social work.
“Many universities think of themselves as a sequestered place where you remove yourself from society,” Crow said. “Our conceptualization is a university that is on the frontline.”
“We are not a place but a force,” he said.
The Westward Ho, for decades, has been a low-income housing complex, but before that it had been one of the region’s premier destinations and tourist attractions. Built in 1928, it played host to some of the most famous icons of the 20th century, including Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, actors Clark Gable, Jackie Gleason, George Burns and John Wayne and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, many in the community experience poverty, homelessness, undetected and untreated health conditions, and substance-use disorders. Residents will be able to receive assistance with these and other problems, often from students, at the Collaboratory. University leaders hope to be able to expand the outreach in the near future.
“This is what a great university does — it wraps its arms around the community and asks, ‘What can we do to help? And how can we make the community around us better?” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said.
“We’re a better city because of ASU.”
The 15,000-square-foot Collaboratory, which occupies the first floor of the building, represents a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary space that brings together research, learning and service. ASU students will work with professionals to provide psycho-social and health services. The space will also create more continuing education, technical assistance and consulting opportunities for government and nonprofit agencies.
The main tenant is ASU’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health PolicyThe center is a part of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus and will share a space with the Center for Child Well-Being.. The center takes a wider view of health for its 300 clients, many of whom are poor, sick, elderly or disabled.
The 16-story Westward Ho closed its doors in 1980 and reopened as a low-income housing complex the following year.
In creating the Collaboratory, the first floor was renovated. At the center of that overhaul is the Art Deco-style Concho Room, a once-glamorous cocktail lounge where the rich and famous gathered.