Andrews Center Behavioral Healthcare System is a non-profit, comprehensive mental health and intellectual and developmental disability center that is contracted by the State of Texas to serve as the Local Mental Health Authority.. Services are provided in a five-county area of East Texas (Smith, Wood, Rains, Van Zandt and Henderson). Center services are available to residents of these counties without regard to race, national origin, sex, age, religion or disability. The administration office and Smith County clinic are located in Tyler. For convenience, additional clinics are located in Athens, Canton, Emory and Mineola.
Andrews Center employs well-trained behavioral healthcare professionals who are equipped with a wide variety of abilities. They are trained to address many types of issues.
Andrews Center provides treatment and care of the highest possible quality that is:
- Consistent with recognized professional standards.
- As close to home as possible.
- In the least restrictive setting feasible.
- Suitable to need.
- Performed to serve each person as a fellow human being.
Andrews Center History
Andrews Center (formerly Mental Health Mental Retardation Regional Center of East Texas) was originally established in June 1968, as the Smith-Wood County Mental Health Mental Retardation Center under the sponsorship of the Commissioners Courts of Smith and Wood Counties. A local planner, Gary K. Smith, was employed by the Board of Trustees to plan the Center and became its first Executive Director.
In November 1969, the Smith-Wood County Center for Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services began formal operations. The offices were moved from the basement of the Smith County Courthouse to the Bryant Petroleum Building.
In 1974, the County Commissioners Courts of Henderson, Rains, Smith, Van Zandt, and Wood counties contracted to sponsor the Mental Health Mental Retardation Regional Center of East Texas.
A nine-member Board of Trustees was established as the governing body of the Center. Members were appointed by the County Commissioners Courts on the basis of population as follows: three trustees from Smith County; one trustee each from Henderson, Van Zandt, Wood and Rains Counties; two trustees appointed at large. The Board of Trustees established policy and employed the Executive Director to carry out the purpose and policy for which the Center was created.
Following these years of rapid expansion and growth, in March 1978, the Board of Trustees employed Mr. Richard J. DeSanto as Executive Director (now Chief Executive Officer). Mr. DeSanto was employed to assist in the improvement of the quality of care and the completion of a capital improvement plan to establish adequate facilities for operation in each sponsoring county.
The following is a list of the original Board of Trustees, June 1968:
- Jack Jackson, Chair
- M. H. Moore, M.D.
- F. O. Penn
- Earl C. Andrews
- George Pirtle
- Mildred Speights
- Phil Gossett
- Henry Bell, Jr.
- Harold Stringer
Other citizens who have served on the Board are:
Charles L. Childers, W. T. Black, Jr., E.F. Joseph, Mrs. Ann Hall, Mrs. Martha Hunter, Lawrence LaCroix, Reverend Roger Givens, Mr. L. F. Sanders, Mrs. Billie Furrh, Mrs. Mary Lou Moon, Ms. Mary Davis, A. C. McMillan, Mrs. E. B. Long, Mrs. Rebecca Laughlin, Mr. Bobby Sanders, Mrs. Linda Hill, Dan Peacock, Mary Lynn Smith, Tonya Spencer, Joan Brooks, Dr. Richard Groepper, Dr. William Bone, and Mr. Wayne Leake.
Mrs. Mildred Speights served on the Board as Vice-Chairman from 1968 until her retirement in 1985.
Dr. Masters Moore served on the Board from 1968 to 1981. During his 13-year tenure he was personnel committee chair and, as such, was a key player in choosing the distinguished staff that has characterized the Center since its inception.
Mr. Isadore Roosth was appointed to the Board in July 1975, and served as Secretary/Treasurer until his death in July 1992.
Mr. Earl C. Andrews was elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees on August 15, 1973, and was reelected to that capacity each year until his retirement in April 1991.
On May 31, 1991, Richard J. DeSanto, Chief Executive Officer, announced that Earl Andrews had agreed to allow the Center to be renamed “Andrews Center.”