What is the Andrews Center?

The Andrews Center is a nonprofit community mental health and mental retardation center established by law as a local governmental entity in accordance with the provisions of the Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 7, Section 534, Subchapter A. The Center is named for Earl C. Andrews, one of the leading citizens of Tyler, Texas, who helped found the Center in 1966. June 4, 1968 the contract was signed with Smith County Commissioners Court which legally put the Center in place. Earl Andrews served 25 years, 20 as Chairman of the Board. The Center is governed by a nine-member board of community leaders appointed by the commissioners’ courts of the five counties it serves.

The Center operates a variety of programs and services for persons with mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities. Andrews Center serves individuals and their families from 25 different service locations including, outpatient clinics, day training and rehabilitation facilities, manufacturing plants and group homes. Andrews Center has more than 400 employees including Psychiatrists (M.D.), Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Licensed Professional Counselors, (LPC), Social Workers (LCSW), Psychiatric Nurses (B.S.N., R.N.), Behavioral Therapists and other professional and paraprofessional specialists. Revenues the Center generates annually are derived from more than 30 different sources including contracts with state agencies, federal grants, contracts with managed care and insurance companies, local industry, patient fees and insurance.

The Andrews Center Behavioral Healthcare System is a recognized leader in this industry locally and at the state and national level. It is recognized for quality care and management. Several of its programs are considered models across the state.


The Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration established a federal definition and criteria for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). These entities, a new provider type in Medicaid, are designed to provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services to vulnerable individuals. In return, CCBHCs receive an enhanced Medicaid reimbursement rate based on their anticipated costs of expanding services to meet the needs of these complex populations.

We are happy to announce that as of August 1, 2020 the Andrews Center is officially recognized as a CCBHC!

Andrews Center History

Andrews Center (formerly Mental Health Mental Retardation Regional Center of East Texas) was originally established on June 4, 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, Mary Lookadoo, Dennis Murphy, 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.”

Board of Trustees Meeting

Information for the next Board of Trustees Meeting can be found by clicking Here

Andrews Center is committed to providing appropriate, effective and efficient mental health and intellectual and developmental disability services. We:

Focus on the treatment and care needs of individuals and their families.

Protect the rights of privacy, dignity, due process and humane treatment.

Are responsive to local values and attitudes.

Understand that each person served is a fellow human being.

Board of Trustees – FY 2023

Board of Trustees Officers

  • Chair – Keith Youngblood
  • Vice Chair – Dr. Beverly Waddleton
  • Secretary/Treasurer – Mary Hall

Board Members

  • Place 1 – Smith County
    Ms. Brittney Nichols
  • Place 2 – Smith County
    Mr. Keith Youngblood
  • Place 3 – Smith County
    Mr. Richard Blake
  • Place 4 – Wood County
    Dr. Beverly Waddleton
  • Place 5 – Henderson County
    Mr. Arlis Jones
  • Place 6 – Van Zandt County
    Judge Andy Reese
  • Place 7 – Rains County
    Ms. Mary Hall
  • Place 8 – At Large
    Lt. John Shoemaker (Smith County)
  • Place 9 – At-Large
    Ms. JoAnn Hampton (Smith County)

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.

Mission and Values

Andrews Center provides and coordinates high-quality integrated healthcare services to the East Texas community to achieve independence and well-being.

Promoting hope, growth and positive change for the lives of our community today and beyond!


  • Recognize and affirm the dignity and worth of each individual
  • Seek the best in others; demand it from ourselves
  • Seek character, competence, and caring
  • Take care of each other
  • Value ethics, honesty, and integrity