July 30, 2020
Dear Members of the Wright State University Board of Trustees:
I’m writing to you as President of the Dayton Area Psychological Association (DAPA) to express the concern of DAPA members about the closing of the Ellis Human Development Institute, a doctoral psychology training and clinical services facility of Wright State’s School of Professional Psychology (SOPP).
Ellis Institute, located on Dayton’s west side, has provided low cost behavioral health services for more than 30 years. Ellis has stood as part of the SOPPs 40+ year commitment to provide training to increase the number and diversity of doctoral level psychologists in Ohio. Many local doctors of psychology are proud graduates of SOPP, have served at Ellis Institute, and continue to serve their local Dayton area clients.
It has now come to our attention that the Ellis Institute has been closed, faculty and staff have been moved out, and some have lost their jobs. Early reports of a temporary closing related to COVID-19 issues have now turned into plans for permanent closure. Ellis has recently noted on its website that it “…is no longer providing behavioral health services.” https://psychology.wright.edu › ellis-human-development-institute
A Dayton Business Journal article on June 23 reported that the Ellis building will be vacated, “… and associated academic operations will be moving back to campus.” Additionally, SOPP just this week announced the closing of its nationally accredited doctoral internship program formerly hosted at Ellis.
As recently as January 2020, it was reported to the Dayton Business Journal that a proposed $1.4 million improvement project was planned by WSU at Ellis, as a “comprehensive series of upgrades to one of its most-used buildings.”
Page Two- Closing of the Ellis Human Development Institute
Notwithstanding the financial challenges recently experienced by Wright State, the closing of the Ellis Institute seems ill-advised at this time. This closing, along with the recently announced plan to fold SOPP into a combined health college, and to halt their doctoral internship program, calls into question the commitment of Wright State and SOPP to continue to provide important psychology doctoral training and needed local behavioral health services, especially for the underserved area of west Dayton.
The closing of the Ellis Institute is particularly unfortunate in light of several current and continuing concerns:
1) the increasing need for mental health services, especially related to such things as stressors related to COVID-19 and the opioid crisis, particularly in underserved areas of Dayton; and
2) draconian cuts like this signal an apparent dilution of the commitment by WSU to continue to provide psychology doctoral training, and call into question the ability of WSU to maintain full certification of its psychology doctoral program by national accreditation bodies.
We seek your assurance that Wright State will commit to continue providing quality training for a diverse student body of doctoral psychology students, and to continue to provide important local behavioral health services, especially in underserved parts of the Dayton area. The members of the Dayton Area Psychological Association stand ready to work with Wright State officials to achieve these goals. I can be reached at 937-428-0724, should you wish to discuss this further.
Dennis O’Grady, Psy.D., President
Dayton Area Psychological Association www.daytonpsych.org
Hon. Mike DeWine, Governor, State of Ohio
Hon. Fred Strahorn, State Representative, OH District 39
Hon. Nan Whaley, Mayor, City of Dayton
Jim Bebbington, Editor, Dayton Daily News
Derrick Foward, President, Dayton NAACP
Dr. Susan Edwards, President, WSU
Dr. LaTrelle Jackson, Interim Dean, SOPP
Dr. Brian Rigling, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science
Jim Otte, WHIO-TV