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Henry Roane at the new Golisano Center for Special Needs.

Henry Roane, PhD, named executive director of new Golisano Center for Special Needs

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital has named an executive director for the new Golisano Center for Special Needs, which is scheduled to open in early February 2021.

Henry Roane, PhD, a professor of pediatrics and division chief of the Center for Development, Behavior and Genetics at Upstate will serve as executive director of the center, which was announced in the fall of 2019. The center will provide comprehensive, coordinated and scientifically based medical and behavioral care for children and adolescents with many types of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The center will create a centralized framework of services to increase collaboration resulting in better patient care.

Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano donated $3 million to the Upstate Foundation and the foundation is working to raise an additional $3 million during the next two years.

Establishing the Golisano Center for Special Needs will allow Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital to serve more children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The center should also be able to serve those children and families much faster than before, said Roane, noting that a diagnosis can take two years and a treatment plan can take another 22 months or more to implement.

Gregory Conners, MD, executive director of the children’s hospital and a member of the Upstate Foundation’s campaign leadership committee for the center, selected Roane as executive director.

“Dr. Roane will be an outstanding director of the Golisano Center for Special Needs and I was honored to be able to appoint him to that position,” Conners said. “Dr. Roane has been advocating at Upstate for additional and more streamlined services for children and families for many years. We are very lucky to be able to work with the Upstate Foundation and Mr. Golisano to provide this incredible, multi-disciplinary resource for our patients, which is going to transform access to care for a large portion of New York state, as well as enhance our educational and research contributions.”

Roane has worked at Upstate since 2009. In addition to serving as division chief of Development, Behavior and Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics, he also serves as the chair of the Behavior Analysis Studies program in the College of Health Professions at Upstate Medical University. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Louisiana State University and earned his doctorate in psychology from there in 2000. He previously worked at The Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore and the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Omaha, Nebraska.

Roane has been involved in nearly every aspect of planning for the new center, which will be located on the third floor of Madison-Irving Medical Center at 475 Irving Ave., Syracuse. As part of planning to open in early February, the center has hired additional staff to expand capacity and services, Roane said. The center will be able to provide children and families more of a “one-stop-shop” resources for services and treatment options.  

“Sometimes people don’t think about a service until they need it and then they’re really glad it’s there,” he said. “It’s the same thing for kids with special needs. When a family needs services they need such a level of intensity and such a level of wraparound services it quickly becomes overwhelming to them. By developing this centralized program and growing these clinical models, that will allow us to see more kids, more quickly and that will be better for the community.”

The center will continue to serve a 22-county area in New York state. The new center will expand existing services such as the Inclusive Fitness and Adaptive Design Program and the Family Behavior Analysis Program to name a few.

“One of the things that will be really important is the integration across providers,” Roane said. “Having your doctors all co-located is a nice thing for families.”

The Upstate Foundation will begin promoting its fundraising efforts for the center to the community in 2021, said Julie Galler Simms, development director and campaign manager for The Upstate Foundation.

“One of the major priorities of the fundraising campaign is to support the hiring of additional staff, ”Galler Simms said. “The critical need to provide assessments, services and treatment plans for families more quickly resonated with the Upstate Foundation. Because of fundraising efforts to date, eight new positions have been funded. That need also inspired Tom Golisano to make a second generous gift to the Upstate Foundation and the children of this community and beyond.”

The Central New York community generously supported Upstate’s efforts in building the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital 11 years ago and she’s confident it will support the center as well. 

“This community is just amazing,” she said. “Our Upstate family and the broader community really embrace the Upstate Foundation’s efforts, particularly when the cause is centered around children and families.”

Caption: Henry Roane, PhD, stands in the new Golisano Center for Special Needs, which is under construction and expected to open in February 2021.