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 Gándara Center was first housed in a storefront on Main Street in Springfield and then on the Mercy Hospital campus on Carew Street. In 1982, when the center opened an outpatient clinic on Main Street, it was the only agency in the area spe- cifically providing culturally sensitive care to the Hispanic community.
In the early years, Gándara’s first executive director, Dr. Philip Guzman, laid the foundation for what the agency would later become. In 1982, Dr. Henry East-Trou joined the team as a supervisor for the agency’s psychiatric day treatment program. At the time, Gándara had just one Springfield loca- tion and approximately 50 staff to house all of resi- dential, outpatient, and substance-use programs. Over the years, the agency secured numerous con- tacts and grants, expanded services, created addi- tional programs, and increased staff size.
In 1989, when East-Trou began shepherding Gándara Center through an unprecedented era of growth as executive director, the agency employed 100 people and served approximately 2,000 individuals.
After 30 years of service, East-Trou retired in May 2019. Throughout his tenure, he further
expanded the agency and its services, which by that time offered behavioral-health, substance-use, prevention, and educational services to more than 40 communities throughout the Common- wealth, employed more than 900 staff, and served nearly 13,000 adults, children, and families from all backgrounds.
In 2020, Nesci joined the agency and assumed the role of CEO, bringing experience working with individuals from all races and ethnic backgrounds. In her time at the agency, she has led several relocation projects, program expansions, and agency-wide accredi- tation from the Council on Accreditation.
Today, around 1,100 Gándara employees serve more than 17,000 clients at more than 100 locations.
“We have a full complement of behavioral-health services deliv-
“We’re in communities where people live. We’re accessible and very visible. We provide the linguistic ability to meet people where they’re at, and
the staff reflects the population we serve.”
  Gándara’s foster care program has been placing youth in temporary, safe, therapeutic home environments for more than 30 years.
included needs in both the Hispanic and African-American com- munities. This funding strengthened the city’s mental-health ser- vices and aided the Gándara Center, whch was named after Dr. José Gándara Cartagena, a prominent physician and public servant from Puerto Rico who dedicated his life to providing services for those who could not afford medical care. He also advocated for urban renewal, especially the construction of much-needed new public housing.
Outpatient Mental Health Wellness Fair
Join us at Gándara Outpatient Clinic in Springfield on May 14th for our Mental Health Wellness Fair!
Explore a variety of bilingual and bicultural counseling services tailored for individuals, couples, and families. This event features mental health screenings with immediate referrals and appointments available for therapists, recovery coaches, case managers, and more.
Don’t miss our Project Health team offering free HIV tests and educational sessions. Plus, our CCBHC Program will provide insights into nutrition with tasty smoothie samples. Learn about our innovative treatment for depression— Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). This FDA-approved, noninvasive option is available for those where standard therapies have not succeeded.
Visit us at 2155 Main St, Springfield, MA, and discover comprehensive support for your mental health needs
1-877-733-4187 | www.gandaracenter.org
Where We Celebrate.
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