At Cape Fear Clinic, we attribute much of our success to the hard work of smart people. After all, we aren’t able to provide the services we do at such a bargain to the community without strong support from people who believe in our mission. For years, Dr. Antonio Puente has been one of those integral to what we do. We are excited to see he is getting the recognition he deserves as the 2017 president of the American Psychological Association (APA).
Puente started with Cape Fear Clinic (CFC) as a Spanish interpreter when we were still known as the Tileston Clinic. He quickly determined the need for our patients to receive mental health care, so he founded our mental health practice in 2004. While many free and charitable clinics do not have the resources to offer this service, CFC has been fortunate to develop a nationally recognized program under Puente’s leadership. He remains the volunteer co-director of mental health services to this day.
Over the past decade, Puente has been instrumental in guiding and growing our program. In 2004, we provided fewer than 100 appointments, but since 2010, we have been able to provide almost 5,000 mental health appointment slots. In its more than 10 years of operations, our mental health program has helped more than 1,000 people. What Puente has helped us do has been impacting our area in a very real way.
Born in La Habana, Cuba, he received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Florida and his graduate degrees from the University of Georgia. He has held positions as a clinical psychologist at a large teaching psychiatric hospital, a professor of neuroanatomy at a medical school, and a professor of psychology in a department of psychology.
Currently, Puente is a professor of psychology at UNC Wilmington and maintains a private practice limited to clinical neuropsychology (ranging from clinical inpatient and outpatient services to forensic assessments). He holds appointments as visiting professor at the Universidad de Granada (Spain), UCLA and UNC Chapel Hill.
He has authored more than eight books, 74 book chapters, 97 journal articles (in English, Spanish and Russian) and has given approximately 400 presentations.
During his tenure as founder and volunteer co-director of our program, his commitment to and leadership in making mental health services available to all has been proven to be impressive.
As Puente told the APA, "Psychology is the only viable discipline in position to provide an integrative care model wherein all health-care disciplines collaborate to produce better outcomes at lower costs. The initial step is to erase the divide between physical and mental health, all the while buttressing our efforts in mental health. Psychology will be the catalyst for integrative health care."
To truly practice and offer integrative health care to our patients, our trilingual (English, Spanish and Portuguese) program in mental health offers the following services to patients: individual counseling, marital counseling, family counseling, addiction counseling, counseling for medically related issues (such as weight loss and smoking cessation), and medication management.
We are uniquely positioned to provide such opportunities in accordance with our ongoing mission to reach those who otherwise might not have access to counseling. As with all our programs, our charity-care qualified patients do not have any form of health insurance or government health assistance and have incomes of no more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. CFC serves all without regard to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
So please join us in congratulating Puente on his election while also thanking him for his ongoing dedication to our region through his work at Cape Fear Clinic.
Photo by Mark Steelman, c/o Greater Wilmington Business Journal
Cape Fear Clinic, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was founded in 1991 as Tileston Health Clinic, Inc. and provides health care to those in our community who would otherwise be unable to access care. The clinic serves charitable patients who do not have health insurance and have incomes of no more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, and those with Medicaid. For more information please visit capefearclinic.org or contact us at (910) 343-8736.
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