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Reflecting on Trevor Hall’s (’00) early college years, NNU Chair of the Department of Psychology Dr. Glena Andrews recalls, “Trevor was very interested in and very skilled in snowboarding, and at times, coursework came second. This priority changed during his later years at NNU.”

Fast-forward eight years to 2008 when Trevor returned to campus as the keynote speaker at NNU’s Psychology Research Forum. At the time, he was conducting research on the correlation between autism and cholesterol metabolism at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Parents at the forum shared their struggles with local care, and the discussion weighed heavy on his heart. It wasn’t long afterward that Trevor received a job offer from a group wanting to start an integrated care clinic in Boise.

Trevor at the clinic

"We are a resource and a checkpoint for families as they develop community ties and meet the developmental challenges of home, school, the community and the workplace," Trevor explains.

Trevor, Psy.D., moved his wife, Carrie, and two boys, Jadon and Ian, to Boise, but by December 2008, the clinic was failing. “Seeing the writing on the wall, I filed paperwork with the State of Idaho to bring Northwest Neurobehavioral Health (NNH) into existence,” Trevor says.

“All along I had maintained my faculty position at OHSU so the temptation to go ‘home’ was great. My thoughts swirled with, What am I going to do? I am not cut out to be in private practice. Did God really call us here? This is when I felt like Peter—I had jumped out of the boat and was starting to sink,” Trevor shares. “I was also reminded of how in the early church there was often a pattern—first the call, second the resistance, third the perseverance and then fourth the blessing.”

Enter Jeff Hall (’01) and his wife Rebekah Ponsford-Hall (’01). The couple had recently moved back to the Boise Valley to complete Jeff’s pre-doctoral internship and Rebekah’s post-doctoral fellowship at a Boise counseling center run by the Children’s Home Society of Idaho (CHS). It was this connection that would allow NNH to take its next step toward formation.

Jeff and Trevor were close friends during their undergraduate years at NNU and began meeting weekly to discuss “geek speak”—their term for theology and science. As the two shared life, Trevor’s desire to develop a multidisciplinary clinic connected with Jeff’s interest in autism from his time working in home therapy. Eventually this led Jeff to introduce Trevor to the board of directors at CHS.

The board decided to fund the integrated clinic for the first year, but by spring 2010, it was apparent that CHS could not support the project anymore, and the clinic faced closing its doors. It was then that these two NNU psychology graduates and seven other clinicians bought into NNH, LLC as partners. Together they are changing the way complex care is given to children in the Boise Valley with developmental, emotional and behavioral differences like autism spectrum, anxiety, mood, impulse control and central nervous system disorders.

Trevor explains, “The power of an integrated program is the communication and collaboration available within person-centered therapies, and psychological and medical interventions. We are a resource and a checkpoint for families as they develop community ties and meet the developmental challenges of home, school, the community and the workplace.”

Just over two years after its formation, NNH, LLC is a premier diagnostic and treatment center that combines under one roof the expertise of a number of practitioners with specialties ranging from subspecialty medical care to occupational therapy. NNH practices state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures that allow for a multi-layered look at a person’s biological, neurobehavioral and individual skills. Ultimately, the team aims to offer evidence-based therapy and medical services to improve patient functioning and quality of life.

“I tell parents I care about the diagnosis, but what I really care about is what’s next—the ‘what do we do from here,’” says Jeff Hall, Ph.D. and licensed clinical psychologist. He expands on the favorite part of his job: “It’s that moment when parents see their kids as God created them to be.”

His wife Rebekah works part-time as a licensed psychologist at NNH. She shares, “I can’t separate my faith from what I do and the way I encourage people to help themselves. I feel like what I do is God’s work because I’m helping my patients to know themselves better, repair relationships and practice communication, patience, love and understanding.”

Jeff continues, “I see what I do as a nontraditional ministry. Caring for people in their times of hurt and brokenness is active participation in Christ’s redemption of the world—His redemption of creation. My role in that is being with families in their suffering.”

It is clear that perseverance has paid off. God is working through the hearts and expertise of the clinicians at NNH and is pouring out His blessings. In return, NNH is blessing the children it helps, the families that support those children and the community’s health systems. Their example of going beyond the standard of care in their field is truly “a more excellent way.”

MORE ON NNH

NNH’s multidisciplinary clinic model is catching on fast, leading to substantial growth. In just two years, NNH has expanded available services and nearly doubled the number of office visits. Today the number of professional clinicians has grown from 13 to 33, and the clinic maintains research collaborations with Oregon Health & Science University, Harvard Mass General and the Center for Disease Control to name a few.

“NNH is the gold standard of diagnosis autism spectrum disorders,” Dr. Glena Andrews explains. “Trevor, Jeff and Rebekah along with a very capable team of professionals are providing evaluations of children that go beyond the standard of care in their fields. They are demonstrating ‘the more excellent way’ of assessment for these children and their families.”

The “golden standard” she refers to is NNH’s Autism Spectrum Disorders Diagnostic Clinic—an intensive, all-day screening by a multi-disciplinary team of specialists. Children are observed and assessed in physical/neurological wellbeing, cognitive development, motor abilities and behavioral adjustment along with their social, play and

communication skills. This early intervention provides families with a comprehensive evaluation and day-of recommendations on how to move forward with a treatment plan.

Beyond working with their patients, NNH aims to fundamentally change the systems of care provided by the state to improve patient care beyond their facility. Partnerships with outside agencies like the Disability Counsel and the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (URLEND) program are the first steps of this movement. Jeff trains other professionals through URLEND, a network that trains future leaders in healthcare and health policy from five rural states (Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota).

Trevor remains on staff at OHSU as an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics maintaining his research program from here in Idaho; he has also consulted in Africa and to the government of Saudi Arabia about how to effectively recognize and treat Autism Spectrum Disorders. Trevor and Jeff both lead training seminars at various times throughout the year. ■

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