Our History

Central Clinic Behavioral Health (the Clinic) was established in 1923 as the first mental health nonprofit organization in the State of Ohio and one of the only community clinics serving both children and adults. Central Psychiatric Clinic, its original name, received national attention because it provided community-based mental health services for children – a unique approach for treating patients at this time. Today, the organization continues to respond to the Greater Cincinnati community’s needs by providing expert mental health and addiction services.

The Clinic’s first director, Dr. Emerson A. North, led the agency through the initial stages of growth while holding a position as Professor of Psychiatry in the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine. In 1932, the Clinic moved from its downtown location to the UC College of Medicine campus based on a decision by Dr. Raymond Walters, UC President. The collaborative relationship between the University and the Clinic continues today, with Dr. Walter S. Smitson holding the position of Professor of Psychiatry in the UC College of Medicine and also leading Central Clinic Behavioral Health as President & CEO.

Today, there are 11 locations serving a very diverse population. Mental illness knows no boundaries – we serve all ethnicities, individuals, children, and families. We pride ourselves on our inclusionary ethos and accept each person for who they are. Our unique business model – we serve as a training center for social work, counseling and psychology students from local universities, as well as psychiatric residents from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine – produces results. The resident training program is one of the largest in the region and has been awarded Outstanding Quality designations by the American Psychiatric Association.