Growing up in rural Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 1990s, Chad Lorenz ’04, ’06 MA, ’10 PsyD, ’14 MBA and his wife, Colleen Lorenz ’04, ’18 MBA, were acutely aware of the lack of access to quality health care, especially in the area of mental health. When the couple originally met in Stevens County, Minnesota, in the early 2000s, there were only two psychotherapists for the whole county, and local lore was that the only psychiatrist in town actually flew himself in from “the Cities” once each month to treat patients.
Those early experiences led Chad to found Lorenz Clinic of Family Psychology in 2011 in Victoria, Minnesota, after working as a therapist at numerous Twin Cities-based clinics. Lorenz Clinic since has expanded to additional locations in the Twin Cities suburbs Chaska, Prior Lake and Rosemount. Thanks to telehealth, however, Lorenz Clinic professionals now serve clients from 250 communities across the entire state, including many rural areas as far north as Grand Marais and as far south as Fairmont. They see more than 1,500 different families each month. Just since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Lorenz Clinic employees has nearly doubled from 40 to 77.
“The clinic was founded on the idea that the vast majority of psychological problems are due to injuries that are relational in nature, so the therapy should be relational in nature as well,” Chad, the organization’s CEO, said. “To sum it up, the problem isn’t inside of people. So much of the health care system is focused on treating symptoms; we try to treat problems.”
Since its founding, Lorenz Clinic has transitioned from primarily an outpatient psychotherapy clinic to a vertically integrated center offering a range of services, including in-home and in-office weekly therapy; psychological testing; psychiatric medication management; and day treatment.
Fifty-two St. Thomas alumni have become Lorenz Clinic employees over the years to meet the growing demand the business has experienced for its mental health services. Colleen joined the organization in 2013 as chief operating officer after working in salon and spa management. Dr. Matthew Syzdek ’16 MBA started as chief clinical officer in December 2020.
To effectively manage growth, Chad and Colleen completed the Health Care MBA degree program in Opus College of Business. Syzdek is an alumnus of the program as well.
“Colleen and I went back to business school partly out of a sense of responsibility to the people that we were working with, but also there was a lot of change happening in health care at the time,” Chad said. “[In the program] we encountered people who had a systemic view of the world. One of my mentors in that program, former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger, had an uncanny way of showing how interconnected the world is and applying the ethereal concepts we were all learning to the micro level.”
The couple have leaned on learnings from their Health Care MBA degrees to successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the secondary pandemics of mental health and chemical dependency issues.
“Being in mental health in a situation that is so unknown for a lot of people – there’s a lot of stress, there are people losing their jobs, there are people who are food insecure – we definitely saw the need for mental health services increase exponentially. The demand for services is stronger than ever,” Colleen said.
As part of the organization’s two-year plan, Lorenz Clinic already had plans in 2020 for new locations and additional services. In Rosemount, for instance, Lorenz Clinic moved into a new 11,000-square-foot building that opened last December.
“I’m not sure that I knew what leadership was until COVID-19,” Chad said. “Watching different layers of leadership act in specific ways and how they impacted us all at the micro level really spurred me into action and showed me the need for decision. There’s no question that the secondary pandemics are very real and troubling, and probably will have a much longer-lasting impact on society than COVID – certainly in children and family development.”
Lorenz Clinic plans to continue to expand to meet client needs, actively pursuing the Lorenz duo’s mission of expanding access to quality health care.