Student Health and Wellness Services

November 3, 2016

In May 2016 President Simon charged me and Vice President Maybank to move forward with developing a transformative plan to create a co-located behavioral health wellness network. This charge came about in response to student feedback and concerns expressed over a period of time and broad consensus that our current models of delivering services inhibited our ability to provide the highest quality of care. The President’s charge resulted in the swift formation of an action committee that met frequently throughout the summer.

In conjunction with the action committee’s work, we contracted with Keeling & Associates, a consulting firm which has worked with more than 200 universities across the country addressing similar concerns. They facilitated the action committee’s work and provided feedback throughout the summer. Near the end of August, they assembled a final report based on the discussions and deliberations of the action committee, “Strategy & Recommendations:  Designing a Continuum of Student Health and Wellness Services.” That report is based on and reflects the work of the action committee. An overview of the report is available on both of our office’s websites, at Office of the Provost, Strategy and Recommendations:  Designing a Continuum of Student Health and Wellness Services (PDF), and Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services, Strategy & Recommendations:  Designing a Continuum of Student Health and Wellness Services (PDF). 

The work of the action committee, as reflected in the report, extends beyond behavioral health to designing a continuum of student health and wellness services. As a first step in the process, it provides strategic directions, not a concrete prescription for moving forward. Next steps will include and involve a broad range of members of the MSU community—students, faculty, and staff—and engage them across a number of specific implementation teams. The participation of those teams will be critically important in moving forward. A deliberate commitment to being inclusive will guide the selection of individuals to serve on implementation teams, and final recommendations for implementation must represent a model of practice that is culturally inclusive. Decisions will be shaped by the feedback from consultation. Implementation teams will work over the next year, until fall 2017, when we expect to transition to our new model. We will continue to engage Keeling & Associates during this time period, for their ongoing support and guidance in conjunction with the implementation teams’ evolving work.

During this time period, Dr. David Weismantel has agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness. In this role, he will be working directly with Drs. Scott Becker, Counseling Center Director; Glynda Moorer, MSU Student Health Center Director; and Leigh White, Chief Psychiatrist within Student Health Services, in taking first steps toward integrating a continuum of student health and wellness services. Dr. Weismantel will be assisted by Drs. Karen Klomparens and Gary Anderson, who played key convening roles in the action committee that met this past summer, and who will continue to engage and provide continuity on next steps. While in the Interim Executive Director role, Dr. Weismantel will retain his position as University Physician. A search for the inaugural Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness will take place over the next year.

Our thanks to all who have been involved in this transformative process, and to all who will become involved in the coming year. Our thanks also to the action committee for their swift response to President Simon’s charge and the strategic direction provided by their work this summer. We are confident that the campus community will engage thoughtfully around this important issue as they move forward in implementation teams. Dr. Weismantel will be reaching out in the next few weeks with more information about the various implementation teams being formed in response to the recommendations of the action committee’s report. We look forward to the results of this campus collaboration to design a continuum of student health and wellness services.

Sincerely,

June Pierce Youatt, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Denise B. Maybank, Vice President for Student Affairs and Services