College decides to establish new center for health and wellness

By Michelle Lampariello
News Editor

The College announced its plans to establish a new center for health and wellness on Tuesday, Oct. 31. The center will provide services previously offered at TCNJ Clinic.

“The creation of this center expands the clinical experience and scope of training for students across a range of programs in Education, Nursing, Health and Exercise Science,” said College President R. Barbara Gitenstein in a press release. “It also will emphasize a holistic approach to wellness that recognizes the relationship between mind and body.”

The center will provide education, health and wellness resources to students and community members. Counseling previously conducted at TCNJ Clinic will take place at the new center.

In order to determine both short- and long-term goals for the center, there will be a task force created by Provost Jacqueline Taylor, which will be chaired by Suzanne McCotter, the dean of the School of Education, and Carole Kenner, the dean of the School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science. The task force is also responsible for creating a plan to incrementally incorporate functions of the TCNJ Clinic into the new center, and is expected to analyze what can be accomplished for the spring 2018 semester and the following academic year.

The decision to incorporate TCNJ Clinic’s work into a new health and wellness center follows a self-assessment from the clinic, and reviews by the Department of Counselor Education and outside consultants. The reviews were to determine how effectively the clinic served not only the counseling needs of students and community members, but the demand for graduate students to gain counseling experience.

“The review process, which included input from internal and external stakeholders, provided insight into how we could restructure the services and academic experiences offered to ensure the highest possible quality,” Gitenstein said in the press release. “TCNJ will continue to be a leader in wellness and health promotion through practice, education and community service.”

Gitenstein believes that the new center will support undergraduate students and community members seeking mental health services, as well as graduate students seeking experience in the counseling field, through an integrative approach on both the mind and body.

“By focusing on the whole person, the services will support wellness,” Gitenstein said in a campus-wide email announcing the decision to establish the center. “Services will be available for students, faculty, staff and community members and the center will provide both a space for faculty practice and clinical experience for TCNJ undergraduate and graduate students.”

Students agree that an integrative, holistic approach to physical and mental health is an appropriate method to support wellness on campus.

“I don’t think that some people realize how important these resources are to students on campus, especially last semester when there was talk of taking the clinic away,” said Dominique Pisani, a sophomore psychology major.  “There is definitely a stigma surrounding psychology. … From what I know, I think (the new center) is a good idea to build it up and make it a better place for students and other people to be able to comfortably go when they need help.”