Profile: New Student Health Director

Denise Hayes began her job as the new director of Student Health Services on July 13, overseeing the Claremont Colleges’ several health departments. She came from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., where she was the director of student health and counseling.Hayes said she is excited about working in a consortium of colleges with almost three times the student population of DePauw.“I was director of student health and counseling there… [and] this was a wonderful opportunity to continue doing what I was doing, but to have more of a challenge,” she said.Hayes studied received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington, but was not sure she wanted to work in higher education until she interned at the clinic in Bloomington’s School of Education, and thoroughly enjoyed her experience. Now, Hayes said, she cannot imagine working for a bigger hospital or in the “corporate world.”“There are so many rewards… There’s a certain kind of energy on a college campus… free-thinking, seeking knowledge, cultural richness. Working with college-age students keeps me current,” she said.Hayes’s first undertaking in Claremont recreates a project she oversaw at DePauw to integrate the myriad health services offered by the colleges. She will form committees with members of Health Education Outreach, Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services, and Student Health Services to address issues such as the emergency preparedness plan and the creation of a user-friendly and informative Web site.The H1N1 virus presents a major challenge for Student Health at the moment. Hayes said that once flu season hits, the illness will probably be more widespread than it has been in the past, because H1N1 is more contagious than other strains.“The difference between H1N1 and the seasonal flu is [that] they don’t know if or how [the virus] might change,” Hayes said.But since the virus is not more virulent, she is not significantly concerned. She said Student Health stays current with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.“All you can do is to educate and be prepared, and I feel like we’re really on top of that,” Hayes said.

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