Administration updates health center leadership team

This year, the College split the director of the health center position into four separate roles including co-directors of counseling services, director of medical services and director of administrative services.

These changes come in the wake of Ruth Harrison’s retirement, over the summer, from her role as director of the health center after 17 years spent working for the College. Vice President for Campus Life Stephen Klass was responsible for deciding to change the leadership structure of the health center and for executing this transition.

“Her [Harrison’s] title, director of the health center, of course, didn’t fully define the many roles that her position grew to encompass over that time, nor the ways in which the Center had evolved in response to the rapidly changing landscape of healthcare nationally and on college campuses,” Klass said.

According to Deb Flynn, who started working at the College in 2006 and will now serve as director of medical services, the number of visits to the health center has increased over the years. Angie Marano, the new director of administrative services, said the health center should develop a wellness aspect in addition to caring for sick students.

“As the number of visits and the volume and complexity continues to grow, we have to have people focus on the clinical aspects of the program,” Marano said

“These ongoing changes and challenges continue to take place across multiple dimensions – physical health, mental health and the increasing complexity of all of the administrative, legal and logistical aspects of supporting front-line clinicians in their patient care work,” Klass said, “At the same time, the Williams student body is changing along similar dimensions, and, as students themselves have articulated so eloquently in recent years, they arrive on campus with a host of complex and dynamic needs for support from student health services.”

Marano, the only member of the health services team new to the College, worked for more than 20 years in administrative roles in hospitals and healthcare systems, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer for Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. 

Flynn served as nurse practitioner for eight years at the College after working in primary care pediatrics in Pittsfield and in the Berkshire Medical Center emergency room.

Dr. John Miner and Margi Wood will continue to serve as the co-directors of counseling services but will now report directly to Klass.

Miner joined the health center in 1997, immediately after working in a private practice in Lenox and providing clinical care in various mental health agencies in the Berkshires. Since joining the Williams community, he has also worked extensively with regional and national organizations that support college health and mental health.

Wood has worked for the College since 1993 after beginning her career with clinical social work at Bennington College in 1986.

“So far, the collaboration and collegiality has been great,” Flynn said. “It allows us to focus on the things we are designed to do.”

According to Marano,  the leadership team is starting to have important conversations about strategic planning about the future of the health center. Both Marano and Flynn said these new roles will allow the health center to continue expanding its reach and available services.

Additionally, one of the major projects that the health center is currently undergoing is the conversion of paper files to an electronic medical records system. Other ongoing projects include adding another therapist, increasing social media presence, developing the new non-emergencytransportation system, expanding connections with regional medical providers and hospitals and other long-range plans. Flynn says the center is also moving increasingly towards appointment-based service, as opposed to walk-in service.

“This alleviates the wait in the waiting room and we are better able to provide care on a quicker basis,” Flynn said.

“We want to expand outside of our walls,” Marano said, “This includes health fairs, flu clinics and nutritional assessments, because although this is a great facility, it isn’t always where we want to do everything.”