A new Health and Wellness unit will be created under the Office of the Provost and will include SHS and CAPS. Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett announced the decision in a University-wide email Tuesday.
Both Student Health Service and Counseling and Psychological Services were previously under the purview of the Vice Provost for University Life. Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé, who oversees the two services, will be appointed as an associate provost. Dubé said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian that the reorganization is an internal change designed to allow better collaboration between services.
“This announcement should not create any change to the day-to-day experience that students had with their services,” Dubé said.
The changes come two months after the death of former CAPS Executive Director Gregory Eells. Dubé has been helping lead CAPS since Eells’ death, Penn spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy wrote in an email to the DP in September. Dubé said while these changes came after Eells' death, the creation of the Health and Wellness unit has been in the works since the Chief Wellness Officer position was established in spring 2018.
The new structure will create “more effective partnerships” with Human Resources’ work-life balance programs, Gutmann and Pritchett wrote in their email to the Penn community.
“At the same time, the new organization will be streamlined to give our outstanding clinicians more time to focus on their work in health and wellness, reducing the amount of time they spend on administration,” Gutmann and Pritchett wrote.
“This reconceived structure will help us to better understand and to promote wellness as a holistic, multi-dimensional process,” Gutmann and Pritchett wrote in the email.
Gutmann and Pritchett wrote the program will integrate the Health and Wellness services with the College Houses, New Student Orientation, and the other branches under the Provost’s Office
“This reorganization is really a demonstration of how important and what a priority health and wellness is,” Dubé said.
Deputy News Editor Ashley Ahn contributed reporting.