New year, new Wellness Center: Fresh faces join the center following spring and summer reorganization

The Wellness Center returns with more staff and positions filled heading into the academic year, after a spring and summer of reorganizing.

Jen Ferrell, associate vice president for student engagement, said major changes were seen in the counseling area of the center. “What I found was, rather than having a number of positions that were partially doing one thing, and partially doing counseling, there was opportunity to create some counselor-specific [positions],” Ferrell said.

She noted that in the spring there was only one staff member who had a dedicated counseling position, so expanding dedicated counselors was a goal for the center.

“In an effort to provide more flexibility for counseling, and more staff, we now have four full-time counselors, a training director who also has a part-time counseling piece, and the assistant director of counseling services who’s also able to see folks in a counseling capacity, and then we have five interns,” she said.

Another addition was the hiring of a new medical assistant and a new training director that oversees the internship program for The Wellness Center, according to Ferrell.

Additionally, Amanda Martins, who previously was in a part-time role, is now in a full-time role as a Nurse Practicioner, according to Ferrell.

Despite the blitz of new hires at The Wellness Center, a couple notable positions vacant. Tiffany Matthews, the former coordinator of wellness education, took another opportunity at Antioch University New England over the summer, Farrell said. “I ended up moving that position into the Student Involvement area, to do more connection with risk-management elements with student organizations and do a little more of getting out there into the community,”

Ferrell noted that the search to fill the positon was already underway, and her hope is that it will be filled by the end of the semester.

After former Assistant Director of Emotional Health Programming & Outreach Coordinator of Sexual Violence Prevention Forrest Seymour’s retirement in June, Ferrell said that instead of filling the positon, his responsibilities were redistributed to create other positions. “We’ve ended the three year grant that we had from the Office of Violence Against Women… we have put in for another grant, if we receive that grant, which we’ll find out this fall, [and get] another three year term, we will hire a position using those grant funds,” she explained. “Some of the other elements that Forrest worked with, were incorporated into the newly-created wellbeing programming positon that lives in Student Involvement.”

Another major change in The Wellness Center from the spring was a new director, but a familiar face, after Chief Medical Officer Barbara Berthiaume assumed the duties of director back in the spring, while still retaining the duties of her original role, according to Ferrell. “That occurred at the end of April… she took on a lot of extra responsibilities last year as we had some of those vacancies, and I could tell that she was an exceptional leader… so now she’s in the leadership role for The Wellness Center,” she explained.

Berthiaume said in an interview that the new position brought more insight and opportunities for her at The Wellness Center, “It’s given me a greater opportunity to work across campus and have a better understanding what’s happening more broadly on campus, which then I can bring that down to our department and help gear toward the opportunities that we have to better support students.”

In terms of plans for the future, Berthiaume said integration of the medical and mental health wings was a goal. “We feel that the more we integrate together as a team, the better we can provide holistic care for the students, which is what they need. Oftentimes both mental and physical needs go hand-in-hand so by integrating our department not only in our physical space but by the care that we deliver to students has been very beneficial so far,” she noted.

Berthiaume detailed a list of services and activities being offered currently to students, including a drop-in support and transition group, an upcoming flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinic, monthly Narcan trainings, relaxation breaks, as well as programming for World Mental Health Day and another health fair in the Spring.

“We’re working with key partners across campus such as athletics, community living, and campus safety to coordinate programming that we’re going to run throughout the year with them,” she said.

“We are really excited to be fully staffed and have really positive energy coming into The Wellness Center,” Berthiaume said. “I think the fall is about stability, and getting people onboard and aware of what Keene State is, who our community is, what we’re here for, and we will be very proactive in putting together some more programming in the spring,” she explained.

Nathan Hope can be contacted at

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