Dr. Ellen Larson has been appointed as the new Director of Colgate University Student Health Services. Effective June 1, former Director of Health Services Dr. Merrill Miller will shift roles to serve as University Physician, Student Health Services Director Emerita, and Adjunct Professor of Health Sciences. The changes to the Student Health Services staff were announced in a university-wide email from Vice President and Dean of the College Paul McLoughlin on May 26.
Larson, who graduated from the university in 1994, described her new role as one focused on ensuring the quality of care Student Health Services provides and the wellbeing of all students at the university.
“[I monitor] the services we provide, how we provide them, assuring that we’re providing high quality services and testing,” Larson said. “[I also look at] where there may be opportunities to do things differently or to provide different services, and leading the health services in all of those ways.”
Miller, known as “Doc” by many at the university, has co-taught classes throughout her time with Health Services and helped lead study groups in the health sciences. She will be adding an emphasis on sports medicine and outdoor education in her new position, she told the Maroon-News.
“I have a couple different titles,” Miller said. “I’ll be Director of Student Health Services Emerita, and I will continue to be University Physician. […] I’ll be in the Emerita role for sort of like the day-to-day things that happen at the Student Health Center, but yet […] work on all the additional special projects that we go ahead and do. So that has to do with travel.”
Miller explained that in addition to working with the Student Health Center, her title as University Physician allows her to care for the university community at large, including faculty and staff.
Sophomore Alexa Limm noted her fondness for Miller and Larson and the Student Health Center’s level of care when she fell ill during her first year.
“When I had the flu [the Health Center] tested me immediately and were super friendly and helpful,” Limm said. “They emailed my dean […] to let him know I was sick.”
Dr. Larson explained that she looks forward to being able to interact with students more this year.
“I’m really looking forward to engaging with students and working with students to figure out how Student Health Services can serve them better,” Larson said. “I want to keep doing what we’re doing well and look at things we can do better.”
Dr. Miller elaborated on the reasoning behind these changes to staffing, explaining that because of all of the projects being done by the Health Services department, the university wants to ensure consistent quality care for students, and this requires additional help.
“We need additional help to go ahead and do all of the projects. We want to […] do for our students as well as the community,” Miller said.
As Dean McLoughlin’s May 26 email reads, “Colgate has been fortunate nearly beyond words” to have both Dr. Larson and Dr. Miller servicing the Colgate community, and these changes will ensure continued quality care and devotion from Student Health Services for years to come.
News Editor Sophie Mack contributed to this article.