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Health Center Director Tapped for Top Post at State College Health Association

kathleen camelo

The SUNY Plattsburgh director of the Student Health and Counseling Center, Dr. Kathleen Camelo, has been appointed to the presidency of the New York State College Health Association.

The NYSCHA serves as the voice for student health and wellness.

“We look for information, guidelines, prevention, health education, counseling, the latest standards and best practices,” Camelo said. “We look at some of the most pertinent issues in college health, prioritize them and come up with a strategic plan that can assist college health professionals.”

Camelo is no stranger to the state association. She’s been active for five years; her presidency is a two-year term, which will allow her to implement some of the initiatives she and her board decide will be beneficial to college health care.

Finger on Pulse of College Health Care

“We are an affiliate of the American College Health Association,” she said. “We’ll look at the ACHA and at our affiliate and others and see how we can provide similar services to our colleagues in SUNY and at the private colleges.”

"In this position, Dr. Camelo is a part of statewide conversations at the forefront of college health," said Bryan Hartman, vice president for enrollment and student success. "She brings that back to campus and it benefits us greatly."

Her work at the state level will help her keep a finger on the pulse of college health care but also on issues that affect SUNY and other colleges in New York. She meets with state officials and representatives on matters that affect colleges and universities in New York.

In addition to her presidency at the state level, Camelo was asked to serve on the strategic planning committee for the ACHA. She will travel to Maryland at the end of March to meet with representatives from that committee.

“We have carefully chosen people to be a part of the strategic planning task force who bring a broad perspective and represent a cross section of disciplines and regions and believe you are a perfect person for this work,” said Dr. Jessica Higgs, ACHA vice president and director of health services and team physician at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., in her letter of recommendation.

“We’ll discuss where the ACHA needs to focus for next year,” Camelo said. She also serves on the SUNY-wide mental health care task force.

“We’re working to come up with ideas, best practices, and resources. There are about five different committees with some 45 people. We will eventually make recommendations to the SUNY Board of Trustees. It’s been the best task force I’ve ever worked on at SUNY,” she said.

Mental Health Issues at Forefront

Being on the task force will benefit SUNY Plattsburgh as well. Camelo identified student mental health issues “at the forefront, in terms of how to address the increasing needs our students have in this area.”

A board certified family practitioner, Camelo has overseen the evolution of the Student Health and Counseling Center, which were two separate entities when she arrived on campus 26 years ago.

“We’ve gotten the clinic up to date; we are always re-evaluating, prioritizing, strategizing,” she said. “We’ve become a mini health center. We have our own lab, dispensary.” She also integrated the health center with counseling in 2001, long before it was the norm.

“We take a holistic approach to health care, caring for our students’ minds and bodies,” she said.

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