Dear Campus Community:

Shortly before the end of the Winter term, two of our staff counselors at Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS), Laura Van Cleve and Kunal Sachdev, resigned from their positions with the College.

In light of their departure, as well as changing expectations from students and families about campus healthcare, and the complexity of offering such services, it is an opportune time to evaluate our options for future delivery of student care.

With this goal in mind, I have asked members of my senior staff to study the alternatives, which include both College-run options and the possibility of forming a relationship with the Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) to provide the needed services. We intend to make a decision on the best option before the school year begins. As a physician and college president, I want our students to have the best care so they can get the most from their education.

No decision will be made until we thoroughly consider both options. But there are good reasons to consider our alternatives. The specialized nature of healthcare services, among other factors, has already prompted many peer schools to partner with local healthcare professionals. There are also valid reasons to consider continuing to provide care through College channels, including the SHACS staff's exclusive focus on our students' needs. I have instructed that the assessment thoroughly consider the risks and benefits of both choices, including impact on such factors as quality and breadth of care; confidentiality; and holistic student support. 

As we consider possible solutions, we will do so with the twofold goal of 1) delivering equal or better service to our students; and 2) offering members of the SHACS team an opportunity to transition to equivalent employment with the Medical Center, if we decide to partner with GRMC.

SHACS staff were privately informed of this study in advance, and my staff will continue to work with them throughout the process. I am grateful to everyone at SHACS for their deep commitment to our students, and we want to help them through this period of uncertainty.

During my time at the College, Grinnellians have asked me to make sure the College provides a high standard of healthcare for all our students. I would like to hear your thoughts on how we can best do so. I invite you to send your ideas to ContactKington[at]grinnell[dot]edu. Please understand that such messages are not privileged communications, so do not include personal medical details or other confidential information.

This is an issue our whole community cares about, and I appreciate any contributions you choose to make to our efforts.



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