Dr. Estevan Garcia appointed chief health and wellness officer

Dr. Estevan Garcia appointed chief health and wellness officer

Estevan Garcia, currently chief medical officer for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has been named Dartmouth College’s first chief health and wellness officer. He started work on March 4.

The creation of the position reflects President Sian Leah Beilock’s commitment upon taking office to make mental health and wellness an agency priority. A nationwide search for the position began last summer.

“With the health and well-being of students, educators and staff at the center, while also creating the best environment for academic excellence, it is critical to find the right leader for this role,” President Belloc said.

“Dr. Garcia combines a broad understanding of public health with deep experience as a lifelong clinician. He is a courageous and outspoken advocate dedicated to creating a comprehensive, integrated approach to supporting the health of the entire community and well-being.”

Garcia, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist, will report to the president and oversee Dartmouth Health Services, the Student Health Center and employee health. He will be a member of the Chancellor’s Senior Leadership Team and serve as an advisor and spokesperson on all health matters affecting students, faculty, and staff.

He will also play a key role in implementing Dartmouth’s strategic plan for student mental health and well-being, Commitment to Care, and work closely with the Dartmouth Health Center.

Garcia called being appointed to fill Dartmouth’s inaugural position “an honor.”

“Especially in the wake of COVID-19, I’ve seen so many young people fall into crisis. I turned to public health to try to figure out more broadly how to prevent the kind of crises I was seeing in individual patients. What drew me to Dartmouth What’s great is the opportunity to develop a resilience framework in a community of high-achieving young people, some of whom need support for mental health and behavioral health issues,” he said.

“I see this as an opportunity to have a broad impact because as students go on to become leaders in their industries and the world, they will recognize how resilience contributes to success.”

The Chief Health and Wellness Officer’s responsibilities include supporting faculty and staff.

“As faculty and staff, we need to model healthy behaviors for our students so they understand that this is important,” Garcia said. “My role is to advocate that we need resources that can model these behaviors.”

Garcia plans to be visible on campus. “I want to make myself available. Initially it’s to get to know who the students are, what their needs are, and make sure they understand how to communicate with me. I plan to have an open door policy and host student forums and groups. Students may see me Sitting in the cafeteria. I wanted to get to know them personally.”

Originally from Texas, Garcia graduated magna cum laude in psychology from Austin College and attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He completed his pediatric residency training and pediatric emergency medicine fellowship training at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas (part of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) and subsequently earned a Master of Public Administration from New York University and a Doctor of Public Health from the City University of New York. New York.

Garcia chose a career in medicine because of his family’s tragic experience.

“I had a sister who had leukemia as an infant and died within four months of her birth. I was 13 when she got sick and we had a family pediatrician who helped us get to Texas Children’s Hospital to get what she needed of care. I saw how much the doctors and nurses cared about my family, even when there was nothing they could do.”

Initially, he planned to become a pediatric hematologist/oncologist but found that he preferred emergency medicine. “I was like, I love this. These are not long-term patients. I can make impactful decisions quickly. The kids generally recover. One of the benefits of pediatrics is that, in my opinion, small interventions can often make a difference in children. have a significant impact on their lives.”

One of his responsibilities at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is to serve as an advisor to the Department of Mental Health’s Behavioral Health Roadmap, which provides a blueprint for expanding access to effective and equitable treatment across the state.

Previously, he served as chief medical officer at Cooley Dickinson Health Care, an affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital Brigham and Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn. Vice President of Risk Management and Medical Director, Hospital Insurance Company; Interim CEO of Tewksbury Hospital, Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and has published nearly a dozen peer-reviewed papers. He has served on the boards of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission on Transforming the National Public Health Data System, the Children’s Advocacy Center in Northampton, MA, and GLMA, the oldest and largest association of LGBTQ+ and allied health professionals.

He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the TreeHouse Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating intergenerational community for families with foster children. Garcia and his husband, William, raised more than 20 children and raised three adopted children.

The search committee consisted of Jomysha Delgado Stephen, executive vice president for strategy and special advisor to the president, and William Tory, Raymond Sobel Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine. William Torrey serves as chairman.

“Dr. Garcia brings energy, creativity, and extensive clinical and public health experience to this exciting new opportunity. I know he will have a very positive impact on the lives of our Dartmouth community,” said Thomas Li said.

Committee members include Andrew Campbell, Albert Bradley 1915 Third Century Professor of Computer Science; Matthew Duncan, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Education, Geisel University; Mike Harrity, Haldeman Director of Family Athletics and Recreation; Anne Hudak, Associate Dean of Student Support Services; Sara Lester, Chief Human Resources Officer; Janice McCabe, Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty Professor, Allen College.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Garcia to Dartmouth and thank the search committee for their hard work in finding the right staff member,” Belloc said.

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