PCC to be replaced with University Counseling Center in 2018


Sam Zern, Editor in Chief

In 2018, Vanderbilt will transition to a new, integrated system of mental health care, replacing the Psychological and Counseling Center, which reports to the Medical Center, with the University Counseling Center. The UCC will instead join the Student Health Center and the Center for Student Wellbeing as the primary health and wellness network for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as postdoctoral fellows.

“The integration of counseling services in a Dean of Students reporting environment allows for intersection and collaboration with other units under Dean of Students purview, including Social Justice and Identity and Residential Education,” said Dean of Students Mark Bandas. “This new model of care improves services for students because it allows for a more holistic approach – providing integrated care at a variety of levels so individuals can access the resources most appropriate to their need in the moment.”

The UCC will occupy the same space as the current PCC.

“Currently we do not have any plans for physical space change,” Bandas said. “Students have shared that they like the physical environment of the PCC facility.”

The decision comes after two years of consultations and listening sessions with students and providers. The new center, which will open in June 2018, will provide direct access care as well as specialized referrals and will work closely with other campus care providers. Like the PCC, the UCC will focus on a time effective care model.

“Students have been telling us that improvements are needed in the way they move about the campus health system. With the UCC, we are trying to design a system to accommodate that,” Bandas said. “For instance, a student-centric mental health website is planned, which will allow for students to more easily navigate the campus support services. Given several new offices and departments in the Dean of Students such as the Center for Student Wellbeing and Social Justice and Identity, this new integration will allow for this enhanced network. As the University press release showed, our VUMC partners have been deeply collaborative as we’re working to design this system.”

According to the university, numerous meetings with Vanderbilt Student Government, Graduate Student Council and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, as well as individuals have indicated that mental health resources are a necessity on campus. In a fall 2016 survey, 25 percent of Vanderbilt’s campus reported using counseling services.

“Our emphasis will continue to be on providing timely support to students in need,” Bandas said. “Our intention is to expand our overall network of care to provide better support to our students, and this network will include specialists and specialty clinics at VUMC as well as community providers.”