A Message From NECHA’s President

Felix F. Pizzi, MSEd, LCMHC, CCMHC
President, New England College Health Association

January 2022

Dear NECHA Community,

It is remarkable how these days, time is flying at lightning speed and much of the seeming stability we had reached with systems in our campuses and university communities is being shaken. I was recently in a School Board meeting for the town my family lives in and the assistant superintendent said something that I imagine we can all relate to at this time – “we didn’t think we could find a more difficult year than last academic year, and somehow we have.” It is true, although we have been in a constant state of change and adaptability for the last two years, the recent changes in public health guidance, the huge case numbers we are managing regarding COVID-19, the on-going emotional stress on our students and colleagues, and the strain on our systems of care and outreach make this time feel especially difficult.

The challenge is not just current, but also cumulative. This is part of the difficulty itself – we are tired, and need some reprieve. We need support, and most importantly we need to reach out and ask for help since alone, this journey certainly can seem impossible at times. I have been so fortunate to have this experience both in professional and personal ways recently, and I wholeheartedly hope you have had that opportunity as well. Somehow, the gift of vulnerability allows us the possibility of being heard, of being helped, and together the burden is more manageable than before… it is from this sentiment that the theme for this year’s NECHA Annual Meeting takes life: Together, We Can.

In talking with the NECHA Board about this theme, Together, We Can, provides an opening to both reflect on what we have experienced at times of togetherness and resilience, and also consider areas where there may be needed improvement and change. Looking ahead, there is still an opportunity to serve as part of the planning committee, and we are soon opening the call for proposals. We have so many gifts as a community and have learned so much recently – please consider sharing some of that knowledge through a presentation or panel discussion!

As a reminder, our Annual Meeting is scheduled for October 26-28, 2022 in Newport, RI. We are all hoping and planning for a face-to-face experience, so keep the positive energies flowing on that sentiment! If you have any questions, have ideas for the conference or would like to get involved, please reach out to Leah Berkenwald, MA, our President-Elect, at leahb@brandeis.edu.

Other important information is also part of this newsletter, such as our upcoming awards and opportunities to share information on job postings. Remember, this is your community – one to reach out to and share with in the journey.

Take care and I hope you all do well through these next few months – Together, We Can!

~Felix

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